The wonderful church of Christ that meets in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts had it going on, including an expert level website that described themselves this way:
“The church of Christ meeting at 27 Old Tyng Road is composed of men and women who are, most likely, very much like yourself — construction workers, teachers, landscapers, full time homemakers, welders, medical technicians, nurses, university students and office managers. Some of our members own their own businesses and others work for some of the big multinational companies located in Boston and the Merrimack Valley. Within the congregation we have couples who are just beginning their families and, on the other side of the spectrum, we have grandparents. We have individuals with very small children and others with teenagers. Like we said, the individuals who make up the Tyngsboro congregations are, in all probability, much like you.
But though we are diversified in our make-up, we are bound together by a common desire to abide in the teaching of Jesus. For it is in this way that we not only become disciples, but that we also come to know the truth that makes men free (John 8:31-32). Furthermore, we take seriously the warning given by John in his second epistle, verse nine:
“Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”
The first century church also limited their service to God to those things authorized by the apostles. We read, for example, that they continually devoted “themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42) and remembered them in everything and holding firmly to their traditions, just as he had delivered them. In his letter to the Thessalonians this same apostle encouraged the Christians to “stand firm and hold to the traditions” which they had been “taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us” (i.e., the apostles); and, to keep themselves “aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition” which they received from these men (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).”
On this great website, they offer one-on-one classes with one of the evangelists at a Panera or Starbucks or similar location, so that anyone in the community may have any Bible question answered and learn more about the Christians who are meeting in Tyngsboro. “We will meet at your convenience, day or night, with no further obligation to discuss how we can help you in your walk with God. Email us and we will set up a convenient time for you.”
I also found on their website not only a great collection of sermons, but a page with links to a free 7-lesson online Bible correspondence course. So that the student can ensure they are on track and understanding the material, there are questions at the end of each lesson that are reviewed and graded. The topics included: Jesus Christ is The Way, Finding Jesus, The Way, Jesus, The Way to a Better Life, Jesus, The Way to Forgiveness, Jesus, The Way to God, Jesus, The Way out of Religious Confusion, Jesus, The Way to Heaven.
For those in the community looking for a more face to face opportunity to learn about God, members of this church family open their homes. The opportunities advertised online included a Ladies Study, Teen Study, Monday Study, a Read the Bible in a Year Study, a Friday Study, and a group that meets to read and discuss the book of Genesis.
Lastly, I found on their site something that came in handy for me as a visitor, and that was an easy download of class materials, including the Proverbs material that was being covered the morning of our visit.
When we walked in a tad tardy, they were discussing various proverbs around managing our relationships with friends, church family, and neighbors, and specifically, the wisdom around loving one another better by knowing one another better. Various class participants noted the advantage of not only knowing the needs of one another, but also to being mindful of whether a brother or sister is more introverted or extroverted, so that when we are supporting one another we can customize our approaches with more mindfulness and sensitivity.
When we got to Proverbs 27:17 and read- “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Nathan Combs reminded us that while constructive criticism must be done with love, this is certainly no gentle process, and that sparks will fly! And although this sharpening process is not easy for either piece of “iron”, in the end, this direct, yet compassionate correcting of one can make us much more useful to the Master.
When Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy”, such is an invaluable reminder that it’s the friend who loves you best who is willing to say the things that though they can initially wound you, those can be the truths that snatch you from the fire.
After all, it was Jesus Himself, the epitome of love, who said to the apostle Peter, “Get behind me, Satan.”
At that point in the Bible class, something beautiful happened. A brother in Christ recalled and shared with some lighthearted humor, how there was a beloved sister in the congregation, that he knew he could always count on to tell him how he could be better. This great advice followed: If it hurts, think about it. Step away. Absorb. Meditate. Breathe. It was not meant to hurt. But it can be helpful. Let’s share hard truth, for no other purpose than that it is good for another. For the alternative, that is, turning a blind eye, is in actuality not being honest, and dishonesty is the very thing that makes churches, and eventually cultures, crumble.
If you are ever in that northeast corner of Massachusetts, near the border of New Hampshire, I’d encourage you to go hear an outstanding sermon from Nathan Combs and check out this congregation, who love each other very well and are actively ready and willing to add new souls to their church family!
Tyngsboro Church of Christ
27 Old Tyng Road Tyngsborough, MA 01879