We strive to be a welcoming family of believers,
loving Greencastle and Putnam County …
and our story is both about right now … but it also goes way back.
As for right now, we believe God is up to something in Greencastle and Putnam County. We believe God is seeking to bless, heal and transform Greencastle, and we feel God is calling us to be a part of that in a few specific ways. #1 – God is longing for us to move into deeper, more abundant, healthy ways of living individually and as a community of believers. That’s the stuff that goes on here Sundays, in our homes during the week, and when we get together for meetings. #2 – We feel God is calling us to go out into these streets and offices and classrooms to build connections, engage leaders, and serve the hurting in particular ways each and every day of the week. #3 – We believe we aren’t going to be able to do this work unless we find ways to partner as churches, as non-profits, as community leaders, as businesses and as a whole fabric of servants at work in this place.
Pastor Wes’ Story
My own part in this story started in the summer of 2008 when I heard a sermon about the importance of “loving the place you serve” and hearing a text from a radical Jewish prophet from the 6th Century BC. Some guy named Jeremiah told a bunch of God-followers that if they wanted to stay close to God, they better invest themselves wholeheartedly into their community. “Seek the welfare of the place to which I have carried you,” Jeremiah said with the authority of God (Jer. 29:7), “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” I came here with my wife, Anna, and our two kids with that deep desire, and – thankfully – we found a church family that is all about this too.
We are not a big church. We are not a spectacular church. We are not a place where you’ll come and see that we “have it all together.”
But, what we are is a community. I think that is worth a lot. Maybe everything. Ours is a busy, divided world that makes it harder and harder to feel connected with the things that really matter. With God. With others. With ourselves. For me, when God is really at work in our church, this is precisely what is happening. Connections. Community.
And … we’ve been doing this “community” stuff for almost 200 years. Since 1825, Greencastle Presbyterian Church has been pulling itself together for “church” every Sunday – gathering in cabins and pre-Civil War structures all the way to our current home here on the outskirts of town. We have been here as our culture has wrestled with each generation’s “issues.” We’ve seen the “better day” over and over again, and in our better times, we’ve been advocates for making that happen – pushing to end slavery, nominating women into roles of leadership, starting a daycare in the 1990’s, and opening our arms to those who have been long excluded by the church. We’re not perfect, and we don’t all agree on the bigger things today. But, we break bread together. We sit across from tables with one another. We are trying to practice in a local and real way the way of Jesus. Loving our enemies. Seeking to bless and understand the outsider. Visiting that person when everything in us is trying to resist.
I believe we are at an important time as a church family and as a culture. It is in our moments of greatest social change that the ways of Jesus have always been needed most. More than ever, we need to ground ourselves in mercy. We need to learn how to listen. Deep listening that overcomes a world of soundbites and distractions. We need to locate ourselves in a love that is willing to see the “log” in our own eye before we go pointing out the “speck” in our neighbors. We need to be willing to lay down our own lives so that the poor man in the street (and the poor family down the road) can have an easier path to the abundant life Jesus has come to give.
It’s not about being showy. It’s not about making a big deal out of it. But, I do believe it’s about being intentional.
I believe God wants us, as a church family, to LOVE like Jesus … to LIVE like Jesus … and to SERVE like Jesus.
Does that excite you? Does that challenge you?
Good. Then, I think you’re ready. Come with us. We’re going to need a lot of people on this team.