Monday, May 26, 2008

All Dressed Down and Nowhere to Go...

That's how we felt Sunday morning, not going to church because there were so few churches to choose from in our immediate area. The nearest ELCA, Episcopal or UCC congregations were all about 30 miles away in various directions; and we didn't feel all that comfortable with our other local denominational choices (I personally don't feel welcome in a denomination that at least officially doesn't want me to commune at one of its services, no matter what it says about welcoming visitors, and that's not even getting into the Issue That Dare Not Speak Its Name).

If anyone with any pull in our synod or on Higgins Road is reading this, here is my humble suggestion for ministry in northern Michigan tourist country: If a start-up congregation isn't a viable option in a given area (which seems to be the case along the western side of Leelanau County), why not take the show on the road? Have some congregations within a 30- or 40-mile radius commit to holding a weekly worship service in some unserved resort town -- work with the community and find a friendly park or other open area or public building, and advertise your presence like you actually mean it. (Which I mention because this seems to be a weak link in local ministry endeavors.) No gimmicks or worshitainment; just a simple Eucharist service. Pitch a tent. See who shows up. I'm just sayin'.


P.S. an after-thought said...

I feel the same way about the lack of choice at the Nursing Home where my mom is. There is a visit on a Thursday once/month by a pastor from your former synod. That service is liturgical/formal, with communion open, believe it or not, to everyone, but not the least bit personal or pastoral.

The Sunday services are by other groups and quite warm and welcoming, Biblical, pastoral, but no sacrament.

I guess I'd better write to a local ELCA church to ask some questions. Surely there are members in these facilities.

david said...

Your idea of taking the show on the road is one that several pastors here in South Carolina do each week. I frequently supply for one such pastor who has what he calls a "preaching point" in a town about 20 miles from his church. He uses the American Legion hall for worship on Sundays.

Several others use camp ground pavilions, high school auditoriums and the like. It really isn't up to Higgins Road, but the individual pastors and congregations as to how far they are willing to go to hold a service.

Talk to some of your local pastors and see what they think. You may be surprised.