Monthly Archives: October 2019

The Perfect Halloween Costumes for Church Folks:

Worship Leader: A costume of the Worship In Song Hymnbook.
Apparently, he/she does know what a hymnbook looks like after all.

Church Treasurer: A Body Builder costume carrying a bloody turnip
No one can squeeze blood out of a turnip better than church treasurer.

The Casual Attender: Wearing Ugly Christmas Sweater, carrying an Easter Basket
We call it like we see ‘em—or call it when we see them.

Nursery Worker: NASCAR Pit crew member costume
The real quick-change artists work in the nursery

Facility Crew Member: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman costume
They are the true superheroes of the church—keeping the church spic and span, smelling good and ready for our members and guests.

Church Office Secretary: Hollywood Make Up Artist Costume
A good office secretary makes everything the pastors give him/her look better.  She/he cleans up bad grammar, spelling and cover-ups his/her errors.

Church Pianist: A Lock Smith’s Costume
She/He can make the keys (on the piano) work in nothing flat

Youth Pastor: A Starbucks Barista Costume
Without Youth Pastors, Starbucks would have been out of business years ago.

Church Bus Driver: A Prayer Bench Costume
No one causes people to pray more than our bus drivers (It’s a joke—we’ve got great drivers)

Sr. Adult Pastor: A Pat Sajak and Vanna White costumes for the husband and wife ministry team
Don’t all seniors love Wheel of Fortune and our Sr. Adult pastor?

Greeter: A costume in the shape of a Welcome Mat with Matthew 10:40 written on the Mat
They are a welcoming welcome crew! (Look up 10:40 in the event you haven’t memorize the Book of Matthew yet).

Usher: An Erich Brenn costume.
Ushers keep more plates moving than the famous plate spinner (You tube him on the Ed Sullivan show)

First time visitor: Indiana Jones Costume
Like Indy, first time visitors are searching for a holy thing and hoping there are no snakes and rats inside

Security Team: A Bottle of Armor All costume
No one protects like our security team.

Lead Pastor: Handsomest man in the world (in the humblest sort of way, of course, from yours truly)
No costume necessary (who do you think is writing this thing?)


Articles of Faith Visual Aid


Several People have asked me about the Membership Packet used in our membership class. This is the visual aid that I think most people were requesting.

I’ve been told that it was developed by Stephane Tibi of the World Mission Department to explain the Articles of Faith visually to those illiterate or who spoke another language than English. I have used it for several years in membership class as we walk through the Articles of Faith.

Pew Research Reports What We Already knew: We are losing people

There is an old joke of a guy who had spent years alone on a deserted island showing his rescuers the buildings he built while stranded. The first building was his house. The second building was his church, and the third building was the new church that he built when he got fed up with the preaching and all the gossip at the other church (I didn’t say it was a good joke, just an old joke). People have always left churches. Folks get mad at the preacher or something or someone and like the church office stapler they are gone never to be seen again.

People were slower to leave in days gone by. If something upsetting happened at church, the people involved (because church was a family) loved each other and worked out the issue. Not always, but frequently. One didn’t change churches like you change socks. You only left your church with much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

People leave quicker today. They don’t try to work out the issue. They just leave. Either in a huff with the obligatory social media posts of all their dirty laundry or a quiet exit out the back door, but either way they are gone. Pew Research just published this:in reversal from a decade ago, more US adults now say they rarely/never attend religious services than say they attend once a month or more (54% vs. 45%).” We are losing people.

What’s different now (unlike in the old days), more often than not, instead of trying out the church down the road or a sister congregation in the next town, often these disgruntled members stop attending church altogether. People go from faithful to faithless faster than some sports cars. They begin posting pictures of their Sunday outings on social media with the hashtag #SundayFunday.  Maybe they tune into a favorite mega church pastor’s sermon occasionally or listen to K-Love in the car, but they have no fellowship of believers. No service opportunities. They don’t receive communion on a regular basis. They pretend “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy” no longer applies.  They ignore passages like Hebrews 10:24-25 that says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 If asked about their lack of corporate worship attendance, the response is something like, “You don’t need to go to church to be a Christian.” While technically true, there is no quicker way to become cold, bitter and carnal than to stop worshipping with fellow believers.

I write this not to offer a new church growth methodology to win these folks back, but to acknowledge our current reality and to weep over those who are dangerously walking away from faith. The Church was God’s idea. He knew we would need other believers to lift us up, and that we would need to be a blessing to others. God knows we need each other.


Pastor Appreciation Month: One Pastor’s Perspective

Thanks to James Dobson, H.B. London and the Focus on the Family organization in the early 1990’s, October has been known as Pastor Appreciation Month. Here’s what this pastor appreciates.

