We buried my Aunt Jane on Saturday and it was the only burial service I’ve ever attended that involved parting gifts from the deceased. Aunt Jane kept files on us replete with newspaper articles, letters, birth announcements, and wedding invitations. Among the items in my own Aunt Jane file were all the monthly newsletters from my first church out of seminary.
For example, as I read the Monthly Session Highlights (the most important business of the church as conducted by the elders) I was horrified by what we/I considered to be “highlights.” Among the best of the highlights:
- “DM reported that someone donated a new lock for the back door.”
- “Session voted to spend $400 on a new typewriter.”
- “LT reported that the bayberry bush in front of the church has died.”
- “DM reported that new lights have been installed in the nursery.”
- “After lengthy discussion, Session voted to increase the building use fee from $25 to $35.”
Lord. Have. Mercy.
This was 30 years ago, mind you, but it could be yesterday in some of our tiny dying churches. Our “highlights” involve carpet cleanings and how many mums were ordered for Harvest Sunday, the donation of parlor sofas and the idea to sell notecards. No wonder nobody comes to church anymore.
Imagine highlights that look more like this:
- Ten members finished the Youth Stephen Ministry Training equipping them to offer support to their classmates and friends outside the church.
- God Talk is now meeting weekly at Cuppa Joe’s coffee shop on Tuesday nights.
- $3000 was donated to kick off the new South Suburban Night Ministry reaching out to families living in the hotels off the interstate. Contact our Facebook page if you, too want to prepare bag lunches.
- Volunteer training for Senior Center Visitors prepared 82 people to care for guests meeting Monday – Friday for lunch and activities.
- Volunteer barristas are needed for the Twelve Step Hospitality station on Friday nights.
See the difference? People instead of projects. Relationships instead of rules. Equipping the Saints instead of expecting the Staff to do the ministry.
What do your church highlights look like?