It took us a few years to find a new church home after moving from Lansing to Manhattan. We tried a few other churches in the Lincolnway area but were unable to find one that we would fit into, so we continued to attend First Church in Lansing. The long drive there prevented us from being involved with church functions and activities. Our spiritual life had begun to slip.
I had noticed MDC while driving along Cedar Road but did not know anything about it. I thought it was a church targeted at Hispanic worshipers. I was surprised to find out it was affiliated with the RCA and, at the time, was transferring over to PCA (and that Missio Dei was actually Latin for mission church).
Our initial reaction upon attending our first worship service was how small the congregation was compared to First Church of Lansing. Coming from a church with 400 plus members to Missio Dei was a big change. The other thing we liked about our first time there was how welcome we felt. Many people talked to us that day and it was more than “Hi, how are you” and “thanks for worshipping with us”. There were many things that were different that first time but there was enough similarities to our other church to make us feel comfortable enough to come back. We felt that God wanted us to continue to get to know this church better.
First Church has been in Lansing for about 140 years. It was a church made up primarily of people of Dutch heritage and still is, for the most part. With a church that old, there are many things that continue to be done in a certain manner because that is the way we have always done things. For example, celebration of the Lord’s Supper is different from how we did it at First Church. At First Church, you are served each element separately by the Elders who pass trays of each item down each row of the church. Once everyone has been served, then we all partake at the same time. This process takes about 20-30 minutes. This is done once every three months. Contrast that to how we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every week and how the elements are served. From my point of view, either method seems fine, it is just different.
Another thing that is different about MDC is the emphasis on Missional Community. This had been tried at First Church with minimal success. So when we were first considered to be part of one of these groups at MDC, we were initially hesitant but after being part of a group for a year, we are so very happy that we did join. There is a true sense of brotherly love, we cry and rejoice together. There is no limit to what prayers, help or service we give to each other – more so than the “let us know if there is anything we can do” We feel very close to the others in our group and when tough times happened, they were right there for us and we were very comforted by this.
MDC being a smaller and much more personal environment allows for us to feel very welcome and loved. Being a part of a larger congregation can make it easy to sit and watch others “do”. We believe that our “old ways” needed to be taken away in order for us to feel connected to our new church environment and to serve God and relate more intimately to Him. We now feel we have become more in tune with worship, sacraments and our brothers and sisters in Christ.
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