WORDS FROM W.W. April 28, 2011
I’m a fun-loving person. Some may even classify me as a fun-loving pastor. Rarely, however, do I link in my mind church and having fun. That may be because I’m a professional clergy leader, or it may be because I’ve bought into what our culture has fed us about what church is and isn’t.
The Bible is filled with images of a holy God, and people with long beards and staffs. We have curtain protocol in Leviticus, and sacrificial procedures in several Old Testament books. But, let’s be honest! Having fun is not a dominate scriptural theme. It isn’t the purpose of the Story. Scripture is more about the broken relationship, and the mending of the broken relationship.
The question is can we can fun while still keeping the Story at the core of our purpose? Can we laugh, as well as cry?
Sometimes it seems that it’s okay for our young people and children to have fun, but once you cross that high school graduation platform you arrive at “the other side.” Time to sit around in a circle and drink green tea, or, as you age, black coffee.
Seriously, I remember a lot of “fun moments” when I was a youth director. I remember doing “turkey bowling” in the gym, and something we called “The Un-Prom Progressive Dinner.” I remember playing hide-and-go-seek at the youth New Year’s Eve Lock-In; and “Get Dirty Night” in the church parking lot, complete with a fire truck to hose down the unrecognizable participants.
And I’m sure the kids at our church’s day camp had a great time as they watched me get a Mohawk that was then died blue! (I’m neutral on the “fun-meter” for that one.)
When we think “fun for adults”, however, the church rarely gets put in the picture. Maybe it’s because we deal with tragedy too much; and the stress of life saps us of joy. Or maybe it’s because we get too busy for fun.
What might “fun” look like? Is it okay for adults to have shaving cream fights in the parking lot? How about a dunk tank? We wouldn’t even have to rent one. We already have the baptistry! How about a “Progressively Hotter Dinner”? Start with some mild dishes and gradually work our way down the road to something that will blow your socks off! Why don’t we have more movie and popcorn nights in the sanctuary? How about “non-contact roller derby night” in the gym? How might “Get a Pedicure Night” go over? Or “Shave a Head Night” where people would give money to see certain individuals get the bald look?
We get too serious as the church. Life is messy most of the time, and we need each other to make the journey tolerable much of the time. But just as inhaling is naturally followed by exhaling, the serious nature of life needs to be partnered with the light nature.
So, lighten up at times, Church! Get creative! Who is up for “Shrimp Dip Night”, followed by a rousing game of Limbo?