Next up are some fun moments of life in the ministry of a local church. You know, in some respects a Pastor would envy the itinerate evangelist’s ministry because he isn’t required to deal with the parishioners on a day to day basis. The evangelist arrives, preaches each day/night and meets and prays with the staff of the church, but for the most part is unplugged from the daily life situations of the congregation. The Pastor however is there for the long haul, daily involved in each member’s life as needed and experiences the happiness and the hurts; the real life and the good and goofy of people. It truly takes a special calling and isn’t for the faint of heart. Then there are times of levity and reward that seem to be God’s way of lightening the load and nodding approval of the Pastor’s call.
One friend of mine was at his first pastorate as a young man. His Associate Pastor always took the kids down front with the children’s sermon. The young Pastor always had a habit of popping a breath freshener into his mouth just before he preached. Not wanting to keep it in his pocket for some reason, He placed it on the corner of the communion table just in front of the pulpit, not in a wrapper, just loose on the table. During the children’s sermon a five year old little, well meaning girl decided to see how it tasted. So she picked it up, licked it and very gently and respectfully placed it back on the table for the Pastor. I’m sure she didn’t want her Pastor to go without it. He did see the smooth move however and avoided any disruption or embarrassment.
Then there are the church musicals at Christmas, Easter and other special occasions…ah, the joys of working with live performances. One in particular was in a Christmas musical. The scene was a family and the mother was to cut a chocolate cake while reciting her lines. The family was seated around the table and the mom was wearing a beautiful white sweater. God had physically blessed this sweet Christian lady and when she leaned over the chocolate cake and resumed her upright posture she emerged with 2 blotches of chocolate. Well the show must go on. She continued uninterrupted and probably unaware of the situation, reciting her lines perfectly. The actor/husband would later become a Pastor and he was trying desperately to hold it together as were his 2 close friends in the audience. That is a difficult thing to do, no matter how serious or spiritual the situation.
Each Christmas, Baptist churches raise money for the Lottie Moon missionary offering that supports international mission efforts. This particular year the Pastor decided to have a drama scene that would explain this outreach. So an elderly gentleman was chosen for the part of the grandfather and a young girl as the granddaughter who would listen as he explained what the Lottie Moon offering was all about. Now the Pastor was a very sophisticated man with a doctorate, but I must say he had a good sense of humor also. Well, as grandfather told the story from his rocking chair, the granddaughter listened intently, as did the congregation. The story takes you to China as Lottie Moon became the first Baptist missionary to China. Her wonderful life, ministry and tragic death blend to culminate in the reason Baptists contribute so generously to world mission evangelism outreach each year. Well grandfather got somewhat carried away and confused, his mind wandered to the presents under the tree and the sugar plums dancing in his head and he said, “So the reason we remember Lottie Moon is so all the little boys and girls can hear about Santa Claus.“ (Of course he was supposed to say `Jesus`.) We all thought the sophisticated Pastor was going to choke. His face turned a few different shades of interesting bright colors, but everyone survived and had a good laugh about it. We can’t take ourselves too seriously; and God certainly has a sense of humor too.