What. Your. Minister. Wants. You. To. Know.

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What your minister wants you to know is that on a Saturday he or she works on a sermon, that the sermon didn’t start on a Saturday, but it is given time and care and love on a Saturday, and the point of a sermon is to share it with you on a Sunday morning. Your minister wants you to know that he or she hopes you will be in church the next day. I know it sounds simple but it’s true. The minister who writes a sermon does so because he or she believes people need to hear it, feel it, and be shaped by some theological idea or story. And it’s not just the sermon, but it’s the whole service that has been planned with care and attention. You may think that your presence doesn’t really matter on a Sunday morning, and ministers certainly understand how busy life is for everyone, but your presence does matter to your minister. It matters more than what any of them will ever say to you. Your minister doesn’t say it to you, because he or she doesn’t want to come across as needy, and for goodness sake, your minister doesn’t want you to attend church out of obligation to him or her. It’s just that, well, it’s just that it really inspires your minister to see you. It’s about the whole service, and seeing one another before church and after church that makes such a huge difference. Your minister wants you to know that 99% of being a church is showing up. Something special happens when people show up. Can you be a good person and not attend church? Of course! No minister in his or her right mind would say otherwise. It’s just that, well, it’s just that churches either work or don’t work. They work when people show up and they don’t work when people don’t show up, and your minister, perhaps young, perhaps old, perhaps tired, it doesn’t really matter, but your minister wants desperately for the church to work. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Lenten season. Six weeks leading up to Easter. Every minister around the country harbors a secret hope, namely, that church members will show up every Sunday during Lent. Again, he or she may not say it like that, but today he or she is thinking it. Sometimes ministers struggle because, again they never say this out loud, but sometimes they feel like they want something for the church more than the church wants something for the church. Churches don’t belong to ministers. Churches belong to the members of the church. It seems odd, and truth be told, it’s a little exhausting, when the minister wants the church to be the church more than the church wants the church to be the church. So it’s Saturday. Take a Breath. Take a Breath, because in all likelihood your minister, right now, is trying to find a story or word to conclude a sermon he or she hopes you will hear tomorrow. Your minister is doing this because he or she thinks it matters. I think I’m saying what every minister around the country would like to say to his or her church while working on a Saturday and thinking about a Sunday. I could be wrong, of course, but I don’t think so.

 

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