Top 10 Ways Churches Drive Away 1st Time Guests
Thom Rainer with Lifeway Christian Resources asked people on Twitter to find out how churches drive away guests. It’s not really scientific, but does provide some interesting food for thought. For the full blog, click here.
The Top Ten, in order:
- Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service.
- Unfriendly church members.
- Unsafe & unclean children’s area.
- No place to get information.
- Bad church website.
- Poor signage.
- Insider church language.
- Boring or bad service.
- Members telling guests that they were in their seat or pew.
- Dirty facilities.
This morning’s Christmas story is Glory On – An Angel’s Story, by Dr. Ralph Wilson
Heaven and Angels Sing
This morning’s Fireside Christmas story is Heaven & Angels Sing, by Carol Stigger
The Alchemy of Christmas Cookies
This morning’s Fireside Christmas story is The Alchemy of Christmas Cookies.
i’ve always loved the thing. the book, with notes from my mother actually lived through a tornado which took mom home. when i found in in the rubble, i swear i heard the voice of my mother say, “this is how you will keep us alive. set the table. cook the food and when you do, tell you children the story of who we were.”
it’s a true story, but it’s not a story for today.
suffice to say, they recipes are sturdy stock, made of things like “oleo and eagle brand”
be 5 recipes for “hot dish”
you’d get one from the pollocks, like the opolkas
one from the swedes and finn, who always want to coat things with catsup and bake it,
the italians, like the spinetti’s and vacellios who’s recipe we be just like the pollocks, but always seemed to taste better.
they must have had a secret.
recipes for things snacks gone for generations now-like “chow chow” and kanadele.
it was “make due with what ya got, kind food”
from miners and immigrants .
in this hole-punched treasure is the recipe or angel candy from jean vecellio.
aaron vecellio was in my class.
he was tall and pimply and his parents own the furniture store on 14.
this is his grandma’s recipe:
1 1/2 sugar
1/4 corn syrup
3 t baking soda
1/4c hot instant coffee
cook till 310 degrees. pour on sheet. cool. break. may be dropped in melted chocolate (which it always was)
there is real magic in the process, the ritual of the christmas cookie. it brings out the best in us.
something about the crisco seems to smooth things over.
when the ladies and their familys bring the confections in tins to the church for the swap-the sugar in the air softens the blow of hurts from the year passing. the time your kid did this or that to mine, or your husband gave my husband the business at work.
it crumbles like-well-like cookies.
everyone has their favorite. mine’s the truffle. it’s not in the st. baraba’s cook book. the recipe is one i found online and it’s prefect and simple.
dark chocolate pieces
my hubby and kids love the peanut butter ones with the kisses and joseph (although he forgets until their on the table) is 100% partial to the russian tea cake.
my great grandma k was a diabetic. a diagnosis which she rebuked and ignored.
bon bons were her favorite.
she kept a stash of them on the breeze way of my grandmas house.
she must have trusted me, becasue i saw her pull the tin and scraf a few several times a day at christmas time.
the aunt’s would talk about the skandle in the kitchen over bubbling pasta sauce.
i didn’t like them much. thought they were to sweet, still each year i roll them up.
i could make them in my sleep. they’re in my blood, i think. funny how that happens. but it doesn’t just happen. that’s why each year i call my kids to the kitchen when it’s time to make “grandma’s bon bons.”
funny too, how someday-i will be the “grandma” behind the bons bons.
life is to short to hold a grudge-or even a secret recipe.
i’ll let you in on a little secret.
i’m sure it’s okay.
it’s amazing how flavors are caught in time.
they way they suspend like baked meringues.
there’s something about it the binds us together.
Trouble at the Inn
For years now, whenever Christmas pageants are talked about in a certain little town in the Midwest, someone is sure to mention the name of Wallace Purling.
Wally’s performance in one annual production of the Nativity play has slipped into the realm of legend. But the old-timers who were in the audience that night never tire of recalling exactly what happened.
Wally was nine that year and in the second grade, though he should have been in the fourth. Most people in town knew that he had difficulty keeping up. He was big and awkward, slow in movement and mind.
Still, Wally was well liked by the other children in his class, all of whom were smaller than he, though the boys had trouble hiding their irritation when Wally would ask to play ball with them or any game, for that matter, in which winning was important.
They’d find a way to keep him out, but Wally would hang around anyway—not sulking, just hoping. He was a helpful boy, always willing and smiling, and the protector, paradoxically, of the underdog. If the older boys chased the younger ones away, it would be Wally who’d say, “Can’t they stay? They’re no bother.”
Wally fancied the idea of being a shepherd in the Christmas pageant, but the play’s director, Miss Lumbard, assigned him a more important role. After all, she reasoned, the innkeeper did not have too many lines, and Wally’s size would make his refusal of lodging to Joseph more forceful.
And so it happened that the usual large, partisan audience gathered for the town’s yearly extravaganza of crooks and creches, of beards, crowns, halos and a whole stageful of squeaky voices.
No one on stage or off was more caught up in the magic of the night than Wallace Purling. They said later that he stood in the wings and watched the performance with such fascination that Miss Lumbard had to make sure he didn’t wander onstage before his cue.
Then the time came when Joseph appeared, slowly, tenderly guiding Mary to the door of the inn. Joseph knocked hard on the wooden door set into the painted backdrop. Wally the innkeeper was there, waiting.
“What do you want?” Wally said, swinging the door open with a brusque gesture.
“We seek lodging.”
“Seek it elsewhere.” Wally spoke vigorously. “The inn is filled.”
“Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain. We have traveled far and are very weary.”
“There is no room in this inn for you.” Wally looked properly stern.
“Please, good innkeeper, this is my wife, Mary. She is heavy with child and needs a place to rest. Surely you must have some small corner for her. She is so tired.”
Now, for the first time, the innkeeper relaxed his stiff stance and looked down at Mary. With that, there was a long pause, long enough to make the audience a bit tense with embarrassment.
“No! Begone!” the prompter whispered.
“No!” Wally repeated automatically. “Begone!”
Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary and Mary laid her head upon her husband’s shoulder and the two of them started to move away. The innkeeper did not return inside his inn, however. Wally stood there in the doorway, watching the forlorn couple. His mouth was open, his brow creased with concern, his eyes filling unmistakably with tears.
And suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all others.
“Don’t go, Joseph,” Wally called out. “Bring Mary back.” And Wallace Purling’s face grew into a bright smile. “You can have my room.”
Some people in town thought that the pageant had been ruined. Yet there were others—many, many others—who considered it the most Christmas of all Christmas pageants they had ever seen.