I grew up in a Christian-Presbyterian Church far from where I live now. I know what God is. I know what Satan is. I have two little children now, 6 and 2. I look around me in the world and I don’t like what I see. I notice God missing and I want to be closer to him. I want this for my children as well.
My wife and I started the search for a local church a few years ago. We sought out a few places on an intermittent basis, but never really found anything we really liked. Through the VBS (vacation bible school) program a family friend recommended for our oldest, we managed to get a glimpse of a church we now have come to enjoy. The first time we walked into Corner Bible Fellowship as a family for Sunday Service, our daughter was familiar with some of the congregation and the building from her time enjoying VBS. My wife and I were foreign. I had encouraged our daughter to find a place to set in the hopes her comfort would guide her. I’m not sure my wife agreed. As we walked into the sanctuary, a wife of one of the pastors welcomed us and as I relayed the story of finding a place to set to her, she suggested teasingly, “the front row is where it’s at” and added a big smile.
My daughter lit up like a Christmas tree and headed for the front row. Essentially there were 200 people together in the rear pews, several empty rows, and us smack dab in the middle and front row center. 😉
To say I was a little out of my comfort zone would be an understatement. However, it proved to be the first of many lessons to come. Over the course of a single service I learned to enjoy the front row so much, that I’d never change a thing moving forward.
Sure. It gave my daughter a sense of pride and comfort to pick out our seats. The human condition seems to dictate we do the same thing from week to week, so setting the same place you did prior is normal. Right? I love it there. I get to see the pastor up close and personal. He seems to be speaking to me and me alone when I’m there. I can sing as loud as I want and not worry about being tone deaf. Most of all I can concentrate without distraction. I’m not worried about the dandruff on the dude in front of me. I can’t see Marjorie and Stella thumb their noses at the noisy kid in next pew. I’m not “people watching” anyone except my pastors.
I’m here to tell you. The fun toss of the “front row” was meant in jest because nobody sets up front. I too found it funny. Still do. But I can tell you now, it’s the best seat in God’s house. I’ve not gotten so much out of church in all my life until now and I’m loving it.
I’ll admit freely that I’ve noticed others creeping forward slowly but surely towards the front. I’m not sure if this is human nature and the simple gravitation of the gap between souls. When I get that figured out, I’ll blog about it. For now, it matters little. Instead, I challenge you to try out the front row, and let go of the silly feeling of being watched or that of being on display. That’s the pastor’s job, and he asked for it. For now, take a leap, set up front, and embrace all the front row has to offer.
I’d wager if you’re in it for the best reasons available, you’ll come away loving it. God is great. …Even better when you let Him in without the distractions. 😉