Often, when a comedian comes through with a punch line for a carefully prepared routine or joke that falls flat, he or she will look at the crowd and say, “You had to be there to get it!” During my time as the interim pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Salem, I am often asked by friends and colleagues what it’s like to be serving at this church in this town. I am unable to give a quick answer. I have to create a context for people to understand both the town and the church before they can understand why I have such deep and grateful feelings for this church, this place and, most of all, the people that they represent. Some of them get it and some of them do not. “You have to spend some time being here to get it!”

I would encourage you to take that time. Explore this little church that has dared and is daring to make such a big impact, along with other faithful churches, on the City of Salem. In our recently revisioned mission study, the church has committed its ministry not to seeking to build its own numbers, but, instead, to use its resources to focus on filling ministry needs throughout the city and county, with a particular emphasis on children, youth and young adults (millennials!), all with an unwavering commitment to Jesus Christ as he is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

Through tutoring programs, summer camps, an exploding community garden ministry, growing numbers of people in missional service through the Appalachian Service Project and the advent of a partnership with Young Life, there are many reasons to “be here and to get it!” I would enthusiastically invite you to join us in the adventure!