(cont. from “Impact of Church of the Resurrection On My Life“)
I went home and looked up the church online. I was at a place in my life in which I needed hope immediately, so I did not wait for Sunday. I drove to the church building, and as strange as this sounds, I just sat in the parking lot. I felt like it was a holy place. I believe it was a Thursday, so there were only a few cars in the parking lot, but I just sat in my car and prayed.
I noticed the new building and the vast undeveloped land and parking lot. I could tell that this was a church, or more specifically, a pastor, with vision. I got out of my car and walked into the Narthex that I could tell was formerly a sanctuary. Then I saw the plaque above the threshold to the sanctuary. If I remember correctly, it read, “Let us never forget our purpose”. I was hooked without even attending a worship service.
I returned either that Saturday evening or Sunday morning, and I loved the service and Adam Hamilton’s approach to preaching. His intentionality about welcoming guests was crystal clear, both in the service and following. I was “mugged” a few days later. Volunteers from COR deliver a free coffee mugs to all first-time guests.
I felt grateful that someone had driven all the way to my apartment in Merriam, KS to deliver a mug. The mug now sits on a shelf in my office, and I keep the welcome card in my copy of Leading Beyond the Walls. According to the name on the card, the volunteer who delivered the mug was Margaret Nelson.
Over the next six months that I lived in Kansas City, I attended worship at the Church of the Resurrection every week. I fell in love with the church and brought friends. It was formative for me.
I saw a church that is compassionate, intellectually honest, intentional about fulfilling Christ’s mission, and relevant to the culture around it. I remember arriving for one of the Christmas Eve services and sitting in Narthex because so many people had jammed into the building. I will never forget the incredible number of new people who came to the church for theLove, Marriage, and Sex sermon series in January.
In February 2002, I moved back to Ohio, and I have continued to follow the ministry of Church of the Resurrection since then.I regularly watch sermons online. It enables those of us who live outside of Kansas City to experience COR from a distance, and my preaching has benefitted greatly from Adam Hamilton’s example.
COR is doing much-needed ministry, not only in Kansas City but in mainline denominations and beyond. Both mainline and evangelical churches need to hear Rev. Hamilton’s voice, especially in a divided world of black and white.
I am COR’s ministry and its influence on my life. I hope that I serve as another reminder that the difficult decisions COR has made over the years in order to “reach non-religious and nominally religious people and help them become committed followers of Jesus Christ” have been used by God in life-changing and ministry-saving ways.
My wife, Hannah, and I are committed to serving in ministry at Stonybrook, and I plan to plant a new United Methodist congregation at some point in the future. Thank you to Adam Hamilton and the members of COR whose service has had such an impact on my life.