30 Days of Stories: Day 25

To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re telling 30 stories of God’s faithfulness in and through Fellowship North. You can read all the stories here.

Reading 30 Days of Stories has highlighted, for me, the best thing about Fellowship North: its diversity.

Even though I’ve been gone four years (Bruce and I moved to Batesville in 2010), I keep up with the goings on as best I can, and I still feel as though I’m a part of the FN family. I still receive news by email, Facebook, Twitter and other media – heck, sometimes even by telephone!

As I’ve read others’ stories this month – each one speaking to me in its own unique way – I’ve passed some of them along to my pastor and other staff at Fellowship Batesville, as if to say, “You are my church family now, but they are still in my heart, and they have wonderful things to tell you.” (OK, to be honest, I forwarded the first one so I could pitch the idea for our church – after all, I “borrowed” the Shaped by Scripture idea from FN, and we launched our own Bible-in-a-year blog. But I continued to forward the 30 Days emails because they’re so stinkin’ awesome!)

I first visited Fellowship North in the spring of 1994, invited by my co-worker Jennifer Holsted. At the time, we both worked the 4-to-midnight shift at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and she told me she had visited Fellowship Little Rock (so had I) but wanted to give the smaller version across the river a try. We went through a Discovery Class, (now a part of Mobilize), which became a community group led by Craig and Julie.

I grew up in church, but it was at FN, and in this community group, that the Bible started to come alive for me. We’ve had such strong leadership and wise teaching (my favorite sermon series: the book of Daniel), plus a great sense of adventure, all with the goal of discipling fully devoted followers of Christ.

One of the things I love about Fellowship is that you never know what to expect. On any given Sunday, you might witness a dramatic reading, a film clip, a huge piece of art (the elephant in the room, the huge feet representing a statue that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to), a sermon series inspired by the Fab Four, a comedy sketch modeled on Saturday Night Live characters (the first time I laughed until I cried at church was when Bryan Jones and Sandy Boultinghouse portrayed cheerleaders: “It’s Not! My! Fault!”), or the entire Old Testament in half an hour. (Sorry to say I was not there in the early days to watch Craig ride the motorcycle down the aisle in the sanctuary.)

Those are all fun memories, but they don’t mean a thing if they ain’t got that King … at the center of it all … without the ultimate purpose of engaging people with the gospel. And this is what Fellowship North does well. Not everyone will appreciate it, considering such shenanigans “irreverent” (maybe even irrelevant), but a reverence for what we believe is at the heart of it all.

So … back to the thing I love most: the diversity.

Fellowship brings together folks of all stripes and gives them wings to be whom God created them to be … what he created them for. No matter our color, background, political affiliation or favorite Beatle (Paul), we all bring something unique to the table, and that is embraced and celebrated at Fellowship North

I’m glad I was a part of it, up close, for an incredible 16 years. Thank you for allowing me to continue from a distance.

As for Fellowship Batesville and the pitch for a 30 Days-type feature? Brent, my pastor, fell for it. J With sons named Samuel, Luke and JUDE, he was bound to be a kindred spirit, no?


Bruce-Suzy GoMile 2013 uncroppedToday’s story is by Suzy Oakley.

Suzy is married to Bruce, and they are the proud parents of two furbabies, Salsa and Pepper (the Spice Dogs), as well as a human-adult child, Courtney. She reads, runs, volunteers, blogs and watches baseball – some of them at the same time. She’s a certified running coach and is soon to be a certified wellness coach. Her desire is to help people realize their God-given potential, believe they can “accomplish infinitely more than [they] might ask or think,” and give God the glory for it all.

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