Gilmer Church Review

I started the morning at a 9am First Baptist Service followed by Adult Bible Study. The congregation was kind and welcoming but lacking in ethnic variety. This community has a segregation problem which is far to common in the Northeast Texas region. The members do a great job of organizing and directing guests to their desired areas of worship. The sermon and service is traditional and the lack of congregation participation puts you to sleep. The choir left no complaints nor reason to boast. The Gilmer 1st Baptist was running a leadership training from 3p-7p that night so I wrote awhile at the McD’s to catch the begining of it.

From 10:50a-1:15p I “partied with the lord” and about 50 of Gilmer’s finest at the Moses methodist Chappel. This was just my kind of worshipping fun land! From the early moments of parking outside you could hear the energy of the choir warming up. This African American mixed southern congreagation came ready to jump for joy! The Moses Chappel has everything from full out crowd participation to 3 yearolds singing in the front lines of the choir. There is no sheet music as everyone just follows the conductor who travels 70 miles from Arkansas to lead the celebration.

There were multiple sections of the service where members participated by reading announcements, guest introductions, prayer requests and mini sermons. Even a first time visitor such as myself was invited up to preach if desired. I took about 5 minutes and talked about our Helping Hands Network’s efforts then upon my completion the choir and drums started rejoicing as the pastor proceeded into the message of the day. Rev. Forrest L. Curry warmed up like Martin Luther King Jr. and mid sermon was jumping around and sharing the mic with the members like Stephen Tyler. As the sermon wound back down 1.5 hours into party, we were invited up front to lead prayer requests. I usually bottle my emotions and hide my needs for prayer from the public but on this day, with this energetic congregation surrounding me with their love; I broke down and cried and spoke about my 20 year failure to find true love in my life.

I don’t know why the lord temps me with so many short term relationships and partial committments in my life. There is always something that I can not do good enough or fast enough to hold on to those who become infatuated with me and my religously devoted life.

After everyone was done holding hands and hugging and praying, the choir rehearsed for the next week as people found their way out. By the time everyone was out, it was nearly 1:15pm!  The only thing that did not go as usual for this type of community service was a lack of a joint dinner. My previous encounters with similar deep south groups ends with a community picnic or house dinner announcement. Regardless, if you are looking for a real party with Jesus and God, this is one place of worship you want to pass through on a Sunday.

To end the days events, I went and experienced the first hour of the Baptist leadership conference before heading to the lake for a swim.

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