Welcome to the historic First Baptist Church of Memphis, serving Memphis & the Mid-South since 1839. You will find exciting ministries, mission opportunities, and vibrant worship.

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11:00am Worship

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5:00pm Dinner
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200 East Parkway North, Memphis, TN 38112 ⋅ Office: 901.454.1131

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On Getting Stuck in El Dorado

I wrote this article from a hotel room in Dallas.  I was here for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly (June 16-20).   It is a meaningful gathering where decisions will be made and field personnel will be commissioned and ideas will be shared and significant old and new voices will be heard.  But behind and above, before and after all of that, the assembly is about community.   It’s about old friends in ministry catching up.  It’s about hearing what’s working and not working for churches and individuals.  It’s about welcoming young ministers into the fold.  It’s about honoring our saints.   CBF is a community of free and faithful and progressive Baptists who have chosen to walk with each other down some paths that have not been easy.  I am glad to be here among these folk.

Getting here though was quite the adventure.   I flew a new commuter airline out of Memphis that flies small planes which stop in Hot Springs and El Dorado.  I joked as I left, that I wouldn’t mind being stuck in Hot Springs, but El Dorado….Sure enough, weather stranded us in El Dorado, and the next available flight was a full day later.   So four of my new closest friends and I rented the only available rental car in El Dorado and drove to Dallas that night.

While in the El Dorado airport, I received a call that a church member was at the emergency room.  I told them where I was and confidently referred them to another minister.   And the next morning I received the call that Ed Myrick had died.  My heart sank.  I was/am so sad.  Furthermore, I will not be returning to Memphis until Saturday, and then the plan is for me to leave right after worship on Sunday for a week of vacation.  So again, I confidently referred them on to our other ministers.

As I thought about this, several thoughts came to mind about community:  

  1. I am grateful for my church family.   I am grateful for a group of folks who have allowed me to plant my life among them.   I am grateful for the saints like Ed Myrick that it has brought my way.  I am grateful for the support you give me to connect with the community known as CBF and to reconnect with my family on vacation.  I think of how many people do not have this, wish for it, yearn for it.  I wonder how we can offer our community to them.

  2. I am grateful that I am not the church, that it is not dependent on me, that it is much bigger than me.  I am grateful for all of those that stand in the gap when I am gone and make up the difference when I am lacking.  I am honored for the opportunities I have to return the favor.

  3. Community does not just happen.  It is a by-product.  It is a by-product that comes from living life together—walking together, serving together, playing together, laughing together, crying together, just being together.   You don’t get community on the front end.  You chose to engage in actions with others and community is the reward.  I wrote above that I drove to Dallas from El Dorado with four of my closest new friends.   I was kidding of course.  But it is surprising the sense of connection that can form between 4 strangers in a four hour car ride, all because we had to do something together.

As we think about what it means for us to reflect Christ through our core value of Community, as we think about what it means to Build Our Church Family (one of three vision team pillars), we will come up with new methods and messages and themes and programs, but in the end, much of this dynamic is really about our faithful choices to be present to each other and our willingness to open up and be present to others as well?   Maybe even when you’re stranded in El Dorado.

Grace, David


This article was written by Rev. Dr. David Breckenridge and originally published in the June edition of Together.

Posted by Bridget Ellis at 8:30 AM
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