Testimony highlights multigenerational ministry
By Norm Thiesen, Trinity Church
Trinity Church of Portland, Ore., hosted a banquet Sept. 17 to celebrate one year of public ministry and worship. Following the catered dinner and musical entertainment, Art Azurdia, senior minister of word and worship, recounted God’s blessings throughout the past year and members shared stories of their experience at Trinity Church.
Sunday morning worship was a continued celebration with five baptisms, accepting 15 new people into church membership and appointing another elder to the leadership team. Trinity experienced its highest Sunday morning attendance, with 173 joining at the celebration. Trinity Church is a Mennonite Brethren church plant
supported and encouraged by the Pacific District Conference, Portland supporters/churches and Mission USA, the church planting and renewal ministry of the U.S. Conference of MB Churches.
Sally Gentry was one of several members at the Saturday banquet who told of the Lord’s work in their lives through Trinity Church.
I am Sally Gentry, and I am married to Larry who recently turned 75. Why do I mention this? Because I am pretty sure that presently we are age-wise the oldest members of Trinity Church. In many churches, this would push us to the outer fringes of the circle of fellowship. We would be relegated to a box out here for the doddering elders who are somewhat eccentric.
Now, we may be doddering elders who are somewhat eccentric – and we perhaps don’t always remember your correct names – but you, dear Trinity, have welcomed us into the center of your circle of fellowship where we can joyfully share our lives together. This fellowship has caused us to stand amazed as we are continually deepened in our understanding of how wonderfully Jesus builds his church! I’ll give you some examples:
- Who would have thought we could have a serious conversation about the Heidelberg Catechism with a musician who is a Christian rapper?!
- Who would have thought that a 75 year-old guy would be invited to one of your bachelor parties?
- Who would have thought that a young couple sitting next to us in Sunday worship would invite us on a double-date?
I am not making these things up—they are evidence of how you have embraced generational unity in this family of faith. We are well aware that the leadership of Trinity Church has set the tone for loving one another and we consider it a blessing and a privilege to fully share your partnership in the Gospel. We observe you raising your families, laboring at your studies and your daily jobs, and living in a fallen world that is hostile to God. We have walked in your shoes over the years, and I stand before you this evening as a witness to the truth that the God who chose us in love and called us into his kingdom is magnificently faithful, even when we are not!
In every generation we find our refuge in Jesus. One day when you are 75, should the Lord tarry that long, you, too, will be a witness to another generation with your testimony of God’s mercy and steadfast love in your life. With tears in your eyes and overflowing thankfulness in your heart you will sing the precious words of John Newton’s hymn:
‘Thru many dangers, toils and snares I have already come,
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.’