I do not know what the truth is but typically people imagine First Baptist churches in America to be suit and tie churches. First Baptist Nederland has this feeling to me. This feeling has a way of pushing people who are not suit and tie people away.
Several years ago, I was in a Sunday School class at First Baptist Nederland. A couple (Kevin and Rachel) walked in but it was clear they were not First Baptist people. They were wearing nice clothes but they did not really fit the mold of a First Baptist person. Rachel had a star tattoo behind her ear. There were probably other tattoos that they had hidden since they knew they were going to a First Baptist church.
When they walked in, God said to me “Those are your people.” I watched everyone greet this couple. “How are you?” “What is your name?” “Where do you work?” As I watched this, I knew that was not what this couple needed. I kept thinking “Someone talk to them the right way!”. And I kept hearing the words “Those are your people.” in my mind.
I was afraid and so I did not get up and talk to them at the beginning of class. We started class, prayed, and the lesson began. I am sure I paid attention to the lesson on some level. I may have even participated but I kept hearing those words “Those are your people.” So I began preparing myself. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do but I knew God was talking to me and those were my people.
The lesson ended. We prayed again and class was dismissed. I jumped up and walked over to the couple and introduced myself and did the exact same thing everyone else had done – made small talk.
I went home after church that day and cried at my failure. I prayed all week that the couple would return the following Sunday. Yet, I knew they would not return because they were not First Baptist people. I prayed for them for weeks. I pleaded with God to forgive me for not talking to them the right way and to send them back. He never did. It was a painful lesson to learn.
The first night in Niamey, we were taken to a church. Anthony was asked to give the message. We arrived and I just sat there watching them worship our Lord. I was exhausted from traveling and did not understand the words being spoken but I knew the worship was authentic.
I’m not sure when but at some point either during the worship or during Anthony’s message God gave me a message for the church. I sat there a bit confused. I tried to talk myself out of it but I kept remembering other times when I failed to listen to God. Eventually I told myself that I had to say what God wanted me to say. I tapped the pastor on the shoulder. Luckily he spoke some English and I told him I needed to say something to the church when there was time.
He nodded and I waited. Anthony finished. They did a few more things and then he called me up. I was scared but had to do this. I got to the lectern and thanked them for the glimpse of heaven they had given me. I then read Revelation 5:11-12.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels in a circle around the throne, as well as the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand—thousands times thousands—all of whom were singing in a loud voice:
“Worthy is the lamb who was killed
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and praise!”
I thanked them again for the glimpse of heaven and sat down.
They continued on with announcements and then more worship. Then the worship leader thanked me for my prophetic word. A few minutes later the pastor leaned over and thanked me and told me it was a good prophetic word for the church.
I was exhausted so I wasn’t really thinking at the time but after some reflection I realized that it was a prophetic word for that church. That is interesting because I have never really thought about having prophetic words. For me it wasn’t really about anything other than being obedient. God had given me something to say and I had to say it no matter what. I did not want to fail my Lord as I had in the past.