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May 09, 2005

Priorities in Christian Ministries

It was the week before Super Bowl Sunday and I was eating lunch in the TV room when I over heard a couple of other seminary students talking about how crowded it would be for the Super Bowl. I thought that was a bit odd, since the game was during church, and this was...well...seminary. Anyway, I have an irresistible drive for practical jokes, so I grabbed a poster board and a pen and made this really nice looking poster that read:

This TV reserved Sunday,
January 27th
for video series
“Priorities in
Christian Ministries”

So, I waited to watch the reaction.

Some guys just chuckled. I don't know whether they got that it was a joke, or just anticipated the response others would have. Some guys got mad.

“I don't think so!” one seminarian blurted out angrily, and stomped out of the TV room to talk to someone in charge.

I'd already told the dorm director. He thought it was a funny joke. My guess is that he left the complainers hanging with some kind of non-committal response so the joke could drag on a little longer.

The sign lasted about two days before someone tore it down.

The big surprise to me was how dense some guys were about the point of the sign. It was seminary, for crying out loud, and they just assumed no one would question their right to miss church and watch the Super Bowl.

What made me think about this is a program our church has going right now, trying to raise money for more education space. We just built a new sanctuary — a really big one that has lots of empty seat on even the most crowded Sundays. The old sanctuary was divided into class rooms — two floors of class rooms. Most of which sit empty during Sunday School. But we're still raising money to build room for more Sunday School classes

My wife tells me it's in anticipation for revival.

Yeah, I don't' get it either.

What I also don't get is why we have so little time for Sunday School. We moved to two Sunday School hours, but in order to “accomodate” everyone (translation: let them out in time to beat the Methodists to Kentucky Fried Chicken) the time for Sunday School was cut back. The first one is supposed to meet at 8:15am, but really doesn't get started until about 8:30ish because most Baptists think “begin” means “begin to start wandering in”. So that leaves us with 45 minutes for announcements and the lesson. The second Sunday School starts whenever the main service gets out and people manage to make their way over from the sanctuary, which can be anywhere from 11:00 to 11:20am. But, has to end promptly at noon.

My wife teaches in the second Sunday School, and I hate the idea of her missing, so the kids and I go to both Sunday Schools, so she can go to the first, and teach in the second.

Neither Sunday School class has enough time. Every Sunday, in both classes we wind up glancing at the clock, trying to squeeze in the rest of the lesson when it seems we've barely gotten started. Plenty of empty rooms, not enough time and where is the priority? Build more space!

No, I still don't get it.

I've seen some really bad Sunday School teachers in my day, and one thing about my church is that we have some really good ones. Which, in all honesty, is kinda rare. More often than not you get some guy that reads, verbatim, from the quarterly then fills most of the rest of the time on some “illustration” from work, so full of jargon that by the time he gets to the point everyone has drifted off. He ends by asking if there are any questions. But since hardly any of the class even remember what the lesson was about they just stare at their hands, or the wall...anything to avoid eye contact with the teacher.

Both the Sunday School classes I go to have lots of participation, discussion, back-and-forth, with the teacher really only doing just a part of the talking. It's great. The only problem is, it ends way, way too quickly. It would be so much better if we had an extra half an hour. But we're raising money for more classrooms, and leaving the time frame just as it is.

Priorities in Christian Ministries.

...and I made that title up originally as a joke.

Posted by Danny Carlton at May 9, 2005 03:12 PM

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It's funny in a sad way; because this is so true! Prioritizing is hard work for everyone, but as a church certain rules is a given, one should think!

Posted by: anneberit at May 15, 2005 05:27 PM

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