On snow days

0205050836.jpgOur weather in Fort Wayne hasn’t been as extreme as the weather faced by friends in the Northeast United States. We have, however, had to make decisions about cancellations this month. Here are some reflections about the process:

1. We try never to say that we are “canceling church”. Instead, we say things like “We are canceling services at the church building”  or “there will be no gatherings at the church building.” I understand that sounds clumsy. But if church is the people rather than the facility, then snow cannot cancel the people.

2. On a Sunday afternoon as I drove in freezing slush toward the church building, we were discussing what to do about classes for 7th-12th graders. I started thinking,  “Is what I am teaching worth having young drivers risk accidents because of icy roads? If not, shouldn’t it be?”

Here’s what I mean: In a series on Hearing God’s Voice there should be some intensity and danger. Many people who have heard God’s voice have ended up in very dangerous situations. Others have created problems by blaming God for saying things that actually weren’t said.   The content in my class can have implications.

We canceled the classes. It was too risky for 17-year-old drivers. But I’m still weighing the question.

3. Do we mention missed offerings? It is possible to think that if we don’t gather on Sunday, there isn’t a need to pay the fee-for-service or to leave a tip. But much of the impact we have happens during the 165 hours a week when there isn’t a way to give.

4. Older people who struggle to drive on dry pavement often feel like they have to come to church on ice unless we say that we aren’t meeting. It’s like we are offering grace that they sometimes can’t offer themselves.


3 thoughts on “On snow days

  1. Rich Dixon

    I love your question…”Is what I’m teaching, and the way I’m teaching it, worth showing up to hear?”

    It’s a question we should ask EVERY class, EVERY sermon. Folks don’t owe us their attendance or attention. We own them our best effort to challenge and inspire.


    1. Elaine Stauss

      The delivery and content are the teachers responsibility but only to the best of their ability. The Holy Spirit’s knowledge is what is being delivered to teach each listener. And He aids in the content and delivery.
      Each person who hears has responsibility for their hearing and response. They need to depend on the Holy Spirit to give understanding and quicken their hearts to learn and respond accordingly. The teacher , thus, is the physical means for the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
      Therefore, yes , what the teacher has to say definitely is worth hearing and vital ministry happens.
      I have always found your teaching, Jon, to be thus and again, thank you!


    2. Jon Swanson

      and even in those moment where we may “owe” God our attendance, we who are speaking also “owe” God our engagement. But it becomes really easy to focus on producing something rather than engaging lives. Thanks for pushing me.


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