Twenty-one years ago today – April 21, 1991 – I attended for the first time in my life a Baptist Church. My father was an officer in the Navy and my mother had worked her way up to the position of supervisor in a chain of fast food restaurants. Our family was successful, but secular and lost! In 1990, after my father retired from the Navy, we moved from Virginia to Weatherford, Texas. In my sophomore year at Weatherford High, at age 15, a young man named Todd took an interest in me, as one of the shyest kids in the school, and began inviting me to church. I wanted nothing to do with it; I claimed to be agnostic, I thought that all Christians were hypocrites, and my idea of church was what I had seen on television.
Still, this teenager persisted. In the Spring of 1991, he invited me to be his friend on Friend Day. This touched my heart; and somewhat out of a desire to help him have a guest on this special day, I agreed to attend. He drove out and picked me up for Sunday School, introduced me to the youth pastor and his friends, and sat with me in church after playing the organ.
It was all new to me; I was terrified of all the people! The pastor stood up and preached on the rich man in hell (Luke 16). That was the day that I got saved! Perhaps I was the only one saved that day. I do not remember anything else. I do not remember if they reached their attendance goal. It may be that many were disappointed! But heaven was not!
Does it matter if a church has big days? Does it matter if we invite our friends, neighbors, and relatives to church? In my case, it did. I would not attend for a “regular” service; but I did go to “Friend Day.” I am thankful that Pastor Jerry Miller (pictured) had a vision and a desire to see people saved, and led his church to have this special outreach.
Did one teenager’s invitation make a difference? That day I met a cute and very friendly bus teenager named Amanda, who was also saved about that time; we have been married for almost 18 years now, and our four children know the Christian home that we did not. My parents and my brother were also saved at South Side Baptist Church over the next few years, and for about 20 years now my parents have been faithful members of the church I attended that day. And did I mention that the teenager saved that day 21 years ago has been pastoring now for almost 12 years?
Big days matter. Compassion makes a difference. Who could you reach out to at work, in the neighborhood, or in the school classroom? Who might come to church – “just once!” – hear the gospel, and set in motion a chain of events that will result in much fruit to the glory of God?
If you do not know what it means to be saved or how to be saved, and would like to know, please follow this link. Thank you for taking the time to read this testimony. God bless.