Grace Baptist Church of St. Paul, Nebraska, has a serious problem – they are out of space! Over the past two years, the church has grown over 250% and is now averaging between 120 – 130 every Sunday! Through the Spring and Summer, they have literally had Sunday School classes meeting outside and under trees. They have already replaced church pews with chairs, increasing seating to 140. The church is currently in a building campaign, but it will still be a couple of years before their goal of a larger auditorium materializes. Their immediate options are very limited, the best of which is to cut back the front platform by several feet, creating seating for 42 more people. However, if the platform is cut back, the space where the organ currently stands would be replaced with seating. Can’t you just feel the tension? For many small-town ministries, this organ displacement scenario instantly begins to play out like some dramatically explosive thriller! However, entering from stage left is Anna Mary Smith, a most unique and Kingdom minded church matriarch, who plays a pivotal role in this important story.
Anna Mary Smith and her deceased husband purchased a church organ decades ago. This was an organ she felt an attachment to as she had grown up playing it in her home church for more than 20 years. After her home church shut down, they literally moved the organ to Grace Baptist Church in St. Paul, and she has played it there for the past 20 years. Understandably, Anna Mary has had a high emotional investment into her music ministry as the organ player with this specific instrument. However, to gain the necessary seating for reaching new people requires the displacement of this organ. After much prayer, Pastor Daniel Bear gingerly approached Anna Mary about the situation. During this very tender conversation, Anna Mary made an exceptionally mature and Kingdom minded statement that warrants echoing throughout Converge Heartland and beyond. Having considered the facts of the situation, the growth of the church, and the obvious movement of God in people’s lives, Anna Mary told Pastor Daniel Bear, “We are trading the organ for people.” In response, Pastor Bear stated, “It is selfless acts like these that show me why God is working here in St. Paul. The people are listening to and obeying Him and it is awesome to see! Do you see why I love this church?”
Anna Mary Smith, the Converge Heartland District salutes you! May your tribe increase! Thank you for being a selfless “organ donor” and setting a superb example of obedient Kingdom mindedness for others to see.