While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Abigail Van Buren (known more popularly as the columnist “Dear Abby”) once said that “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” There is some truth in that simple phrase.
People go to the hospital when they are sick or hurting; it is a place for the healing process to begin, so, in that way, Dear Abby is right.
At First Baptist Church, we are a community of believers in the Good News of Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean we are necessarily “saintly.” Just like you, our members experience the pain of broken promises and relationships. We struggle with anger, or impatience, or disappointment, or fear. We hurt others by and through our own words and actions. In short, we stumble and fall, and we are in need of healing.
But as we come to terms with our own sin, we do not let that define us. We recognize and trust in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for our sins. We gather together as a collective congregation or in small groups to strengthen and encourage one another to be persistent in our faith and continually strive towards becoming “perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) while acknowledging that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We come to church, looking for strength, encouragement, comfort, and healing.
Demographically, our congregation is diverse in many ways – by age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, political views, and theological leanings – just to name a few. Many of our members are active in community life, offering their services to a variety of community organizations and local missions such as Home Sweet Home Mission and Safe Harbor Shelter. Some of our members have a long history with American Baptist Churches, while others are from a variety of denominations. All are welcome to – and do – worship with us!
God is calling each of us to follow Him. We strive to do just that. You, too, are invited to His table!