|
Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Q5: Pastor says skip church

  • Rev. Ed Mease is Senior Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Leavenworth.
    • email print
  • Rev. Ed Mease is Senior Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Leavenworth.
    1. OK, the first question has to be this one: what's the meaning behind the sign in the window at St. Paul - the one that says "On October 14, Don't Come to Church."
    We're asking our members to do just that - to not come to the church this coming Sunday.
    But, that's only part of the sign in the window. It goes on to read: "Be the Church!"
    As part of a national "Faith in Action" initiative of many Christian congregations, believers are being encouraged to not come to the church to participate in a service that morning, but rather to use that time to perform acts of service to others in need. We are challenged to show our faith by the things that we do that day.
    2. I don't think I've ever heard of a pastor asking his members to skip church. Have you done this before?
    This is now the third year that we've taken the opportunity to participate in this effort. But, it's not really "skipping" church ... just not "coming" to church, but "being" the church - to be the church that Jesus called His followers to be: loving and serving others in ways similar to the way He does. He came, not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45), and He told us that we'd be known as His followers by the fruits we bear in life, the things we do to show our faith (John 15:12-17).
    3. So, what happens on this special day?
    Many things, some are organized group events, but most are simple actions undertaken by individual members of St. Paul or as families. We really won't know until the next Sunday what happened this Sunday (as our people report back), but in the past two years we've had volunteers help organize the food pantry at the Leavenworth Assistance Center, or take food and winter clothing to those living in the homeless camps of Kansas City. Last year, and again this year, there will be a free breakfast served at Kid's Connection facility for the children who are a part of our after-school ministry and their families (as-well-as others who need a good breakfast to start the day) - and there's also a "free" yard sale give-away taking place at the same time and place (7th & Ottawa Streets; 9:30-11 AM).
    Others have raked leaves or cleaned gutters for an elderly neighbor; we've had a member go to Aldi that morning, watch for a family that he felt could benefit from his generosity, and step up to pay for their groceries when they reached the check-out. One member visited a laundromat, visiting with those there that morning and sharing his faith, while at the same time handing them a roll of quarters to help with their laundry bill. Some have hosted a coffee time in the commons area of their apartment complex, giving one another the opportunity to share what is taking place in their lives ... then praying for each other.
    Page 2 of 2 - Nursing homes have been visited, as have other shut-in members or those in the hospital at the time. Meals have been taken to those who are either alone or struggling with life. Many might view this as "paying it forward," and there certainly are similarities (as with the idea of performing "random acts of kindness"), but one difference is that we want to not only do the special acts of service, we also hope to have the opportunity to share "why" we are doing them: as a way of putting our faith into action.
    4. Will there be a "4th Annual" event next year?
    I don't really know. I'm certainly still in favor of the "Be the Church" emphasis, but I'd also like to see it be more than just one Sunday of the year. 52 Sundays would be nice - but the real goal would be to have believers at St. Paul and from all Christian congregations putting their faith into action, being the church of Jesus, 365 days of the year!
    If getting people's attention by telling them "don't come to church" is the first step, maybe it's time to no longer set aside just a Sunday morning - maybe it's time to come back to church that Sunday, to emphasize the other 364 days of the year to also "be" the church.
    That's a decision that will be made after hearing back from people over the next few weeks ... both those who served someone else, and hopefully, some of those who were served.
    5. If anyone has questions or might know of someone who would benefit from a special act of service, how can they reach you?
    The Church Office phone number is: 913-682-0387. They can also find out more, and also reach us, via our website: www.stpaul-lcms.org.

      • calendar