That was a beautiful message, Karen. How true it is that God’s work in The Village Church will go on long after our final service.
It has been two months since the final service at TVC, and I’m only now beginning to understand the impact that our TVC experience, and especially the experience of being there through the end, has had on our lives, our marriage, and our journey in the Christian life. The Village Church was the first church I ever officially joined, the first church of my adult life, and the church that guided Rusty and me into our marriage. In many ways my identity as a Christian has been formed by the teaching I received from Sam, Mary K, and the leaders of the Village Church.
TVC helped me to understand that while dying to my former self and being raised again as a child of God does transform my entire identity, it does not mean that I have to withdraw from the culture and people that I love. But through TVC God has called me to dive directly into the tension between His truth and the distorted version of reality that is preached by secular city culture.
I was lead into this tension by Sam, who has always walked bravely into the fire of every battle between secular culture and Christian teaching, be it evolution, homosexuality, or the role of women in church and society. Often times (maybe every time), I found myself uncomfortable at first with Sam’s bold refusal to capitulate without questioning to either “side” of the popular debate, but I have always appreciated and respected (and eventually come to emulate) his insistence on discerning Jesus’s true message to His followers through His Word.
This leadership has been invaluable to me in learning what it means to be a Christian woman and wife. Torn between the secular message that obscures any distinction between the genders, and the fundamentalist message that places extreme limits on the roles of women, I felt that I would be making unacceptable compromises by fully embracing either. Through Sam’s wisdom and teaching, my church family’s support, and Rusty’s loving guidance, I have begun to discern a Biblical path for a Christian wife who is strong, accomplished, respected, honored, nurturing, and feminine, without any of those qualities being seen as contradictory.
I really am only at the beginning of understanding this call in my life, and my heart is broken that my time at The Village Church is being brought to an end when I feel like this journey is just beginning. But I know that the legacy of what this church has taught us – not just on the issue of gender distinction, but on the principle of demanding God’s truth regardless of our culture’s influences – will follow us through the rest of our lives. Rusty and I are so grateful for the discipleship we have received over the years from Karen, Sam, Mary K, the elders, their wives, and all the other brothers and sister that have been a family for us. We love you, we miss you, and we know that God’s work with our church family is far from over.
Love, Rebecca (and Rusty)