I appreciate church folks who…

Love unconditionally (They love each other, love their neighbors, love their enemies, love sinners, love saints, love adherents to other religions, love those with no religion, love everybody even me. No conditions.)
Pray frequently for their pastors and church.
Give generously.
Read their Bible often.
Reflect Jesus in their attitudes and actions.
Are kind, honest, and dedicated.
Allow the pastor’s spouse and children to be themselves.
Use social media to spread goodness not gossip.
Understand that pastors (like everyone) are not perfect and are quick to give the benefit of the doubt and offer grace even when the pastor blunders.
Uplift, encourage and cheerlead the good things happening in the church.
Recognize that they haven’t arrived and are growing and striving to know God more and more.
Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
Clean the church as if they were cleaning it for Jesus, himself
Refuse to judge their pastor based on a disgruntled squeaky wheel’s blather, but form their own opinion based on his/her personal interactions with the pastor.
While sitting on the church board, understand that leadership is about godliness, commitment and servanthood.
Work behind the scenes for God’s glory not their own.
Greet church visitors like family.
Brag on Jesus all the time.
Offer to babysit the pastor’s kids—so the pastor and spouse can go out on a date (of course, my boys are in their twenties, married and rarely need a baby sitter these days).
Regularly invite their friends to church and share their faith.
Come out on mission work days just as eagerly as they show up for fun days.
Make the tastiest pot-luck entrées (Lemon pie? Yes, please!).
Refuse to utter discouraging but pious sounding clichés like: “I’m not being fed,” “We have never done it that way before,” or “We are looking for a more spiritual church, but it’s not about you, pastor.”
Hate to miss Sunday church services and rarely do.
Love a good joke and are quick to laugh at themselves.
Encourage young adults to fulfill their potential in Christ.
Ask questions like: “How can I help?” and “Where do you need me?”

But most of all, I appreciate that God has called me into pastoral ministry where every week I get to proclaim the goodness, mercy, grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and serve alongside some of the greatest people in the world!

DO NOT come to Spiritual Renewal services if…

Sunday begins our Spiritual Renewal (revival) Services with Dr. J.K. Warrick, General Superintendent Emeritus in the Church of the Nazarene, but DO NOT come to Spiritual Renewal services if you…

Relish sitting in a chair muttering to yourself, “I am not being fed spiritually.” (Think of Spiritual Renewal as a Smorgasbord for your Soul. If you like feeling empty and spiritually dead, then stay home.)

Hate good preaching. (Maybe you come to church to catch up on your sleep. The pews are comfy. Your life is hard. If you think of church as a drug free alternative to melatonin, then DO NOT come to Spiritual Renewal. JK Warrick is a great preacher!

Like making, planning, and cleaning up after dinner. (Meals are being served Monday through Wednesday prior to Spiritual Renewal Services beginning at 6PM. Just come, eat and stay for the services. If you really like washing dishes, please DO NOT come).

Love to pay for your meals. (The meals described above are FREE. No joke. FREE!).

Are annoyed by excellent music. (If your musical preference is off-key, out-of-tune singers, bad musicians and worse lyrics, then DO NOT COME to spiritual renewal services. John Nicholas and the Woods Band will be leading and they are terrific!)

Enjoy watching your kids turn into couch potatoes. (There are special services for all kids 5th grade and under. But if they attend then they won’t be watching any important life-changing You-tube videos of cats sleeping. Their couch potatoness will be negatively affected by Spiritual Renewal Week).

Plan on never joining with God in His mission for our world. If you have won the Genesee County Person of the Year Award twelve years in a row for your service to the community, then maybe you need not come and discover God’s plan for your life.

Have Isaiah 42:20 as a life verse. (It reads: “You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.” If you are thinking of coming to Spiritual Renewal service, but refuse to listen or hear from the Lord, please DO NOT waste your time).

Are Prefect (If you are perfect and have no areas in your life that need to be addressed, have never ever made a mistake, memorized every word in the Bible, always follow God’s word perfectly, have every single relationship in your life in perfect alignment with the Lord; think that you should be placed on a pedestal with a sign reading: THE PERFECT CHRISTIAN— then DO NOT come to Spiritual renewal. Spiritual renewal is for people who know that God is not done with them.).

PLEASE COME to Spiritual Renewal Services if you are hungry for the Lord. If you love when God comes upon a service and His presence is so real. Come to Spiritual renewal if you are dealing with tough issues and heavy burdens. Come to spiritual renewal if you are just dipping your toe into this “faith thing” and you’ll discover that faith, holiness and healing is for you. Come to Spiritual Renewal services! You will NOT be disappointed, and your dinner is free!