Last Sunday’s “Morning at the Park” proved to be a wonderful experience as we gathered under the trees at Haggard Park to worship our God together. I hope we do it again! The day reminded us that the church is “people” who happen to meet in a “place.” We have been “Called to the City”!
“Called to the City” was more than the theme of that day—the phrase describes God’s purpose for FBC Plano. Did you know that our “congregational ancestors” decided in 1872 to move into Plano and change the church name from Spring Creek Baptist Church to Plano Baptist Church? Would it surprise you to learn that the town of Plano was incorporated by a special act of the 13th Legislature of Texas (House Bill 901) on June 2, 1873? This church recognized it was “Called to the City” before the city had officially been established! The coming of the Central Railroad sparked the church’s sense of the Lord’s leadership at that time. Those believers felt God’s call to be accessible and visible to the people God was bringing into their community.
Today, our congregation must continue to respond to God’s call. Our county now has 900,000 residents; only 200,000 claim any tie to any form of Christian faith. We are far-flung, living in many neighborhoods scattered throughout the region, yet we gather for worship on the east side of downtown Plano. God is calling us—to be accessible and visible—to the people in our scattered neighborhoods and to the people in the downtown Plano area where we gather. As the city moves aggressively to “urbanize” the downtown area with lofts and shops, the number of people actually living within a few blocks of our church building will grow. Will the re-development of downtown spark our sense of the Lord’s leadership today? Will we reach the people God is bringing to our community?
Where we gather—the church building—will be an important factor. Accessible? Visible? Inviting? Welcoming? We’ll have some decisions to make, won’t we?
Decisions about buildings pale in comparison with the real issue: will we be people who are accessible to those who need a friend? Will we be visible to those looking to find Christ? Are we inviting others? Are we welcoming to those who risk a visit?
The church—in the park or in the red brick building—is people. What kind of people? We’ll be defined by how we respond to God’s calling in our lives.