Alan Wildes

Alan Wildes

Celebration Sunday

Originally posted – November 22, 2009

I worshiped today at a traditional United Methodist Church in a small town in Georgia. It was celebration Sunday where the people had an opportunity to turn in two commitment cards; one for the operating budget and one for a three year over and above commitment toward retiring the debt on their current facilities. Not overly exciting right?

Well these folks did it right! The pastor totally gets generosity and is a great leader. He is 38 and wise beyond his years. He is thoughtful, insightful and plans extremely well. They typically have three services; two traditional on Sunday mornings and a contemporary service on Sunday afternoons. This morning blended all three and they did a great job with that. The music was perfectly chosen and the quality of all the music was great.

The reason I write about this service is the way they prepared for the regular offering for this Sunday. They had two live testimonies: one couple from the morning services and a lady from the contemporary service in the afternoon. The three people were asked to talk about what their church means to them and in extremely different and effective ways all three expressed their deep love for the church, the wonderful people there, and the way they felt right at home on the first visit.

The service continued with a request from the pastor and instructions on the screen prompting the people to spontaneously shout out the answer to the question “I am thankful for our church because….” Once the pastor asked the question and someone answered, the congregation was asked to say “Lord we celebrate!” So the pastor began and the responses flowed with the echoes of “Lord we celebrate!” The responses included small groups, sunday school teachers, children and youth ministries, Honduras mission, staff and one specifically for the pastor and his family and many others. Each thing was answered with “Lord we celebrate!” It was wonderful!

Then they took the offering. That’s the way to prepare for an offering don’t you think!? The pastor then invited the ushers up and said “let us prepare ourselves for one of the most intimate and relational parts of worship; the giving of our tithes and offerings.” Wow!

I plan to encourage the pastor to continue along those lines for taking the offering on a regular basis. How does your church prepare to take the offering? I think we should be more like this church don’t you?

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