My church had "Miracle Sunday" today. It was the hope that our congregants would kick in extra money, sell off unneeded possessions, and even will property and other possessions to the church ... all in one massive attempt to buy down every last dollar of debt, freeing up our financial resources to pursue new ministries, make some long overdue building repairs, and unflinchingly follow where we hear God calling us to go. The church elders wanted to raise some $300,000.
The service was packed with specials ... the choir sang a benediction, the handbell choir played the offertory, our worship band played while the "Miracle Offering" was taken up. Letters from former pastors were read, we showed a 15-minute slideshow on the 85 year history of Calvary Church, one of our beloved former pastors spoke for 20 minutes, *AND* we also had Communion, this being the first Sunday of the month. And did I mention we still did all the other regular elements of our service (praise and worship songs, announcements, hymns)? The Pastor even preached his sermon, albeit he did skip great chunks of it.
By all accounts, it was a marvelous service, but it's sticking in my craw a little bit that SO MUCH was planned to fill our 90 minute service. I'm no stickler for walking out of church at exactly twelve noon and certainly believe in allowing the Spirit to move in the midst of our weekly time together ... but stubbornly insisting on stuffing in every little bit of planned item when it's clearly overkill - if I can use that word when referring to a service of Christian faith - seems to me to be poor stewardship of God's time and more than a little bit selfish.
There, I've said it and it's off my chest and I thank you for letting me do that.
By the way, more than $130,000 was brought in and many old members visited us, resulting in some very fine conversations.