Thursday, January 24, 2008

That's What It's All About

I was sitting in the waiting room at the clinic for a Hepatitis B booster shot. This is in preparation for the trip to Russia. It was 8:15. The waiting room was about half full for others who had the 8:30 appointment like me. I'm not sure how so many people can have an appointment at the same time. There were more in the waiting room than the number of doctors in the clinic. I guess this is similar to the airlines when they overbook seats.

In one corner was a guy about my age dressed in a suit and reading a book. A few seats away was an older fellow. Turns out that the young guy was a sales representative for a drug company. The old man recognizes the book the younger guy is reading and strikes up a conversation. Both have been in the Bible Study Fellowship for many years and the discussion goes on a while about that. Then they begin talking about their churches...I won't mention the churches but will say that I'm ashamed that we share the same denomination.

The younger guy's supervisor goes to the older guys church and they start comparing things. Each one seems to want to "one up" the other. Before long they have covered the topics of attendance, gymnasiums, children's facilities, and budgets. I guess all of that is OK except when they talked about funding missions. Both churches give 6% to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. They used to give much more but in recent years have scaled back on CP Missions in order to fund mission trips and projects within the church. The older man suggested that his church reduced their giving because the mission boards didn't spend the money the way his church thought they should. The younger man agreed.

The older man thought 6% was generous because "6% of a $6 million budget is a lot of money." Members of Cross Road should be pleased to know that the most recent budget for our church included an increase of 1% to CP Missions. That amounts to about $1,000 more in 2008 than in 2007. By the way, 2007's budget also contained a 1% increase to CP Missions. Plus we set aside money for local missions and mission trips above that. Plus we have given larger missions offerings the past 2 years than at any time before.

I'm glad to tell folks that CRBC is mission-minded. We prove it by praying, giving, and going. And we are doing more of each than ever before at a time when others are scaling back in some areas. Preachers can get dreamy-eyed and wish they were the pastor of such-n-such church but I'm glad to pastor your church because you've got your mind on what is really important.

The men went back to talking about the success of their basketball programs. One does Upward Basketball and one has an in-house league for children. Both said that through these leagues they were able to attract kids and then get their families coming. The older gentleman said, "When parents step into the entry to our children's department and see what we have, I don't know why they would want to go anywhere else."

"That's what it all about," the younger one said.

They never talked about Jesus or sharing the gospel or helping people mature spiritually. From their conversation one could assess, fairly or unfairly, that they think church is about attendance, buildings, and money.

I've always thought church was about Jesus.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


"I am resolved no longer to linger..." These are the words to a Christian hymn that tells of a desire to flee the world and cling to God, to do his will. The word "linger" is a problem for me.
I piddle too much. Maybe you know how it is? "OK," I tell myself, "just one game of Hearts on the computer and then I'll get back to studying." "I'll quickly scan the news (paper and sites) then I'll move on." "Just one episode of Deal or No Deal and I'll be done."
I'm usually trying to meet deadlines at the last minute. I would much rather complete my tasks early and then have time for piddling. It just doesn't come easy for me even though I love the work I do and the preparation necessary for it.
So, a week and a half into the new year I'm making a resolution: I am resolved no longer to linger.