Before I even entered room 350, I could hear waves of conversation filling the air from the many small groups warmly greeting each other over morning coffee. I walked into New Horizon Singles Sunday Class in the fall of 1993 feeling a little overwhelmed and nervous. Everyone knew everyone.
It is a moment like this where one can feel so alone among a crowd of many.
I could do this. . .after all I had ventured halfway across the world at 23 years of age for a job and more recently I had moved to Fort Worth not knowing anyone to continue my career. I could certainly walk into a Sunday School class filled with strangers and sit unnoticed as I “tried on” the class.
But before I could grab that seat, a man came down the aisle towards me. He very kindly greeted me, shared his name — “Wesley Smith” — and took a few minutes to learn a little about me. I am sure many of you remember Wesley. He was and still is a gentle soul who now lives out of state with his lovely wife and son. At the time of our meeting, he was president of NHS.
The moment probably isn’t memorable for Wesley, but that simple gesture was a game-changer for me. Did all my insecurities and awkwardness disappear because of that “hello;” certainly not, but it did give me the feeling of welcomeness and encouragement so that I came back the next Sunday.
As a result of that pleasant exchange, I later served as NHS president and made several life-long friends, including my husband. The friendly hello led me to other remarkable First Church ministries and groups.
Our current sermon series, “Where No One Walks Alone,” resonates with me because of this personal experience. Wesley was a proud church member who wanted to share the good news: First Church is the place where you experience the love of Christ. He was doing his part so that no one walked alone.
Here I am now twenty-eight years later. . .a part of a faith community that truly has transformed my life in both personal and professional ways. God is Good!
I want to hear your story about the “Wesley Smiths” in your life. Better yet, I would love to hear who you are a “Wesley Smith” for as you walk alongside each other on complementary faith journeys.
Hope to see you in church this Sunday!
Director of Stewardship