Today we had the second ever snow day of VCW. Maybe the third. Not bad for being in existence for three years here in Maine!
When I started, nothing was going to hinder a Sunday service. Nothing. I was going to be like the postman-pastor: not sleet, nor snow, etc. And our first year, I was extremely proud to be one of the only churches open on a Sunday. Good rep to have.
But I’ve grown.
Many Sundays I say when Jesus comes back on the white horse, his first question to you probably isn’t going to be “Did you have perfect Sunday attendence?” 🙂 So why was I holding that measure to myself?
Well for one, I wanted people to know that they could count on VCW being open. I guilted myself into thinking that I might screw up someone’s eternity because we shut our doors.
But that’s a bit hard on me, my family, and my team. We have people driving from 45-60 minutes in good weather to get here. If they were like me, I’d have driven through it all to get to church. Not always a wise decision.
Plus, in a church our size, most people are “on the team.” It used to be that I’d just go to church, sing some songs, hear a lesson, hang with people, and go home.
Now I know how much work goes into a service.
- The children’s time needs to be all planned out and materials ready if crafts are happening.
- The communion bread and juice need to be ready.
- Coffee and snacks too.
- Someone needs to get there early (in past winters it’s been me at 6 a.m.) to make sure the building’s warm and the walking area is cleared and de-iced. (I’ve even come to thinking of the sound the ice chipper tool clanging on ice and tar as a sort of 21st century equivalent to the monastic call to worship of banging on a log of wood!)
- The worship leader needs to have a worship set practiced and ready. And get to church in time for the sound check and warm up.
- The sound board person needs to be there to make sure the recording and audio levels are set and that the powerpoints are ready; the songs up on the computer for projection; and any videos I want for the sermon are loaded.
- I have to prep for the sermon and make sure the powerpoint announcements are up-to-date and ready to go. As well as have something for eyes to see while I preach.
- And the team is often listening in to God throughout the whole service. Asking,
- “What are you doing Lord?”
- “Is this technical difficulty human error or spiritual attack?”
- “Did that person just bring in confusion and how do I neutralize it?”
- “That other person seems down. Would they prefer to be left alone or should I pray for them?”
- “Has that visitor been greeted? Or our we weirding them out with our friendliness?”
- The offering needs collecting, counting, signing off on, and storing.
- Numbers of people need counting.
- Trash needs taking out and the building needs locking up.
- And there there’s all the Sunday afternoon church stuff: entering counts into our records, adding visitors to the database, entering the offering and preparing the deposit, updating web sites and podcasts.
The day is full. And wonderful. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
But a snow day feels like a wonderful break for me and the team.
My family had a wonderful no-TV morning. Made wassail and popcorn balls. Played UNO. Did a jigsaw puzzle. Read. Right now there’s a fire in the fireplace.
Life is good.
It’s nice to not be bound by the legalism that held me in my first year. It did try nip at my heels last night and today when the snow wasn’t as much as we’d expected. And someone said they were surprised that we’d canceled. That fed into my firstborn-perfectionistic-legalism! I even (foolishly) found myself praying for the biggest nor-easter in decades just to prove I’d made a good decision. (God had me laughing at myself before I could even finish that one!)
But despite that, I enjoyed today. And God’s ok with that. 🙂
And I’m really looking forward to church next Sunday!!