playing church

Every year our church has a community carnival. We spend money. We charge nothing.

We have the big slidy things and free hotdogs and a dunk tank and games and facepainting and snow cones and popcorn.

We don’t take names. We completely waste the opportunity to send followup information or accept donations or anything that would make this look like a church event.

Instead, we let people see other people and have conversations while watching our visitation pastor try to ring the bell with the sledgehammer and some of our youth staff end up in the dunk tank.

I had someone ask me about it the other day, wondering why we aren’t proactive with the faith stuff.

Here’s what I said (sort of):

  1. It’s extravagant. Like God.
  2. Sometimes people need to have fun on church property without having to turn in their names or get hit for a contribution or listen quietly to a sermon.
  3. Jesus went to a wedding, turned water into wine, and didn’t preach at all. We’re only turning scoops of ice into snow cones, but the principle may be the same.
  4. The school kids who see their bus driver running carnival rides, the public school teachers who get to see kids from last year’s class and thank them for coming to the carnival, the mail carrier driving the train, the real estate agent serving hot dogs, and the hair stylist singing are getting to show love without being able to justify it by the number of pamphlets handed out. 

Do we have events where we preach and teach and accept donations? Absolutely. Without apology. Do we have one-on-one conversations that get pretty spiritual? Had several this week. But sometimes we just want to help people laugh. Together. Near a church building. Being served by the church.

About these ads

About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

4 thoughts on “playing church

  1. Wait, you don\’t even quote even one Bible verse, or pray with them, or make sure they\’re saved before you let them have a snow cone? What if they just come and have fun and go away not knowing about Jesus? Ahhh, my sarcasm runneth over. Sorry.

    From this small corner, you get a loud AMEN. And I disagree…I think you change a lot.

    Like

  2. Our church did this once to show the community we need our vast space so that it wouldn’t be claimed by eminent domain for use as a parking lot for the nearby hospital. We haven’t done one since. This was three years ago. Maybe four.

    Like

Comments are closed.