Crazy With the Mennonites

WORDS FROM W.W. February 15, 2012
Last Sunday was our neighborhood pastors pulpit exchange Sunday. Five churches in our neighborhood exchange pastors. You can call it “Pastor Swap” if you want to! We’ve done it for six years on a Sunday in either January or February. We’ve threatened to do it more often!
“If you all don’t shape up we’re going to call in the Baptist pastor, and you know how long his sermons are!”
This year was my second time to visit Beth-El Mennonite Church, and we had a great time! Correction! I had a great time. I can’t speak for them. My Mennonite seminary professor, Dr. David Augsburger, would have made sure I was not assuming something that might not be true.
Okay! Some of them told me they had a good time! Of course, what do you say to the visiting pastor of another church after the service? “Thank God, we won’t have to see you for another four years!”
The great thing about pulpit exchange Sunday is that you get reminded that there are other people who are invested in the Kingdom, not just your own congregation. You also see some things happening that can be done in your own congregation. You have people praying for you that desire for you to be used for the Kingdom of God.
You find out that there are people at Beth-El who watch the insides of their eyelids just like there are in your own congregation. You find that they sing the same kind of songs, and that they have people with the same kind of bad coffee breath at the end of the fellowship time as your own congregation does.
You learn that they have people with a wide assortment of clothing attire just like us- from blue jeans to out-of-date three-piece suits; from women’s slacks to prom dresses (Okay, maybe a step more rational than a prom dress).
You learn that they have someone who is a little slow on getting the next song slide up just like we do.
You learn that they have people who love Jesus just like our church does; and that they also have people who are wondering about Jesus just like we do.
It’s nice to know that the whole world hasn’t been put on the shoulders of one church, even though we sometimes live like we’re the only place of worship in town.
Looked my time there! In fact, some Sunday I’m just going to take off from preaching at Highland Park Baptist and I’m just going to go back to Beth-El to worship with the people. It’s something that pastors don’t do very often. We sometimes think that “no one can bring Jesus like we can.”
Jesus has been “brought” many times. Now it may be more about him being “sought.”

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