Skip to main content

sometime you want to go...

where everybody knows your name...

no, the bishop has not appointed us to boston after 7 days in prosper! we're still here, and very happy. the boys returned from their five days in bay city last friday, and are really digging their rooms and the new house. one huge bonus: the church playground, covered, right across the street. it's great to be a kid in prosper!

i just returned from lunch at the place to eat in prosper, the cotton gin. it's a great little place, packed around the clock, in downtown, just a few blocks from the church. in fact, it's run by church members! so far i think we have had five meals there, and yes, we've been in town for a week! they've got everything, from breakfast to burgers to chicken fried steak to salads, if that's your thing. today i had a huge cheeseburger, a final celebration of food before the season of lent begins tomorrow, ash wednesday. for lent i will be fasting on wednesdays, and not eating sweets or fried foods until easter (i will take a lenten break to celebrate miles' birthday on friday-- God will understand). christy loves lent!

the cotton gin is a place much like cheers was-- it has its regulars and newcomers. but in the center of a small town it is hard to not be noticed as the new guy in town, especially in a fairly visible position, as pastor in one of the churches. everytime i go in there now i see people who know me-- sometimes i know them, sometimes i even remember their names! but it's pretty clear who the guests are. hopefully members will be forgiving if i do not recognize them! speaking of standing out, christy and i had breakfast the other day at the c.g. and who sat at the table next to us? deion sanders. no, i did not ask him to autograph my napkin.

when does the church feel like the place where everybody knows your name? and how do folk who attend large churches avoid feeling like a consumer at a business where no one greets them or welcomes them or remembers them? how do churches of any size make their folk feel like they are at home when they come-- whether they're new in town or have been around for generations? i have been in churches where no one seemed to notice or care that i was there, and at other times i've been treated like royalty. i'm not sure it's the number on the membership roles that makes the difference either. it's more of an intentionality of the members to remember the importance of hospitality.

that will be one of the more important and hardest characteristics of prosper umc to hold on to as it grows every year. but we are going to succeed at it. we want to be the place where folk feel most welcome in the town of prosper. and after church they can go to downtown and enjoy the good food at the cotton gin. just make sure you get there in time to beat the baptists!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Famous Black Cat Band

This week my former high school band director, Mr Reinke, died. Mr Reinke is a legend in my hometown of Bay City. He was the leader of our Black Cat Band for many years. He was a fiery man, a perfectionist with extremely high standards. He was a gifted musician. He and I both played the trombone; one of us sounded like a goose being strangled. The other sounded like... well I can't think of a metaphor to properly describe Mr Reinke's horn. It was amazing. He would pull that thing out occasionally to show us how to properly play a part of a song and the sound was spellbinding. 
Mr Reinke was very innovative in his music selections. He had us playing the most random music, from popular stuff of the day by Michael Jackson to Also Sprach Zarathustra (popularly known as the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. This song in particular was a great choice-- it's amazing, complicated; however, this was the late 1980s. The song was originally released…

Grief Is a Powerful Thing

"So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves." 1 Thessalonians 2:8
My first couple of Sundays at Grace, early in July, a couple of different people asked me this question immediately before worship: "How are you feeling?" My response: "Terrified." This was met with sort of shocked looks, then afterward the same person would say something like, "See that was ok." I've always been nervous before preaching-- the ramped up nerves help me to focus on my task and give me energy. But this seemed stronger. On Saturday nights my first couple of months at Grace I would hear an inner critic saying, "You're not prepared." "You're going to bomb today." Most Sundays he was wrong. A couple of sermons did bomb, but that happens. I decided to seek out a spiritual director to help me discern what was going on with me. I knew it was internal, but couldn…

a response to gideons international

last sunday prosper united methodist church welcomed representatives of the gideons to share about their ministry. how many times have you stayed in a hotel or visited someone in the hospital and found a gideons Bible there? and while no one can argue that reading the Bible is a bad thing, or that distributing Bibles to others in native languages is inherently harmful, i would like to offer some thoughts on the practices of the gideons, as they were described at church.

1. bravo to the gideons for distributing 73 million Bibles last year. however, most of the Bibles they sent were tiny new testaments with psalms. i am a Christian, and i love the words of the new testament. but those words have their foundation in the old testament, and to remove thousands of years of traditions and stories of God's powerful love and acts of salvation diminishes the power of the whole Bible. we must never forget that the old testament (or "first" testament or "hebrew Bible"…