John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for October 10, 2021

PRIORITIES, OR THE LACK THEREOF

It's not that I wasn't already prepared for the results from today's activities at Church. If you read yesterday's grumblings and concerns, you would have noted that I was very, very apprehensive about the outcome of the services and time spent at church. Well, it seems my intuitions were spot on.

Last year, on October 11, we had the lowest attendance since my arrival as Pastor of the church and the second lowest ever recorded. We had over thirty-five regulars out of town and a few who were either sick, recovering from surgery or with a family member in such a condition. Well, today we had the third lowest of my tenure and the fifth lowest ever recorded. Thirty-one regulars were not present, many out of town and a few not doing well or sick. There were approximately nine or ten unaccounted for as of yet, but I am sure I will hear an excuse or two before the day is out.

I have come to believe that ever since I came to the church and have always taken the middle of October off for one or two weeks that it has been engrained into most of the folks that it is a good time to go, if for no other reason that the beauty of the Fall foliage, the uncrowded roads and highways, smaller crowds at all the vacationers venues like Disney World and other amusement and theme parks around the country. You know, the kids are in school and the parents have to stay home with them, so it affords grandparents and other "old" folks the opportunities to get into places without too much of a wait or having to deal with large lines and crowds.

So, more and more from the church seem to go out of town this time of the year and that produces two problems for us. First, if everyone goes at the same time why have church services? Oh, sure there will always be ten to twenty people show up, but that gets one into the place of thinking "why bother?" The second reason is that if everyone goes at the same time as the Preacher, why call in a guest preacher for just ten to twenty folks? Just cancel the services for that Sunday.

On the second reason, I have to say that it is truly embarrassing to have a guest preacher come in to speak to such a low turnout. He may think that this church is dying or dead and wonder what keeps me there. Not that I should care what they thin, but it is a reflection of the Pastor's work, one way or another. That will be the case the next two weeks as I have different speakers for lined up to fill in for me. Next week, I know for sure, that Lindsey Poteat will see not that many more folks as I saw today. Remember when I have said in the past that people, other than Pastors. go on vacation for a week of nine days? That is they are gone two Saturdays, two Sundays and once each of the other five days in the week? Well If I were to do that that would count for two weeks of vacation, because two Sundays is two weeks as we pay guest speakers for when I am gone. The other days do not need fill-ins. So, I take my nine days from Thursday of one week through Friday of the next week. Or, Friday through to the following Saturday. This year I am taking two weeks together as I was not able to get out of town for my second vacation of the year last August.

So Lindsey will come in and speak to about 30 folks and if ten to twelve are in their vehicles (since we are still broadcasting to those practicing the social distancing and worshipping from their cars), it would look like an empty storehouse in the sanctuary next week. Everybody is counted, but it is the look of things that concerns me.

The following Sunday Clyde Alderman will be speaking and whereas he is a one-time former Interim Pastor there, he is having some minor physical ailments and is a soft-spoken speaker and many can't hear him and think he is not dynamic enough. Clyde is a great guy, but many will see his visit as a chance to skip the service altogether or maybe go out of town for the weekend.

I serve a Church where half of the folks travel at least on average of once a month. When the church was a little larger and we were averaging in the 70's there would be those Sundays when as many as thirty would be gone at the same time. We have had those times when several families or couples would get on a bus for the Amish Country and see the plays near Hershey and we wouldn't have enough deacons present to serve the Lord's Supper.

I have said on numerous occasions that we should rename Windsor Baptist to "The Church of the Travelling Saints" or use the mantra "The Church that meets in many places at once."

You know, it is not that our church is complacent or is just hit-and-miss. It is a church full of people who don't like to stay home or in town except when necessary. I guess you could say our folks think it is necessary to stay around home during the work week, but on the weekends they gotta get out of town. It's about priorities and its about consideration.

When folks put their vacations ahead of church attendance, and thereby don't even attend a service while out of town, then their priorities are such that worship is less than important than the vacation itself. But I am concerned more about the ones (and there are a good number) who just wake up on a Sunday morning and don't feel like attending church. It's more like - the alarm goes off and they sit up and say "What day is it?" "Sunday" Oh, I think I will just sleep in today. I knew of a woman who actually wrote down a list of excuses to get out of things that just didn't interest her and that list, quite extensive, was always used when needing an answer to someone's statement: "We missed you in Church Sunday." The funny thing about it, she had so many excuses written down that I don't think I heard a single repeat in the four years I was with the church. Granted I didn't always talk to her each week, but she always had a different reason each time I did. I remember one time her excuse was that she rolled her hair that morning and it didn't curl just right so she thought it would be a distraction to me and the church. Another time she said her cat was up under the hood of her car and slept there all night to keep warm and she was afraid he would get stuck and she would cut him to pieces with the engine fan. I am not kidding!!!

Excusers are losers, plan and simple. For the love of the Lord just tell me you didn't want to go and leave it at that. Don't make excuses, just say going today would have been a colossal waste of my time, or that you wanted to see the NASCAR race that was beginning at 11:00 instead of 1 PM. Tell me the darned truth or tell me nothing at all. Just quit looking for a reason that is not true and makes you think you are getting sympathy from me or, even better, that you would be lulled into thinking that your conscious won't bother you with an excuse. Your conscious should sear right through your brain for telling a lie as an excuse than just the plain truth. "Preacher, I think your sermons are like smelling dung on a hot summer morning. I didn't want to hear you today."

Now wouldn't that make you feel better than lying?

Yes, today was a bummer. It rained this morning in and around the town (although I don't think we had more than 1-one hundredth of an inch of rain when many places had as much as 3 inches). Wouldn't you know it, the rain stopped about thirty minutes before the service started, but just late enough to give a few folks reason to not journey out. It is true, we are like many other churches in that we have some folks who think they are made of sugar and they might melt if they get wet. I have a woman in the church who might melt, but not because she is made of sugar. "I'm melting, I'm melting" so says the Wicked Witch of the West. I think every church has one or two those and they are the ones many pastors hope would stay home.

I am glad this day and the two hours spent at church didn't take away my sense of humor, as is evident from a few of the words I post here. But I am tell you, I need to get away. But I have to take my mind and heart with me too. Far too many times I call someone around 3:00 or later in the day to check on the attendance and if anything went wrong so I can correct it when I get back. I have been told by a few not to call them because I am on vacation and I don't need to worry about the church while gone. Those are the folks I am thankful for as they remind me, in a subtle way that no one else worries about the church when they are gone and I am not being paid to worry about it while I am gone either. So, please pray that I do take my mind and heart with me because I ought to be too busy to worry about how many are there, or even if we had more than the guest preacher, his wife and the person to introduce him present.

I am three-and-a-half days from leaving for Ohio and, people, I need the break. I know that when I return there will be a hundred things waiting for me to look into that didn't get taken care of while I was ought. That is the plight of the small church pastor who has not staff to carry the weight while gone. But, I will be spending the next three days getting ahead so that the work won't be too burdensome when I return.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the offerings were good for the very bad attendance. But that is because we do have some very considerate people who mail in or drop off their offerings before venturing out of town, the rest sometimes make up and sometimes, like not attending church elsewhere when they are gone, they just miss everything. It is about priorities!

Blog for October 9 Blog for October 11

Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.