“Loving Jesus, Loving One Another” was one of the main mottos, if you will, of Greater Love Baptist Church. Jesus commands us to love Him first and others second, and so we tried our best to be that kind of church.
This past Sunday, the church celebrated 14 wonderful years, and it was also our last service.
When I posted on my personal Facebook page that it would be our last service, past members and folks who may not have regularly attended the church, but knew and loved the people at GLBC, were saddened by the news.
They also shared how GLBC had affected their lives. Most of the people spoke highly of Pastor Matt Murphy.
If you know Pastor Matt, or had ever met him, you’d know that even though he appreciates kinds word for his service, he first and foremost gives Jesus all of the credit. That’s just Pastor Matt.
I could go on and on about how Greater Love has affected my life, in ways I’m not even sure of yet. I could use much more space than the editor allows to tell you how Pastor Matt has become one of my very best friends, and even a big brother to me over the years. How he and Kim Murphy and the Richardson family, the Johnston family and countless others loved me like family for so many years.
I could use even more space to tell you the back story of the church, how we saw God move mountains to get us on the property off Ga. Highway 81 and how we saw lives changed, and hearts moved by God’s healing and all-forgiving love. How we saw people saved and baptized, as well as marriages put back together, babies born, weddings and funerals — but those are all stories for another day.
As I backed my car out of the parking space Sunday to leave the church, reality hit me that that would be my last time at GLBC. For a moment, my eyes welled up with tears because as I looked back at my 2-year-old daughter in the back seat, she was waving goodbye to “Map,” as she calls Pastor Matt, and I was so sad at the thought of her not being raised in that church.
But, it seemed as though in the very same breath, a spirit of peace came over me. I rolled down the window and waved bye to some of the kids and folks still outside playing, even hours after service and lunch was over. I knew then, that Jesus allowed that scene to be my last memory of the church.
It was the laughter of those kids and the smiles of people’s faces that resonated with me. That is how I will always remember GLBC. There was a lot of laughter at the church. It began that way, and praise be to Jesus, it ended that way.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.