Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Churches Do The Darndest Things

Standing in the front row listening to the worship music, the pastor leaned over and said to me, “In a few minutes there will be a lady in our church who will present you with a gift. We have group of older women in our church who make quilts and they give them to Alzheimer patients and missionaries.”

I nodded in the affirmation, but after a few minutes I couldn’t contain myself, almost busting out loud laughing as I thought of the pastor’s comment. I leaned toward him and said, “Think about what you just said. You give gifts to Alzheimer patients and missionaries!”

The pastor didn’t miss a step as he smiled and replied, “Yeah, I think they see you as an affinity group.”

I don’t feel a need to make a point out of this incident -- I thought it was incredibly funny. I do think, however, it’s interesting that when congregations think of charities, they think of missionaries. The days of missionary barrels (used clothing for those returning to the U.S.) is still alive and well. Missionaries are kind of like God’s Goodwill project. Since I spend so much of my time trying to elevate the profession of vocational missionaries before churches, my preference would be their admiration for us be demonstrated differently than a quilt. However, these dear women in this church gave a gift that was a truly a labor of love. The message may get mixed sometimes, but the motive is genuine. Who knows, next week I may get a jar of homemade jam that is given to missionaries and convicts. Churches do the darndest things.