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An eNote
Don Anderson, Minister

Alvin Church of Christ



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What If?
March 6, 2013

What If?

What if we begin by asking ourselves some pertinent questions?


What difference does it make that we believe in Jesus Christ?  Really? Does it make a difference?

Are we truly a church of Jesus Christ...one that is willing to be led and directed by Him?

Is our community made better by our presence?

If we were to close our doors for good would the city really know the difference?

Are the people around us...friends, co-workers, neighbors...better off because they are acquainted with us?

Is anyone going to heaven because of the recent work of this church?


Those are some tough “tough love” questions!


The Alvin Church of Christ was founded in Alvin, Texas in 1934.  For 79 years this church has existed in this community, during which time countless lives have been changed as a result of the work that has been done here in the name of Jesus Christ.


More globally, Churches of Christ were born out of the American Restoration Movement that began in 1821 and was founded by Alexander Campbell and Barton Stone.  What made the movement successful was the joining together of literally thousands of men and women who were passionate about their faith in God and determination to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.


They looked around and saw churches arguing about the most petty of things...mostly ideology and methodology, and thought if we could just get back to the way the earliest Christians were, if we could just recapture the passion that sustained them in times of deep persecution, then we’d become true followers of Christ.


Their understanding of scripture was paramount to the success of the movement.  While other religious groups continued to create burdensome methods and complicated practices of worshiping God, they grasped the simplicity of the Gospel.  It was about growing people into a personal relationship with Christ by teaching them to live as Christ desires his followers to live.  It was about creating “heaven on earth” as we lived in harmony with each other and about bringing Heaven to earth by bringing Jesus to the world.


Jesus had a dream for the world that was different than any that had been known before his presence.  He left that vision for us, the church, to fulfill.  And while we cannot change the world, we can change our community.  We can make a difference right here in this place.  What if we were to really commit to doing just that?


What if we made a concerted effort to eliminate hunger in this city?

What if we partnered with AISD to provide nurturing and encouragement to young people?

What if we partnered with faith-based organizations to address poverty and oppression?

What if we made a commitment to improving family life in Alvin?

What if we were to grow our church by looking outward into our community and meeting the needs of people where they are just like Jesus did in his ministry?


Churches do not grow by simply wishing it will happen.  They grow by continuing to meet the needs of others outside their fellowship and drawing them into the church with love.


We need to continue to cultivate the art of hospitality.  We need to improve the way we welcome people into our house each week.  We need to improve our serve...with anticipation that people who come will stay rather than merely hoping they will come back!


What if we envisioned a church where people “truly wanted and desired” to be here each week?

What if we raised the bar of our own expectations?

What if we found ways to create smaller communities of faith to encourage and pray for people?


What if we allowed God to direct us and guide us rather than trying to exist on our human wisdom?


King Solomon said:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6


But then he also said:

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.

This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:7-8


Churches all over this country that have reached the age that we have obtained are dying or retracting. The biggest reason is that they have lost their vision for the future, their  passion and zeal for Christ, they are no longer relevant in their communities, and they have become too concerned with their own comfort and caring for each other.  In other-words, they have turned inwardly focused and forgotten their mission and direction from Christ.  They no longer rely upon God for guidance, instead, they trust themselves to dig out of the hole that they themselves dug.  But by trusting God to direct us, “health comes to the body.”


What is required to turn things around once this point has been reached?


  • Reliance upon God supported by prayer (Jeremiah 29:13)
  • Passion and zeal for the mission of Christ must be rekindled.
  • A genuine desire to make a difference in the lives around us.
  • A shared vision for the church that is true to the teachings of the Bible and encompasses the full support of the current congregation.
  • Leadership must lead.  Followers must follow.  And workers must be plentiful and comprise both leaders and followers working side by side.
  • Risk must once again be taken.  Comfort zones must be expanded.
  • A deep desire to pass on a vibrant community of faith to the next generation must be found.
  • Selflessness must be the guide for all actions taken.
  • Teamwork is essential.
  • Determination to succeed must never hear a discouraging word.


We can accomplish these things working together with God and each other!


The American College of Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina is a four-year liberal arts school that specializes in training artisans in the classic techniques of building and restoring the great architecture of the olden days.  They literally teach students how to restore that which is old, as well as build the new to look as if it is old.  The college actually creates a space where the past and the present can come together in order to create beauty and usefulness for the future.


The mission of this school strikes me as exactly where we are as a congregation.  Our past needs to be restored so that it can once again function beautifully into the future. 


In order for the Alvin church to restore itself, we must all become master craftsman of the ancient passion and practices of Christianity.  We must cling to our past and strive for our future...honoring the gift of courage and faith that was left to us by those who have gone before.


“A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp and move, is being untrue to its calling.


God’s true church must play down their longing for certainty and security, accepting what is risky by faith; living by the leading of the Spirit of God and allowing Him to send us into the world where and how He desires.” – Hans Kung


I ask that you prayerfully look for the genuine and relevant ways you can help us move forward as we once again dream the dream that Jesus envisioned by asking yourself this question:


What if?



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