12 March 2007

Powerful motivators

During Lent, we have been joining our sister church in our twin-city area for a mid-week worship service we call Soup for the Soul. We meet for a brief half-hour service, then we have a simple soup supper afterwards. It has been incredibly well-attended and has been a great experience, which is wonderful, because these two churches have long and somewhat contentious histories. When a crisis happens there, we tend to get their evacuees. Similarly when a crisis happens in our church, they get our evacuees, which is what happened most recently. Also these churches never seem to be able to thrive at the same time. When we do well, they are in crisis. When they do well, we seem to be in decline (and right now they are doing VERY well, so you know where we are in the cycle...)
So my church has been doing this service for five years by ourselves. Traditionally our services have been casual, casual, casual. Uber casual. I wear jeans, stand on the floor, ask for volunteers to read the scriptures, sing a capella, have recorded Taize music for communion, etc. It has been a nice mid-week respite and the one year we didn't have it there was mass dissension, so this year, because I was going to be on maternity leave, I asked our sister church to join us. And they have. Every other week, we trade hosting responsibilities and for the first three weeks, my colleague preached and I will preach for the last three.
ANYWAY, what has been interesting is that the services started at the other church and so they got to set the tone -- which was complete with a liturgist, organ, suited pastor in pulpit and I'm not sure if the pastor over there just did not hear my repeated insistence that the services be casual or whether he had other ideas from the start.
Whatever it is, having visitors from the OTHER church has been a powerful motivator for my people. Broken things are getting fixed, the sanctuary has been all decked out, and yesterday after church a couple of folks came up and asked if we could pay our pianist extra so that she could be at the service on Wednesday.
I guess that's the way it works for all of us; we all want to impress the neighbors on some level. But I wish that the motivator was being good stewards of what we have and sharing our best with everyone regardless of whether they are the wealthy relatives or not. But perhaps that's a little too much to hope for...


Anonymous said...

Wow that is interesting...too bad the idea could not be maintained regardless of the building - fracking socio-dynamic motivators. Good outreach to your sistah congregation though - sounds like a great service.

love you!


Sista Cala said...

I am that way about cleaning my home. I tend to let it go, until I know someone is coming over.

The same is true of the millions of unsaved. They do not really KNOW that Christ is coming back, so their heart house is all messed up.