Retail Religion or I Make You Mad (Again)

   I am doing small church work again. We had about 60 folks six months ago. Now we have about 140. This month, so far, God has sent us 15 new members, or just more than 10% of our effective size.

   I have some reasons. One, our student pastor does a fine job of relating. The church decided a few months ago we could not afford to bring him on full-time but we also could not afford not to bring him on full-time. Since we cannot afford either one, we brought him on full-time. Many of the folks added since then have had something to do with youth ministry.

   Then, six months ago we redid our children's ministry, recruited, trained and put in place. Then we went out after children. We kept our children's ministry going this summer. Many of the folks who have come this autumn came through the children's ministry.

   We put  pulpit back up in our sanctuary and changed the worship. We have a little more ritual than we did. In uncertain times people respond to stability. We use the BIble a lot.

   In the old tv show West Wing there is the tale of a presidential campaign. The guy running is named Matt and his campaign manager is Josh. They have no money, no advertising and no name. Matt wants to redo education. To do this he wants to get on a big stage and make speeches.

   Problem; no one wants to hear him.

   Josh has Matt in the freezing cold in New Hampshire, shaking people's hands in front of the town dump, because that is where they come to dump their garbage.

   Matt if freezing cold, smells like trash and does not feel presidential. He is upset with Josh.

   "Why do I have to go to tea at someone's house with five people? When do I get on the big stage?" he repeatedly asks.

   Josh must find ten ways to tell him the same thing. You do not get on the big stage if you are not good at retail politics. Matt gets better, perseveres and becomes president. It is hard to do.

   When can you be Rick Warren? You have to knock on ten thousand doors. Then, again. You have to go to the coffee shops, the ball games and when you get there you have to be someone others will want to know.

   You have to do sermon prep, funerals, weddings, meeting after meeting. For every good staff guy like mine, you will meet two who just cannot get it done; too fruity, too lazy, too dishonest, too disorganized, too something.

   You will think of fifty reasons why you cannot go out one more night, one more time, to say, "Hi. I'm Rick Davis and I want to be your pastor."  (Yes, use your own name, unless you think mine will help. LOL.).

   Politicians call it "grip and grin." This is retail politics. This is how you get to the big stage to talk about large issues. If you just can't do it, then step back and accept this fact; you are part of the problem, pastor, and you may be the part that cannot get fixed.

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