Saturday, September 7, 2013

Our Churches--Incubators or Refrigerators?


"There are two ways of helping a chick out of an egg, one is to apply pressure on the shell and the other is to apply a lot of warmth over time."

-source unknown

I'll never forget one Sunday morning many years ago when I really had the attention of my congregation, Zion Mennonite near Broadway.
I had arranged with one of our members, an employee at a nearby hatchery, to bring a half dozen eggs to church that day that were in the process of hatching. We set up a display of these in a fish tank under a heat lamp on a table in front of the auditorium and first invited the children to come forward to witness the miracle of chicks laboriously working their way out of their shells.

One by one during the sermon that followed, entitled "Refrigerators and Incubators", the chicks gradually emerged. Of course the congregation's attention was less on what I was saying than on the drama unfolding in front of us.

Churches, I explained, can be of two kinds, cool ones that focus primarily on preserving what they have, as in the nice carton above, and warm ones engaged in the less tidy work of serving as midwife of new birth and new life. 

Loving people warmly and hospitably can take a lot more time and effort than simply maintaining the status quo, but I'd love to see more incubator-like congregations.
Post a Comment