Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Paris Wife

I have begun to read a new book, The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain.

The Preacher and I went to Las Vegas, Nevada, a few years back for vacation. We stayed in the Paris Hotel. While on our flight to Las Vegas I began reading Ernest Hemingway's book, A Movable Feast. It takes place in Paris in the early 1920's, where he and his wife Hadley live with their son Bumby. It talks about Hemingway's life and how he and his wife lived large on $5.00 a day. 

"This is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy,"                                                                                         - Ernest Hemingway
The Preacher had read the book previously but I had not. In our early days of marriage we visited book stores every chance we got. We seemed to find so many books on their 'discount' table. It was our way of finding cheap entertainment during our financial lean years. We read a lot of Hemingway's books at that time.

Between reading Hemingway and staying at a hotel called the Paris, I became a little fascinated by Paris.  I would love to see it some day. I guess it's on the "bucket list". But reading about Paris in the '20's became very romantic to me. Everyone seemed carefree with quaint sidewalk cafes and walking in beautiful parks.

Since reading A Movable Feast, I have read a biography on Scott Fitzgerald's wife Zelda, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Hemingway met Fitzgerald in Paris and he talks about him in his book.

So after reading about Zelda, I had to find something on Hadley. I know the ending of their life as a married couple but I wanted to know more about her. So while visiting a book store a few weeks ago, I found this book on one of the tables that was highlighting some biography type books. I knew immediately who it was about and told the Preacher that I was going to buy it right then and there.I couldn't wait to go home, find it on Amazon, and then wait a few days for it to be shipped. 

So I have begun reading about Hadley, I only have gotten a few chapters in but I am captivated by her already. She's a timid, frail, 28 year old girl who believes love may pass her by in her life, but then she meets Ernest and life changes. 

Sometimes the best love stories are the real stories of life.



Friday, February 13, 2015

Part 2 of What A First-Time Guest Can Expect At The Church Of The Preacher And I

In my last post I explained that I had seen an article about the "Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guest". I decided to answer the top ten by looking at our church located here in rural Colorado.

I began with the top five and in this post I will be looking at the final five.

6. Poor Signage. Not only are we, what some would consider, small in numbers, but our building is also small. In fact, we are looking at expanding. Therefore, it is somewhat easy to find all of our various classrooms, kitchen, etc., but we have placed signs in the various main areas to help guest find their way around the building.

7. Insider Church language. The author of the article used this example, "The WMU will meet in the CLC in the room where the GA's usually meet." I agree, this is bad. We don't have that many classrooms so they are not named other than maybe the Nursery. I think the only abbreviation we use is YCC when we refer to our name. Other than that I can not think of another one. Now maybe we can get a little Christianeze with some words but all in all I think we do try to be understanding of our guest or even new Christians.

8. Boring and bad service. If you ever come to one of our services, I don't think you'll classify it as boring. On the contrary! Our worship leader does an amazing job at leading us into a worship time through music that just makes you feel God's grace. And then the Preacher, well he can get so excited sometimes while preaching that you want to be sure to not miss a thing. I have always told him that he can explain the scriptures better than anyone I know. He has a way of making them more real and so much more relevant for your life at the place that you are right now.

9. Members telling guest that they were in their seat or pew. This is terrible if this truly has happened! Granted we have members who gravitate to the same seat/row every Sunday morning, but if they are late and someone has gotten there before them, never have I seen anyone in our church tell someone that they have to move! No, they just find another seat/row to sit in and are very content where they are sitting that day. Every seat in the house is a good seat. You're not going to miss anything.

10. Dirty facilities. Our building is an old building and at first glance you may think that it will not be a comfortable place to worship. We try hard to make sure our church is clean and ready to go before every service or any activity that is taking place here. We have a lady who takes pride in cleaning the church and she is very careful to come early on the days there may be an activity that evening. But, one of the complaints in this survey was the cleanliness of the pews and how there were stains on them. Yes, we do have some chairs that have stains and we have discussed having someone come in to clean them. There will always be spills and accidents made either by children or adults (especially when we invite you to bring your coffee back in to the worship area). I think when the members help with some of the clean up, either after a service or an activity, it goes a long way in showing our guest that we do take pride in our facilities and we treat it as if it were our own home.

Have you been a guest at one of our services? If so, I would love to hear what you thought. Good or bad, it will help us to strive to be better. We do want our church to be a comfortable, loving, safe place to be.

Love from the Preacher and I


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What A First-Time Guest Can Expect At The Church Of The Preacher and I


Recently I have seen an article that is going around on Facebook titled " Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests". 

Some would classify our church as a small church, but when you're looking at rural America, I think our church would be classified as a medium attended church. We run around 75-100 people any given Sunday. So I read it from the perspective of a church of our size.

I thought I'd talk about each one and give an answer to each as if it were our church here in rural Colorado.  

1. Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service. Rarely do we ask people to stand up and greet each other. Juan, our Worship Leader, may ask people to do this but like I said it is not our norm. I fully understand how this could make people very uncomfortable. I too, have been in churches where this is practiced and it makes me very nervous, but the Preacher, he doesn't mind at all. We have a HeBrews station where we offer coffee, water and pastries and at "half time", the time between the worship service and the message, we break for 5-10 minutes and everyone is invited to go back get some drinks and food and in the process people stop and greet one another. It is such a beautiful time for the people that sometimes it is hard for the Preacher to get everyone back in their seats for his message, but he sees it as a sacred time as well.

2. Unfriendly church members. I have to tell you, in my opinion, our church is the friendliest church I know. This is one of the things that we have been complimented on, that we are a very friendly church. I feel like our people really do want to get to know our guest. When they greet them there is more conversation going on than just a "Hi, how are you." They ask questions and really try to make them feel welcome.

3. Unsafe and unclean children's area. This is something that we are always working on. We do want to have a place for the parent's to take their children that is safe and clean. Our Nursery and Children's Church Ministry Leaders make every effort to have the best facilities that we can possibly have.

4. No place to get information. In the back of our worship area, back by the HeBrews station, is where we keep our brochures. Every week we have a bulletin that is handed out to each person by our greeters and it list all of the week's activities and the information that someone would need to know about each one. I believe we could possibly do better, but I'm not sure how at this point. We are constantly trying to get the most up to date information out there.

5. Bad church website. I think our website, yumachristianchurch.com, is a good website. Being that we have a low budget, we did not opt to have a 'professional' web builder. Someone in our church volunteered to build it for us. I think it is bright and colorful, it list our Ministry Leaders, our Ministers, the times of our services and the address. About once a month we try to visit it and make sure it is being updated. If you haven't visited our website, please do.

Well I guess I will stop here and I'll list the next five in my next post. If you have been a guest in our church, please let me know what you think.


Love from the Preacher and I