Today we visited Yellow Creek Mennonite Church in Wakarusa, IN, because my wife's sister's boyfriend was giving a sermon there. It was the first time he had ever given one. I think they said that he was helping out the head pastor.
They started the service with having everyone stand and sing a few praise songs.
After the praise songs concluded a guy got up and talked about how they had been looking for a youth pastor. I'm not sure if he was giving a testimony or just a status report on how the search is going. He talked a little bit about how the committee that he was on had some great ideas and big plans and they are not working out. He talked of how Noah waited on the Lord and He came through.
They called up some new elders in the church. Elders in their church, as I understand it, are like a board of directors. There were a couple of guys called and one woman.
They asked the new elders some questions kind of like making promises. A little like when you see wedding vows being exchanged. One person, who I think is the new overseer or something like that asked similar questions to the congregation and the congregation stood and answered.
They gave introductions of the new elders and then the new elders gave a few words of acceptance. One of the elders in his acceptance talked about his thoughts as he considered accepting the position. He felt like he was not mature enough to do it, but he thought, "Is Jesus enough?" He thought about his weaknesses, but that he should not rely on himself or others, but that all he needed was to rely on Jesus.
They also called or as they said it, "installed" a new overseer. They said that he pastors the pastors. My sister-in-law told me that he represents the conference, which is the presiding authority over the pastor. It was interesting to me that his wife worships at a different Mennonite church. I guess he is a little like a high councilor in our church except that he is always responsible for being at the same church which is not his home church. Perhaps. I was a little unclear on that.
The overseer gave an acceptance speech. He said something about the congregation had a future that is not the past, but is connected to the past. I'm not sure, but I think he may have been referring to splits they have had into other congregations through disagreement and even though the future should not be that, the people should remember their history and also the positive heritage.
They prayed for the elders and the new overseer. They had anyone from the congregation come forwarded who wanted to lay hands on them while they prayed.
A woman introduced my sister-in-law's boyfriend. Then she mention a couple of kids in the congregation who had been in an accident or something that they needed to pray for. She then began to pray. In the prayer she then named others. It was a pretty lengthy prayer. Then a lady sang a song. Then they had a family go up there and give what they called a dramatic scripture reading of Psalm 136. I guess every other line in that Psalm is the same sentence. They mixed it up in their family reading the unique lines and then on the repeated lines he had the congregation chant them.
After that my sister-in-law's boyfriend spoke.
Generation to generation - Psalms of remembrance.
Psalms 78:1-7 - The what - Remember the praise worthy deeds of the Lord.
The why - So the next generation will trust the Lord and not forget the deeds.
He stated that God has four roles. God is the creator, but also the protector, sustainer, and leader.
He talked about the history of the Yellow Creek Mennonite Church. He said that the congregation is 160 years old. It is known for developing its youth. He said that God leads to support missionaries and the community. One way he sited that they are doing that is through creating a carnival as an alternative to Halloween.
He stated that long ago the congregation split into two congregations. Theirs and the one across the way. After they split they shared a building for 40 years. There will be disagreements, but get along.