WORDS FROM W.W. July 29, 2009
“The Thrill of Being Pied”
Years ago I remember people lining up, paying a quarter, and getting three chances to throw a baseball and hit a target. And if they hit the target the high school principal, or football coach, or band director, got plopped into the water of the dunk tank. I don’t know how much money the school booster club made at the whole carnival experience, but at least half of it had to have come from the dunk tank. There was a heightened sense of glee over seeing an adult take the plunge.
Why? Because it had been deemed “okay.” If you threw a water balloon at the same person causing a fraction of the drenching you would have been suspended from school, decked, or charged with assault. BUT…put someone in a carnival dunk tank and say it’s okay…and the fun begins!
I don’t fully understand it, but I remember throwing that baseball with all my might to knock Mr. Camp off his perch.
This week has been day camp week at my church. We’ve been emphasizing perseverance and persistence as they relate to faith and Jesus. As a day of supporting the theme we challenged the campers to bring their pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters and putting them in a big plastic water bottle. The money collected would be used to help feed impoverished families in different places around the world that the mission organization, VisionTrust International, was working with.
And then we decided (because I don’t think it was my idea!) to tell the campers that if they collected at least $150 I would get a pie in the face. We told them that the first day of day camp on Monday. Tuesday morning a number of these boys and girls arrive with BAGS of coins. By Wednesday my face was “pie-bound”. For an added incentive I said for everyone $50 over $150 I would take another pie in the face.
What can I say? I got lost in the moment!
This morning when they arrived I knew I was “doubly-pied!” One young boy named Darien brought $45 in change! He was beyond excited. He was shaking in delight!
These kids brought enough money to feed 13 families for a week in some of the poorest areas of the world. Kids! And to do it while getting to see a pastor’s face get “creamed” was satisfying in a number of ways. Perhaps some of them wanted to see the pie face a little bit too much, but they also knew that some children their own age were going to be able to go to bed not on an empty stomach.
I suggested perhaps doing a similar project with my congregation. I wonder how much we could increase our mission-giving if I’d take a pie once in a while? It could be the solution to the mission funding crisis of the American Baptist Churches. Not just me taking a pie in the face, but all the pastors of all of our denomination’s churches.
Like the dunk tank picture, there’s just something about a “moment of splat” that causes people to give.
Go figure. Excuse me while I lick my fingers.