Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gym and Cushions

I mentioned in my last post that I went to see "Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat" at a nearby Presbyterian church. I told one of the ladies I play tennis with how much I enjoyed it because I knew that she attended there. Her response was " well, most of those kids aren't our kids." That I did know because Mitchell attends a Methodist church down the street. The director of the production is the chorus teacher at Upper St. Clair High School and she recruited talent from her classes.

I then mentioned that the gym where the production was held was really nice and it was the first time that I had seen it. (it is only a few years old) She agreed that it is really nice but then said "They say that you should never join a church with a gym and cushions on the seats." I was a little baffled by this statement. My first thought was that the cushions would be so comfortable that people would be more likely to get drowsy, but I couldn't figure out the gym part. So, I asked her to explain. She said "because they spend money on themselves rather than on missions." She went on to say that when they were discussing building the gym the young people told the committee that they deserved a full-size gym rather than the half gym that was being planned.

I thought that this brought up a lot of good points. How much should a church spend on missions? At the church I attended growing up we had cushions, but I think that they were donated by a really wealthy old woman. So, we can enjoy them now guilt-free, right? If the gym is used for community outreach then how bad can it be or is that just a rationalization? Is it more a matter of balance?

The church that I attend is in the gym of an elementary school. Since we don't own a building, we can devote more money towards missions. Our pastor and a member of our leadership team are in Africa right now learning ways that we can help the AIDS-ravaged people there. Mark and I are hoping to go to Mississippi again to help Katrina victims. (yes, they still need help) We also assist the people of the Shepherds Heart Church. Does it sound like I'm bragging? I guess I always assumed that since the churches that I have belonged to thought missions were very important that all churches did. Was that naive of me?

I will be interested to here what you all think of the gym, cushion and mission debate.


Beverly Cwalina said...

I think "out of town" missions are important, but wouldn't you agree that outreach to local teens and anyone who may be drawn to a church due to its facilities is fulfilling a mission of the church? Of course there will always be those who go to a church's gym and never attend a service, but I feel it is our job to draw people in, give them the message and leave the rest to God.

Tim said...

I agree that "intra-community" missions are just as important as "inter-community" missions, and it's churches that are strong in both that really stand out (the Fed in East Springfield comes to mind here).