“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” These words of Jesus found in Matthew 25:40 come to my mind as I reflect on my recent trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina. This text is found in the passage where Jesus speaks of His final coming when He will separate the sheep (believers) from the goats (unbelievers). As children of God, we are called to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever we may come into contact with them whether they be those in our home, school, church or in small groups in the USA and throughout the world.
On March 29, 1998, the Protestant Reformed Fellowship of Fayetteville, North Carolina began to meet. At first, they heard the reading of a previously preached sermon. Later, they used videos and then DVDs to hear the preaching of the Word of God. The fellowship consists of two families and two individuals. They desire to establish a formal relationship with our churches. The Domestic Mission Committee of our churches has guided the fellowship for the past eight years. They have sent ministers and elders to encourage the fellowship on a regular basis. During the past year, the fellowship has had monthly visits from a pastor or an elder representing the Domestic Mission Committee.
Located sixty-three miles south of Raleigh, Fayetteville has a population of over one hundred twenty-one thousand. It is the home of Fort Bragg, an United States Army base, which is located northwest of the city.
On March 16-20, I accompanied my parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Moelker, to visit the Protestant Reformed Fellowship of Fayetteville, North Carolina, on behalf of the Domestic Mission Committee. This was my third visit, and I felt blessed to be able to be involved in this work. What a privilege to get to know them better as we visited and worshipped the Lord together.
As I reflect on the visit, I am grateful to God for the many opportunities we have in our congregations and on the mission field to gather together for Bible Study. In our congregations, we have Sunday School, societies and Bible classes for children, young people, young adults and adults. In Fayetteville, we had a Bible Study with most of the group and a few visitors gathered around the table eager to discuss the covenant and seeking a lifelong mate. It was an edifying experience for both old and young to discuss this important aspect of the lives of many believers.
As we prepared for the Lord’s Day, we had opportunity to gather together on Saturday evening for a pizza supper and fellowship with the group. On this evening, the Lord gave us opportunity to meet more visitors. A young woman who had visited on Thursday evening brought her family and a friend to supper. We had an opportunity to visit with another woman who had supper with us. During this meal, we had Christian fellowship with each other. At the conclusion of the meal, we read a passage from Isaiah 53 reading and explaining proof texts for each text, and we sang a few Psalter numbers and prayed together. Then we had more time to visit and some played a few rounds of Speed Scrabble.
On Sunday, we met for worship services in the morning and evening. Three visitors joined us for worship in the evening. Worshipping with these fellow believers, I was again struck by the reality that each Lord’s Day, God’s people throughout the world worship their Creator assembled in large or small groups. God speaks to us through the preaching of the Word whether we are sitting in a church building, a small meeting room or wherever we have the opportunity to meet to hear His Word proclaimed. On this Lord’s Day, we heard God speak to us through His servants by means of a DVD. We heard the powerful message of the gospel, and the Lord was speaking to the heart of each person in the building. The group was also privileged to hear my mother use the keyboard to accompany the singing instead of singing with the DVD.
Our trip to Fayetteville once again impressed upon us the need we all have as believers for fellowship whether in our churches or with contacts outside our churches. All of us are called to encourage each other in our walk with the Lord. Our brothers and sisters in small groups like the Protestant Reformed Fellowship of Fayetteville often feel isolated. We need to remember them in prayer daily and as we go to church each Lord’s Day. If we have the opportunity, we should go visit and spend a Lord’s Day with them. In doing this, we show our love for all our brothers and sisters in Christ, and will experience the Lord’s blessing now and on the final day when He shall say to His people “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” Matthew 25:34.