by Pete Schrank
I had the pleasure of attending all four church services last week in order to deliver the yearly Stewardship message, and it made me think of the bigger picture. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church is not a Mega Church but it is a large congregation that needs to work on building one-on-one relationships. We all know that many people are creatures of habit . . . they always go to the same service, sit in the same pew and interact with the same people. Change is difficult.
I have a funny story from more than 40 years ago. When I first met my wife, we both worked for Orland School District 135. I worked during the summer, cleaning and painting, to earn money for college. My future wife was mapping out school bus routes to make sure all the children were safely picked up for school. I asked her out and after a few miscommunications, she finally said yes! I knew she attended the 9:30 service at CELC and I usually attended the 8:00 service; however, we never really saw each other at church. One Sunday, I decided to go to the 9:30 service to surprise her, and I think it worked. When she saw me, she asked “Are you stalking me?” I explained that I was a long time member and she immediately said “No you’re not, I have never seen you here before.” She had been a member of Christ Lutheran Orland Park since her parents had moved from Oak Lawn to Orland Park approximately four years before. She sang in the Choir and helped out in Sunday School. I had been a member since I was two! I was away at college during the year, but we never crossed paths here at church. When I look at the four services, sometimes I think of it as four different churches. These four churches do get the same message and have the same goal; however, building strong personal relationships across our church is an important objective.
The point of this story is that we need to be more active in reaching out to those that are in all of the different services. This can be done by serving in one of the groups that crosses over all of the services. For example:
- Choir (Joy and Praise or the Adult Choir)
- Evangelism Committee or the Hospitality Committee (they support many activities that bridge all services i.e., cookie and pie baking, etc.)
- Elder or Communion Assistant (they support all of the services with Communion.)
- Shared worship services like Good Friday, Advent, or Lent or when we move from four services to two services are all good opportunities to connect to members we do not see every Sunday.
- Finally, those Church-wide celebrations like youth sponsored dinners or the Church picnic can bring us all together to build the Kingdom of Christ here in Orland Park and everywhere in the community that we support.
Have a blessed Advent.