I entered the sanctuary of the church where we were worshipping expecting a wonderful All Saints Sunday and found instead a Kitchen Sink Sunday that opened with announcements from the council member of the day reminding the congregation of a meeting to be held after the service, then a 15 minute, well-done, Power Point presentation on giving for this was Stewardship Sunday, announcements from the Pastor as the window coverings that allowed the presentation to be viewed were removed from the windows, a choral prelude and then the service started. Over an hour and a half after the first set of announcements, the service ended, the pastor greeted the guests, and the congregational meeting started. At least I think it started because we left before the meeting.
I exited shaking my head because Kitchen Sink Sundays, when we try to do so much at one service, do a disservice to each of the themes. In talking to my wife, I discovered that it bothered me much more than it bothered her. She mumbled something about how I always find something wrong. In my defense, I reminded her that I was even harder on myself looking for ways to make a service more effective when I was pastor because I feel that congregational ministry deserves our best. She nodded her head in total agreement. The pastor in me remembered how important All Saints Sunday, Stewardship Sunday and congregational leadership were.
The announcement about the congregational meeting was disturbing because the congregation did not have enough candidates to fill the needed vacancies on their governing body. I thought about it a number of times afterward wondering why this was true?
I believe strongly in stewardship and always wanted a superb effort so this important message could speak to all. Stewardship Sunday deserves a stewardship sermon and petitions in the prayer concerning stewardship, both of which were missing.
Part of my disappointment stemmed from All Saints Day worship experiences over the years that have created moving and meaningful moments. My expectations and hopes definitely got in the way. The other activities lessened the emphasis of All Saints in spite of an excellent sermon.
In the end, nothing flowed together. The congregational meeting started and finished the service. The service tried to intertwine two separate acts, but failed to tie them together. As a result, I left thinking how three wonderful opportunities were missed rather than thinking how God came to me and helped me to be a saint or how God’s grace is so significant that we need to respond with our time, talent and money–including leadership.
I read an article last week about multi-tasking and the conclusion of the study was that multi-taking reduces the quality of the work on any one task. I felt the same way after the service and I was not a part of the congregational meeting.
Part of me is always asking how we as churches can be more effective in getting the good news into the lives of all people. I do not want God’s message watered down. Congregational ministry deserves our best, so despite the temptation to do everything when we have people gathered in one place, perhaps it is best if pick one and focus on doing it as well as possible.