Drama Queens can be fun and yet Church Drama Queens are exhausting. Those who clutch their pearls about the brand of furniture polish being used on the pews. Those who angrily obsess that the playground swings are too close to the cemetery fence. (“The children will be able to kick the top of the wrought iron if they pump hard enough!”) Those who complain that Chagall’s Sacrifice of Isaac is not appropriate for a bulletin cover on a baptism day even though the scripture lesson was Genesis 22 (and then keep talking about it for the next ten years.) Do I sound like I’m making up these examples? I am not.
Jesus wasn’t a pearl clutcher. Jesus was a life changer. And following Jesus brings dramatic change in our lives.
I’m not just talking about the former arsonist/meth addict who becomes a banker because he was saved during prison Bible-study. I’m talking about the person who sits next to you during the 9:30 service who clings to grudges and judges people who have made difficult decisions.
And – because Jesus brings dramatic change in our lives – we are called to encourage our congregations to be dramatically changed too. This involves those congregations making dramatic changes for the sake of Bringing Good News to the neighbors.
Not dramatic changes:
- Replacing the church signage.
- Ordering new hymnals.
- Painting the sanctuary “Gracious Greige” when the old color was “Agreeable Gray.” (Note: these are actual paint color names. And for a good time, sit in a church meeting when leaders are debating paint colors by their Benjamin Moore names.)
- Transforming underused classroom space for affordable studio apartments (because you’ve noticed that there aren’t many kids in church but there are quite a few people who need shelter.)
- Calling a pastor whose first language is not English (because you’ve noticed that there are quite a few Spanish-speaking businesses popping up around you.)
- Starting a gathering for the parents of non-binary kids (because the local guidance counselor tells you that those families have been kicked out of other churches and the parents need support.)
- Offering Birthday Parties for kids who never get invited to parties (because the principal was telling you the other day about Kids Who Don’t Get Invited to Parties- especially the immigrant kids and the special needs kids.)
- Tear down your mold-filled building with no elevator or sprinkler system and replace it with whatever space in needed for the new ministries you’ll be doing in 2025 (because your rolls are filled with people who no longer live in the neighborhood and they might not be alive in 2025 but all kinds of new folks are moving into the area who seem to need childcare, financial education, job training, grief support, Christian education, affordable meals, friends, tutoring, or all the above lovingly offered in the name of Jesus. Note: Don’t assume what the neighbors need. Ask.
Drama no. Dramatic yes. And to recap yesterday’s post:
Dramatic times call for dramatic changes. This is good news, friends.
But we have to be willing to want this. It has to be about what Jesus has taught us to be and do.
“How to pay for such things” you ask? If God is calling you to do ministry in new, dramatic ways the funds will come. It’s also possible that you’ve waited so long to do the dramatic, that God will call someone else to do it for you.