Wednesday, August 01, 2007

An Epiphany!

Behold! An epiphany!

There's this pastor, see, and he's been trying to form some semblance of a senior high youth group. He himself, while growing up, was part of a youth group that went on a bunch of mission trips and met every week.

The best part about this other youth group, you see, is that it was made up of people who could just be given a topic and they'd discuss, argue, yell, and laugh. There was a notable absence of mudpits and gimmickery and Outings That Cost Money (because you can only have fun if you get away from the church and spend money) and glorified babysitting. This other youth group would sometimes do that other stuff, but they didn't need a lot of it.

Then this pastor came to a church where no senior high group existed. He counts himself blessed when three kids show up to an event, mostly because he knows he can count on those three. Usually.

He's trying a discussion group, which is going "well."

He's doing an ongoing post-confirmation sponsor thing, which also is going "well."

He's taking them on local service trips, and this year adding more "fun" things...even a few Outings That Cost Money. All in the hopes that he will one day be doubly blessed

There was even a prayer involved, sort of. "O Lord, let thou send four, five, or six children, that they may one day realize that church isn't as lame as they think it is if they give it a fair shot...for I do not count myself as blessed if there be less than three."

And behold, the Lord answered, "You're an idiot."

The pastor stuttered and stammered. "Wh...what?"

"Here's a wacky notion," the Lord shot back, "how about you actually focus on the kids who are there instead of the kids who don't show up? Maybe a little less lamentation for the people who aren't there and a little more rejoicing with the ones who are could turn these things into a more positive experience for everybody."

"So..." the pastor slowly uttered, the Lord's words taking effect, "...plan for smaller numbers, and...the rest will take care of itself?"

"I didn't say that, but...maybe. It's fine that you could potentially have X number of people, but you're not getting X number of people. Don't get all hot and bothered about that bit. Just minister to the ones who come and keep inviting the ones who don't without taking it as a personal blow if they don't come."

"Ah. Gotcha."

"Occasionally, yeah, I think you do."

The Lord has spoken. And the people said "Amen."

And that's how the pastor started thinking about ways to minister out of abundance rather than scarcity.

He first heard about this at a recent Conference gathering, but that was pretty boring.

5 comments:

erin said...

Jeff, please email me. I think you probably already know, but one of our college friends (and a fraternity brother for you) needs prayer. If you don't know, I'll fill you in on what I do know. ebrazofsky@hotmail.com Sorry to be so cryptic.

Give my love to the wifey!!

Toodles,
Erin

P.o.C. said...

Erin, yeah, I got a call yesterday about that. Quite a shock. And already praying.:)

Anonymous said...

But what will my people think if their church isn't growing? What will other educators think when asked how large my youth group is? What will church search committees think when asked how many new members I took in during my previous experience?
Too bad others haven't caught on to this concept.

erin said...

good...yeah, completely shocking. I'm glad you're praying. :)

and have fun at the wedding--tell him I said congrats. :)

cpclergymama said...

Something that i think needs to be read to my session. If any of them had any sort of web knowledge I'd direct them your way!