Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Breakfast or Breakfast Social?

A question was raised on Twitter last week regarding Prayer Breakfasts and why we call them by that name. Over the years I have been to many which consists of many elements:
  • Fellowship and socializing
  • Food: either buffet or served
  • Special speaker
  • Offering
  • Door prizes
  • Prayer
If you're like me, I like to get together with folks and have a fellowship and eat good food. It is necessary for our society as a whole but I question why we call these events Prayer Breakfast when prayer is the last on the list of things to do, and only a few minutes overall is spent in this portion of the program.

Several of us went to a breakfast this past weekend. It was a lovely fellowship which turned into a fund raiser without notification. But for the most part, these social events are called "Prayer" breakfast and the fact that more time is spent in food and sermons than prayer, suggest that the names be changed to fellowship breakfasts.

This weekend, we had a wonderful word that the sisters gathered to think about the region, the cities we each represented. The tone was set, fellowship, great food and table talk, and then the speaker took a direction that left no time for prayer at all. We left feeling we had not completed the mission. We had not prayed even for each other. At most of these events, we end up praying for fifteen minutes out of three hours.

The question I raise today is this: Should the name be changed to Fellowship Breakfasts? Should prayer be the first on the agenda before breakfast is served or at least the first thing after breakfast? Should prayer be the most important thing before a speaker?

Please feel free to leave a comment below. Let's dialogue. God inhabits our praise, our prayers are a part of praise ... have you ever gone to a prayer breakfast and left feeling you didn't complete the reason for going?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fellowship or Empire

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens, Selah."
Psalm 68:19

Let me ask a question, is your "church" constructing a loving fellowship or an empire?

The number of people around the world with the same story is alarming. People start out with the right intention to bring people together in a loving and nurturing environment. People come and feel the warmth and joy of the Lord in the fellowship, the Word of God convicts and brings people to the altar for repentance and restoration. So what happens after a few years when a new person can come in and nobody notices that they are new to the fellowship?

Recently a friend took a new believer to a woman's group that she used to attend. Interestingly, she was greeted but the new woman was overlooked with nothing more than a "hi". We were so glad that she didn't go by herself, she would not have felt welcomed to go back. At the end of the meeting, my friend stood up and reminded the group that they have forgotten what it was like to be new, to be desirous for new people to come, and now that there are more than a few people, do not truly welcome and encourage new people.

In another situation, a husband and wife assisted a new pastor to build a congregation, the building itself, and their family along with others had been real encourager for everybody who came through the door. Their particular building is in a drug infested area. Drunks came regularly during services to see what they could get from the church. They received salvation, got off drugs and alcohol and welcomed into the body of Christ. Before this couple left the area, it was noted that when a drunk came in on the new carpets and beautiful foyer, the ushers were looking for some way to escort them from their property. Word soon got around, drunks and hurting people were no longer welcomed at the church where so many had met God for the first time.

In the several groups of ministers and pastors that I belong throughout the city and on the internet, my heart sinks each time someone asks how do we monetize what we do with the people in the church? How do we sell our ministries for funding? God should never be put on the auction block.

Be encouraged to ask yourself today, is the place I go each week a place where anybody would be welcomed? Would you allow an alcoholic to sit next to you? Perhaps someone who doesn't have the clothes and clean smell you have?

We cannot save the lost and forgotten until we have a conscience and love for them. Is someone in your congregation in need of extra love and attention, a helping hand, or just a phone call saying somebody actually cares about them?

We are watching people divorce, kids going to jail, turning to anything that will take away the pain--and these are people in the congregations because nobody really cares.

Galations 6:2 NIV "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Five Addictions

I was glad that when I received this award Julie told me I only had to admit to five addictions, which is the easy part, and then award five other sisters the same award. That is such a cool idea. Thanks Julie! If I had been asked to write this, err, admit this list a few weeks ago, coffee would have been in the number one spot, but I have weaned myself from coffee and in fact, most of the cola drinks as well.

So for the list:
  1. Teaching and Mentoring--and yes, I have put them as one item because to be a good mentor, you must also like to teach. My love and addiction started as a child, telling stories that I either made up or rehearsed from other sources, to the kids younger than me. It grew over time to writing and biblical teaching, as well as a number of other subjects
  2. Reading--my favorites are suspense/thrillers, historical fiction, biographies, just good books with a great moral value. I am not a fan of chick lit or romance.
  3. Cherry Ice Cream with warm French Chocolate topping and fresh whipped cream--Condrell's here in our village make their own ice cream and it is delicious.
  4. News--I must admit as most of my friends know, my addiction to news both national and international
  5. Writing--several blogs, columns, stories, working on novels, and of course, Twitter [does that count as writing?]
Okay, those are my five that I can think of at the moment. Now to pass this prestigious award to five other sisters who are deserving but that's the hard part choosing. So many friends and only five slots. But here goes:
  1. Lynn Mosher at Heading Home
  2. Terri at Terri Tiffany Inspirational Writer
  3. Peggy at Embracing Life
  4. Lindy-Lou at Lindy-Lou
  5. Karla at Empowering Christian Women
I'm now laughing so bad, as I realized that God has indeed nudged me towards a great group of friends, some Christian, some not, some I'm not sure--but everybody has given me something to smile about, think about, and consider. Thanks everybody!

Thanks sistahs for playing along and posting your five addictions and then choosing five other sistahs to give the award to.

A Fiery Minister In His Service
Susan Storm Smith