Steve White preached his farewell sermon Sunday after serving with Plainfield (Ind.) Christian Church for 34 years. In that sermon, he shared the reasons he loves the church, and specifically, why he loves Plainfield Christian.
White said, “The world loves [the church’s] flaws” and happily points them out. And some people, sadly, claim, “I love Jesus, but I don’t love the church.”
“Friends, the New Testament doesn’t know anything about that kind of thinking.” He stressed, “To love Jesus is to love his church.”
Some of the reasons White said he loves the church: “Because of its founder . . . because of our message . . . because it affirms human worth . . . because of the conscience it impacts . . . for the practical difference it makes . . . [and] because Christ loves the church.”
“Friends, we are the bride of Christ,” White said. “He loves his church, and we do not do him well when we speak disparagingly of the bride of Christ . . .
“Do we understand there are problems. Sure, we do. . . . And you may have gone from church to church because of issues. But we never speak poorly of God’s people. There’s no profit in that.”
White pointed out that the apostle Paul spoke boldly to the Corinthian church (“the most messed-up church you could ever visit”), but he still called them the church and lifted them up.
White said Plainfield Christian Church consistently lifted up him and his family from the time they arrived in 1987. He expressed heartfelt thanks when he said, “You made it so easy for our kids to love the church.”
White said he loves PCC because they took a risk in calling him, let him into their life, and showed grace toward him. He said he loves PCC because of their generosity, and because they love the Word of God and serving Christ and his church.
“All in all,” he said, “any preacher would be envious to be your preacher.”
John Caldwell, who served in ministry for many years with neighboring Kingsway Christian Church (Avon, Ind.), attended PCC for White’s farewell sermon and applauded his friend’s service via a Facebook post.
“As [Steve’s] neighboring preacher for 24 . . . years, I watched up close the incredible growth of PCC, but I also observed the character, commitment to Christ, and love for people of this brother. It is not surprising that he preached on ‘Why I Love the Church’ for his final sermon.
“At the close of the service his successor, Luke Proctor, asked how many present had been baptized by Steve; then how many had been married by him; how many had Steve bury their loved ones; and how many had been visited by him in the hospital when sick, or [been] counseled by him when troubled; and the vast majority of those present raised their hands. Steve has understood and modeled what pastoral ministry is all about.”
Later Sunday, Plainfield Christian hosted a reception for Steve and his wife, Diana.
This coming Sunday will also be big for Plainfield Christian, as the church celebrates “Opening Day” in their renovated worship center. Then, over a seven-day period, the church will dedicate the worship center by reading aloud through the entire Bible.
Watch a video of Steve White’s farewell sermon.