Sunday morning at Gruppo Cristiano is always exciting for me. I love being back with the people I know so well. Although there are always new attenders, most are old friends and some with more than ten years of acquaintance. In the morning service I inquired, “How many of you have become Christians since coming to this church?” To this question at least thirty people raised their hands.
Gathered this morning were about two-hundred. In order to accommodate the growing numbers, the church has knocked out some walls and turned the platform in another direction. The capacity can now be larger than three-hundred on Sunday so this presently rivals the size of any evangelical church north of Rome. There may be a few as large but none larger. This isn’t said as a boast but simply to provide perspective. In our region, it is my guess that most congregations are not more than thirty people.
On the platform were at least ten musicians, drums, guitars, keyboards and so forth. This made for solid worship service as usual. When I was up to preach iI chose for the message a re-arrangement of my pastor’s (Mike Bearden of Pineville Nazarene Church in Charlotte, NC) message, “Real Christianity” from Acts 2. Of course, with translation it is a hard exposition to get through all forty-seven verses and seven points. I abbreviated it and introduced illustrations at liberty (facts tell -stories sell).
Though is a message designed for the church I twisted it slightly in an attempt to net a variety of non-believers I sensed were in the crowd. When I began, I didn’t intend to give an altar call of any kind but when I did people began to come. This meant that Francesco and I counseled and prayed with people for almost an hour after the service had ended. Though I didn’t count, it seemed to us
that seven came to receive Christ and another five or more for various other reasons. It was a grand morning with good work accomplished for the kingdom. I wish I could tell you some of the stories. If I could you would be double thrilled!