Mortgage-Burning in Morganton All About Freedom
By Mykaela Alvey
After having a mortgage looming over their heads for more than twenty years, Morganton First Church of God in North Carolina is celebrating finally getting their debt paid off. What a blessing and a reason for celebration! As stated, this mortgage had been looming over the congregation for more than two decades, so the body of believers was more than ready to mark the occasion and enjoy the freedom that comes with no longer having to worry about this payment.
During COVID, when many churches across the nation struggled to make financial ends meet, this body of believers never gave up. Interim pastor John Henderson says, “We experienced lots of changes, like most church fellowships did, but our church family was faithful to continue to meet our commitment to our loan. In fact, many times, people gave extra in order to eliminate this debt.”
To celebrate this accomplishment, the church held a special service in September. The first thing on their Sunday celebration agenda was baptisms. “Our goal is as it was in the New Testament, ‘to add to the church daily.’” It was a very special time as many fathers helped by baptizing their children. After baptism, they went to the back and “burned a paper representing the mortgage.” It was a time of genuine rejoicing, followed by a big meal and fellowship.
Arguably the most beautiful thing about this service was the recognition of the depth of what this freedom could represent. They knew they had obviously just secured financial freedom, but they decided to take it a step further and make it a celebration of freedom, in general. “Freedom from debt, freedom from bondage, and freedom from sin.”
The church body knew that being free from financial bondage was significant, but that didn’t mean they could stay idle. They looked at the examples set forth in the Bible and saw what needed to happen next. “We compared this time to the example in Matthew 12,” says Pastor Henderson, “where we are taught to take hold of the strong man and cast him out.” Thus, they determined that now that the financial bondage was gone, they must work to “fill up the house.” Scripture showed them (and all of us) that “the spirit of the one cast out will find a clean, swept house and bring back seven more worse than himself.”
The temporary relief of no longer needing to pay on the mortgage does not mean that the church body will remain idle. They recognize now more than ever the need to be filled up with the Holy Spirit so that “when the enemy returns, he will find a full house and will not stop to interfere.”
What a timely reminder of what matters most. May God continue to bless this congregation and fill them with the Holy Spirit!
Anderson University alumna Mykaela Alvey is a funding US missionary based in Greenwood, Indiana. A freelance writer for three years, she loves crafting stories of hope and healing.
Learn more about the Church of God movement at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.