Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Departments (or boards) within your Church

Local churches are usually over organized and can’t flow with the stream, but here are a couple of must boards for every church in America that they never seem to have.
by Charlie Leck

While recuperating from this whole hip replacement surgery there is incredible amounts of time to think after one has gotten utterly tired of the news babble from CNN. It’s difficult to sit up for too long on this sore buttocks and it’s difficult to read when one is lying on one’s side or tummy. Therefore, one probably thinks a little too much. In the last day I’ve been thinking about America’s pastors and priests. I can testify, it’s a tough job.

I’ve been there, on those boards or committees in local churches – whatever it is that they call them… Board of Deacons, Board of Trustees, Committee on Christian Education, Foreign Missions Committee, Adult Education Committee, Tithing Club – and even the Softball and Bowling Committee.

What I’ve never been on is the Homelessness Committee or the Hunger in our Community Committee. Why not?

Too many of the committees in our local churches look inward at the health and welfare of the congregation and its facilities. All well and good, I suppose, but this misses the church’s real call to discipleship. Does it not?

It takes a pretty corrupt reading of the gospels to come away thinking that Jesus called us to form a giant institutional organization that would be capable of granting people salvation. Little alterations of the original scriptures by the early, institutional church might occasionally give that impression if one doesn’t read carefully.

The call of Jesus to his disciples – both the original ones and to us – is blatantly clear…

Love and forgive those who need to be touched by God’s love and mercy!

Feed those who are hungry and give drink to the thirsty!

Shelter those without homes!

Cloth those in need (the naked)!
Bring health, healing and relief to those who are ill and diseased.

Believe me, in terms of the vitals that Jesus expressed to us, this comes way out ahead of the Committee to Search for a New Choir Director.

I was lying there in bed yesterday afternoon, three-quarters on my belly, listening to one more blatant radio show. It was about homelessness and hunger in America. I’ll say it plain: There shouldn’t be such things in America. We call ourselves the greatest nation in the world. Hearing that there are so many people hungry and without shelter makes me think of Jesus – the real guy and not the one that the early church made up. A different radio is on out in the kitchen and it’s tuned to a different station. The familiar sounds of an Easter weekend hymn glide through the house.

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they laid him in the grave?”

Is this a cacophony? No, somehow, if you listen carefully, you can hear it growing and mellowing out into an extraordinary symphony with various parts of the orchestra playing back its own theme to the other parts

“On some nights,” the radio by my bedside is proclaiming, “there are as many as 3.5 million people homeless in America. In New York, alone, 37,000 people stay in homeless shelters every night.”

The sad, lonely voice rises from the kitchen radio: “Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.”

On a one night survey in January 2007, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that at least 671,888 people were living homeless. 58 percent of them spent the night in a shelter. 42 percent were unsheltered.

There is homelessness in surprising places. Idaho has one of the nation’s highest percentages of homelessness in relation to its population.

Veterans are more likely to be homeless than non-veterans!

Of course, health problems among the homeless are much higher and more significant than among the general population. The cost of treating the homeless is much higher by a staggering amount than treating the general population.

Minnesota Public Radio, in a one night count of the homeless in Minnesota in 2010 came up with a number that very nearly reached 10,000.

A Wilder Research Institute study reveals that about 8 percent of these homeless are over the age 55; and half of them had been homeless for more than a year; and 47 percent of them had spent some time in jail.

I hear the sounds emanating again in the kitchen

“Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
With royal feast of feasts, come its joy to render;
Comes to glad Jerusalem, who with true affection
Welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.”

That’s nice! To me, however, it’s not what’s important. Jesus rises in each of our hearts only so far as we understand and accept him. Never mind the “Easter egg decorating committee,” I want to know where the “Homelessness Committee” is meeting.


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  1. Nice article, thanks for the information.

  2. You hit the nail on the head. We are trying to get our church to come out of it's brick and mortar shell and into the community. Our new Pastor has gotten it in the neck for such thinking. We are still pursuing it - he is fluent in Spanish and I would like us to be a welcome place for the Hispanic community in the area. A few people are a little afraid and are digging in heels. We will see. I am hopeful. Lynn