Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Boogety, Boogety, Let's Go Racing"

Remember when this preacher was trying to visualize a race car with our church's name emblazoned on the side? Remember when I described the idea as surreal? Well sir, it's real.
Last week was Wayne's birthday. Wayne, you may recall, is a new attender at our church who just happens to race "pro 4" trucks similar to those seen in the Nascar Craftsman Series. It was Wayne who first approached the idea of "Bible Baptist Fellowship" advertised on his truck as he whizzed around Shadybowl Speedway.
Anyway, last weekend our church gathered for our first official "church night at the track" to celebrate Wayne's birthday and cheer him on. As things sometimes work out in racing, the evening did not go as planned. A carburetor problem kept him from racing. No one was more disappointed than Wayne.
"I wanted to surprise you," he said, and then revealed what he had been planning all along. Unknown to me, Wayne had the name of our church stenciled on the back quarter panels of his racing truck. And on the rear gate, the words stood out, "" Amazing.
How many churches do you know with their own racing team? How many churches care to try?
One of our church families discussed the significance of the evening as they drove home. "Wayne may not fully understand the significance of tonight," one member said, "But now he knows he has a church that cares for him and will be there to support him, even if he doesn't drive."
Exactly. And that's the way we hope to reach Wayne, his family and all the other families like his with the gospel. Someone has to care. Someone has to try. Someone has to go after a part of the culture no one else is reaching through a local church. That's what it's all about. "So reach up there, pull that belt tight one more time, and let's go racing, boys."

Monday, July 12, 2010

What Do We Do When the Roof Changes?

Sooner than we ever imagined, some day, our roof is going to change. Retirement will set in and I will no longer be the pastor. Preacher, yes - pastor, no. Retirement may also mean a change in housing. The preacher's roof will change literally. We may be downsizing to a property more in line with what age and physical abilities will allow us to maintain. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge expansion in condominium construction. Condos appear to be the house of choice for the future.
Retirement also means changing churches. I'm not the first preacher to imagine that somehow I could retire quietly to the back row of my church and let some young kid take over "my" church, but honestly, I hope I have better sense. I hope I am wise and considerate enough of the next pastor to get out of his way - far out of his way - and let him do his job without fear that I'm looking over his shoulder. I've had that experience and I don't intend to inflict it or myself on someone else. I can count on two fingers the total number of pastors I know who have successfully remained with their churches in retirement.
Yes, the next man will make mistakes, just as we all have. Yes, he will make changes. He must. He is not the same person as the pastor he follows. Yes, he will take the church in a different direction. But as long as the new direction is still biblically sound, that's his business, not mine. There is only one thing I could hope for as I anticipate retirement some day - that my church lasts longer than I do. After that, my job is done.