Steve Olmstead is the pastor of Kipling Baptist Church, a lively community about 85 km southeast of Sudbury, Ontario. While their frigid winters are full of fun, including an annual ice fishing day, what happens in the summer in this rural community? Who is filling the pews, or more importantly, the parking lot? Pastor Steve fills us in on how some dedicated young members get themselves to church on time.
What Would You Do to Get to Church?
by Pastor Steve Olmstead
Recently, I was pleasantly surprised on a Sunday morning when I looked across the church parking lot and noticed two of our young people riding their bicycles toward the back door of the church. It was just before 10 a.m. and they had come for prayer-time and worship. Their dad soon followed in his pick-up truck.
I suppose it’s not uncommon to see people on their bicycles on a beautiful Spring day; in fact quite a few people are seen riding past the church here, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery from May until September. What makes this event significant to me is the fact that these two brothers, Josiah and Nehemiah, rode their bicycles on dirt roads for over an hour to get to church in time to pray with their dad and other members of the congregation. It’s true that there are people who do something like that regularly in other countries, but not usually in Ontario. Walking or riding a bicycle is sometimes the only means of transportation for people in other places, but here we have comfortable automobiles, often with air-conditioning. So, riding their bicycles was truly a choice and, I suppose, a challenge for these two young teens.
Going back in my memory bank, I do recall riding my bicycle to the village to play softball, or go to the beach. I may have ridden my bicycle to youth group occasionally, but I don’t recall ever riding it to church for a prayer meeting and Sunday worship. In fact I recall that there were times when somebody had to pressure me to ride in the car to church. You see, I suppose I fall in with so many other excuse-makers. I remember and have often joked about people making excuses about why they didn’t want to go to church. You may be smiling as you remember one now. The truth is that the excuses we make to avoid prayer time, or worship with other believers, are sometimes just weak. In fact, they are more often choices based on preference or dislikes more than anything else.
While we many not all need to hop on our bicycles and ride to church to show our dedication, I hope I don’t soon forget the example I saw one day of two brothers who rode a very great distance, on difficult roads, because they wanted to pray and worship with their dad and others at the local church. May all of my excuses fade away in light of this example.