WELCOME TO AILEY BAPTIST CHURCH. INDEED.
That's Ailey Baptist Church, over there. It's in Ailey, Georgia, which is located about 12 miles West of Vidalia, where they grow them famous onions. We went to Ailey last Saturday to visit CB & Karen Scott, and since CB is the pastor of Ailey Baptist, we went there Sunday morning.
It is also next door to where CB and his family live, so it was convenient. We stayed in a motel over in Vidalia, but our visit certainly centered around the Scotts'.
When CB became their preacher a few months ago, their attendance was extremely low, and they hadn't had a Sunday School in years. Note: they now have one for the children. But the reception by the church, of the Scotts, was first rate. And they have grown substantially, and currently have 35 or 40 at worship on Sunday morning.
When we walked in on Sunday morning, the pianist was playing some good old up-tempo hymns, and the atmosphere was reminiscent of the many times we visited Westmont, when CB pastored there. And I absolutely loved it.
The musicians, aside from the pianist, are two gents from Ailey who used to be professional Nashville musicians, and I loved every minute of the music. And the guitar player also led worship and was wonderfully cheerful and happy.
Apparently, they haven't got the memo about "Stand & Greet Time", as they have one. And they also have their own song for the occasion. "Welcome to Ailey Baptist Church". Everybody stood and sang ... and the singing reminded me a bit of Red Hills, where 20 people will raise the roof. It was great fun and we all clapped and I have the feeling that if all "Stand and Greet Times" were like that, visitors would be more ... instead of less ... likely to return.
We talked to lots of the folks, before and after the service. And it was great fun. If I lived in the area, I'd join that church in a New York Minute.
All of which brought a new conclusion to my mind. I have sort of figured, previously, that the "average" SBC church was, with its 80+/- members, old and stodgy and dull. And last Sunday was none of those things.
It was wonderful. Suddenly I am missing hymns.......