Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Never Ending Pasta Bowl. . . pastoberfest

Tis the season. It's October. I really, really like the fall. Football is in full swing, hopes are high for the Stillers and the bengals stink which re-assures that the world is still normal. Apple cider. Nice cool weather. It is also the time when everything gets hyped by changing the word 'Octoberfest' into something 'new' and 'cool'. 'Rocktoberfest', 'Shocktoberfest', Is saw a 'Bratoberfest' (which I will definitely be a part of) more on that later. It is also that precious time of year when the Olive Garden offers the never-ending pasta bowl. All you can eat scrumptious pasta. This is the epitome of self indulgence. Julie and I graced the Olive Garden last Friday. My normal plan going into pastoberfest is to eat enough pasta to make up the difference of over priced meals that I have eaten throughout the year. I am sorry to say though, that this year, I did not make a strong showing. I may have to consider retirement. I was only able to take down 2 bowls. In years past, 4 was the norm. I believe the highest was 6 (which, I must point out could have been higher had I not been cut off) So I may need to hang up the gloves.

I spent some time with some pastors last week. I was in the middle of preparing a sermon that I gave at our church over the weekend, when my pastor invited me to attend a meeting with some fellow pastors in the denomination. It was a simple little Bible study/small group. It was a very interesting dynamic. I have been serving at a church that is wildly contemporary and more importantly working really hard to minister to people. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of a church family that is concerned with reaching people with the love of Jesus and getting those people plugged into the ministry of the church, which goes way beyond our weekends together. Coming from this point of view, mixed with the fact that I just finished an MA in pastoral leadership, where the teachers and students are totally fired up to see the church become what it was meant to be, I sat with these guys and marveled at how easy it is for churches to become so pre-occupied with their thing. This group of guys was a cool group, and I won't tell you about them individually, but I will mention that they follow in a long line of people who I have encountered recently who are falling into this trap of taking what they are already doing and trying to re-package it to make it connect with new people. Let's take our Sunday service, throw in a guitar and assume that will fix the problems. We'll put out a sign for a 'contemporary service', and it will all just take off! Let's take down the sermon series from the marquee and put up there 'Churchtoberfest!'. My sermon was based on the idea that for the church to be the church, we can't just be all about Sunday. We have to be all about each other (after Jesus) and then together, all about the world around us. 24/7. This is really easy to say. I know, i just said it. But in spending time with some other pastors and hearing from other churches, I see that this easily gets lost in the shuffle. Satan wants more than anything for churches to keep doing what they're doing, make sure Sunday is an awesome show, repackage the old stuff, and neglect the call for unity, growth, true worship (living sacrifice, spirit and truth, no building built by human hands, etc) and ministry. There will always be a battle in keeping the call alive. When a church is healthy the battle is to keep it. When a church is not, the challenge is more apparent, but equally important.

No real questions or answers, more of an observation that should challenge to be aware of the deception of Sunday.

And now a quote. "Sallah I said no camels, that's five camels! Can't you count?!"
know the movie?