Idea of the Century
Every once in a while a subject comes up in our church council meeting that turns wise mature men of God into overly zealous self-appointed ‘experts’ who believe they have stumbled onto the church growth idea of the century. Such an idea came up in last week’s council meeting. The verdict is still out. I'll let you be the judge. The minutes from that unforgettable meeting will fill you in. (My wife prefers the word 'forgettable'.)
Fred: Pete, how can you call that idea original? Every other church on earth is on TV!
Pete: Sure, but they're all the same. 2 songs +18 ads + 30 minute sermon = 1 boring hour.
Percy: What else did you have in mind?
Pete: Ever watch a late night talk show? The host comes out, cracks a few jokes to warm up the audience. Or take CNN. We could do interviews with a few experts on your topic. Let’s say you’re preaching about Armageddon next Easter. You could have a big screen drop down over the organ. Artie here could report live from Megiddo. Each of us can trade off reporting live from Israel, Paris, Bahamas, Nashville and all those other places in the Bible.
Artie: How about a roving usher who meanders through the audience with a microphone?
Percy: Which will take two minutes! We have 70 people! And half that when football starts.
Hank: I like it. At key points in your sermon, the camera could break away to the interview.
Percy: Interview? What about the sermon?
Hank: What do you think the interview’s about? Ever seen a political convention speech? While the speaker keeps on talking in the background, the reporter interviews a delegate on what they think about the speech so far? Adds a lot of spice I think. And a little more spice is what you need Percy if you really want to ‘Go Big!’ And maybe a white leisure suit.
Pete: This will help you Percy! Once in a great while, you have a truly profound insight. I don't remember any. But whenever you do, the usher could cue the cameraman and the spotlight guy. That's when our roving usher steps in to say “So tell me Mrs. Poptart. What do you think of Pastor’s point? Did you know God cared so much about pots and pans?"
Percy: Pots? What’s your plan if she wants chapter and verse or likes paper plates? Or what
if our roving usher falls prey to Henrietta Bagby? She'd love nothing more than a moment in the spotlight. And there's nothing I fear more. The last thing she needs is an audience. And the last thing an audience needs is a testimony of how God healed her lama's goiter.
Fred: Loosen up Percy. Pete’s on to something. You say ‘Go Big or Go Home’ and now that we find a way to go big, you start acting like you'd rather stay in Mayberry. With Barney!
Percy: OK. I’ll listen. But we are not pulling the trigger on anything until I talk to my wife!
Hank: You know what that means? The safety’s never coming off this gun and the bullet is staying in Percy's shirt pocket until Jesus comes.back. So is this all we're ever gonna do? Talk big? Perfectly happy if we never actually ‘Go big'? Let's stop talking and walk the talk!
Fred: But to go big, we first gotta talk big. Until we actually believe it. Then we can walk the talk. Besides, we're just brainstorming. We’ll lay out our plans later. You never know. In all our ramblings tonight, we might just stumble on the idea of the century. Any other ideas?
Artie: How about a play-by-play announcer who whispers quietly during the service like they do in golf? “Well folks, a fresh wave of inspiration is floating through the room like a summer breeze". And then when the worship leader leads us in 'Blessed Assurance', I'll remark to Gus “A perfect song choice in this age of rampant terrorism. Don’t you agree?”
Pete: Wait! Gus the auctioneer? He whispers so loud, it wakes me before the sermon ends!
Hank: I think we need a pre-service show like they do when the president speaks. Gus says “So Jim, think Pastor Percy will finish his series on ‘Pots, Pans, Palmolive and You’?” Jim says “I don’t know Gus. It’s easy to bog down after 4 years in Leviticus. But then again he was pretty spunky at men’s breakfast. I think we'll see more of an attacker in the pulpit today.”
Pete: Which is what America needs! Another Billy Sunday! Hey! How about we put a bow on top and wrap this whole thing up in a way viewers can’t forget! After the sermon, I can give a response to the sermon. Like the opposing party does after a presidential speech.
Percy: I'm starting to think you don’t like my sermons Pete. Maybe you should preach and I'll do parking duty! No, Artie! We don't need a second on that. I didn't mean it. Delete it!
So what's the next agenda item? We’ll revisit this topic later. Maybe. So item #2. What can we do with that old cash register in the basement? We really don’t need it. Can we sell it?
Artie: I say put it on the communion table. As a reminder.
Percy: A reminder of what Artie?
Artie: That the offering is right after communion. That'll give them time to write checks.
Hank: That cash register is an antique. I could sell it and start a fund for a TV camera.
Fred: Put it in the foyer. The ladies can use it for the bake sale. Fundraiser for TV air time.
Percy: Not on my watch! A bake sale in the foyer will start WW3. I say we call it a night.
Pete: Agree. Gotta get home. Wolf Blitzer is gonna ride an ostrich on the late show.
Percy: But I thought your wife said you always watch ‘Revival Hour’ Sunday nights at ten.
Pete: Me? Watch a TV preacher? Who does that? I get all the preaching I need right here.
Artie: Now that's something we can all agree on for once. In fact, I think I'd watch the shopping channel on New Year’s Day before I'd ever watch a TV preacher in my free time.
Hank: Hey! I love the shopping channel! Where do you think we got the cash register?
So went the meeting and with it, the idea of the century. My wife couldn't be happier.