Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Random Thoughts…

We’ve been dealing with a pretty weighty topic—important, but weighty. It is time to shift gears for some lighter stuff. For the next day or two I will “spew out” some random thoughts about church, life, preaching, vacation, etc.

  • Pray for missionaries! Our church is supporting some missionaries who need our prayers. Larry and Nikki are missionaries in Chile. Larry was recently diagnosed with a tumor in his stomach. The doctors in Chile removed a “lemon-sized” tumor and about a quarter of his stomach. Tests on lymph nodes were negative—GREAT NEWS! Doctors are expecting him to fully recover. The second missionary we support will remain nameless. This person is serving as a missionary in a country where it is illegal to convert a person to Christianity. We can communicate with the missionary using a special encrypted e-mail service—we still don’t take any chances and use “code” words for anything having to do with the missionary activities.
  • Pastors and burnout. I think that there are only two types of pastors: those who put in way too many hours each week and those who just skim by. I know too many pastors in the first category. Our churches need to be better at protecting our pastors and their time. I once heard a person say, “Poor planning on your part does not necessarily cause an emergency on my part.” Another way of putting that could be, “An emergency in your life may not be an emergency in my life.” As pastors we have caused this problem to exist. We need to be better at using deacons to assist with pastoral care. Small groups could (and should) be the first line of pastoral care. Pastors (including myself) need to be much better about setting boundaries on our time.
  • Get the church outside of the church walls. I am having more and more of my non-confidential meetings at local coffee shops. As Christians we tend to “hide” inside our church walls. Those in the non-Christian Northwest need to see that there are Christians in the area. They can also “hear” what is happening in our churches.
  • Our newest people are our best advertisements. It is very rare when a long time member of the church brings a visitor to church (other than a relative). Our newest folks are excited about what is happening at the church and are telling their friends about us!
  • Design your church bulletin and newsletter for those who are not yet at your church. Joy, our church’s office manager, came in my office the other day and said, “I am sure glad that I work for you.” Over the years I have pushed the envelope (who would have guessed) on thinking like those who do not attend church. She has become one of our greatest advocates for those who are not yet attending Evergreen. She has come to see that we “have to” change our worship bulletin (I call it our “worship folder”) and newsletter to appeal to our visitors. The regular attenders don’t really care how these publications look. Visitors notice everything! Today’s technology makes it affordable for even the smaller churches to put out quality products. Additionally, our web page is being totally revamped to be more appealing to those who have never stepped through our doors.
  • Have fun! Where in the Bible does it say that Christians have to be as sour as a lemon? Following Christ is a wild ride! Fun! Exciting! Uplifting! Do you remember looking at some of those old-time photos? Why is it that no one would smile? Too often, that is what our churches look like.
  • Keep church from being boring. Two Sunday’s ago my brother and his family went to a Presbyterian Church in Lacey, Washington. Brad goes to a fabulous Presbyterian Church in the Brown’s Point area of Tacoma. His home church is fabulous—and growing. He loves his church—he struggles with the PCUSA. Brad and his family worship with us several times a year. He is a great guitar player and singer and has provided special music on many occasions (he joined with our worship team on Easter morning to sing “Arise My Love.” He loves worship at our church. His experience in Lacey was, how can I say it… horrible. He said it was the most boring worship service he had ever attended. His kids (sixth and fourth grades) were absolutely bored. He was there for the baptism of his friend’s child. Worship can be reverent and not boring (his family attends the “traditional” service at their church). Worship can be reflective and not boring. Jesus was anything but boring!
  • The secret to Pastor Lance’s barbecued (grilled—for those of you in the south) salmon. Melt some butter (Parkay Margarine) in the microwave and then add brown sugar (lots of brown sugar-it should be the consistency of paste). A couple of minutes before taking the salmon off the BBQ liberally apply the brown sugar paste to the salmon and close the lid on the BBQ. Most of the mixture will slide off the salmon into the charcoal; the remainder will form a brown sugar glaze on the salmon. Everyone will want you did not make the salmon taste so good!

Enough random thoughts for now…


At 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update on your missionaries!

Also, what made the service that your brother's family visited 'boring'?

And--can I use real butter on the salmon?

At 9:54 AM , Blogger Reformed Catholic said...

I agree ... what made the service so boring? As the elder for Evangelism, any insight into what made it boring would help us revitalize our church here.

At 2:29 PM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

1. My brother periodically reads my blog. I will ask him to post his own answer.

2. Toby, I am sure that real butter will work. I am just to cheap to buy it. :-)


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