I Like My Church Quiet
The first thing we built after my arrival at Chapel Hill in 1987 was our gymnasium and Christian Education Wing. That wasn’t our original plan. It wasn’t long before we were worshiping in three services and considering a fourth. We needed a larger sanctuary and first drafted plans to expand the Memorial Chapel.
But even as those plans moved ahead, we began to be more aware of a desperate need in our community: kids had little to do. Aside from a now-gone bowling alley, there was no place for kids to hang out. No YMCA, no Boys and Girls Club… nothing. So, instead of the sanctuary we needed, we decided to lead the way in providing a gymnasium and meeting space for the kids and families of Gig Harbor.
Most of our congregation agreed with the idea. One woman did not. She was a person of wealth and could have helped us with the capital campaign, but when I approached her, she declined. I was surprised, frankly, and asked her why. Even after 25 years, I still remember her response as if it were yesterday: “I don’t want a gymnasium; I like my church quiet!” I was flabbergasted…but not so flabbergasted that I didn’t respond with what may be the least pastoral retort of which I am most proud: “If you want quiet, go to the cemetery! The church is for the living!”
She didn’t stick around Chapel Hill long. And I suspect that the rest of those who like their churches “quiet” have exited Chapel Hill long ago, what with all those pesky, noisy kids running around. For my part I say, “Thank God for that noise! God help us when the day comes that Chapel Hill sounds more like a graveyard than a playground. “
So… do you agree? Do you like “your” church noisy with the cries of babies, laughter of children and hijinks of teens? Put differently, could you imagine Chapel Hill without kids? Because I guarantee you, there are plenty of churches who don’t have to imagine at all! They are desperate to figure out how to get young people into their dying and graying ranks.
If you are glad that this church is alive with the noise of the young, we need your help.
First, please come to the Youth Benefit on Saturday at 6:00pm. It’s not too late. This event will be much simpler than our auctions. We are going to have a great dinner, tell the story of our youth ministry and ask for your second-mile help. We need to raise $80,000 to fund our youth intern ministry. If you are glad we have kids, put your money where your mouth is! You can still reserve a place by registering online (click HERE) OR you can email Betsy by Friday evening indicating how many tickets you would like to purchase. If you are unable to attend, you can donate online by clicking HERE.
Second, share your big home with an intern. We’ve never had more trouble housing interns than we have had this past year. Gig Harbor is filled with huge houses with plenty of empty bedrooms and we are looking for ways to grow our intern program so that we can raise up even more great leaders for the sake of the kingdom. If you are glad we have kids, put your spare bedroom where your mouth is.
Finally, come Sunday and celebrate twenty-five new young members from our confirmation class! That’s right, we have 25 ninth graders who have spent a year learning what it means to be a disciple of Jesus here at Chapel Hill. If you are glad we have kids, come and be blessed by them and cheer them on!
I wouldn’t want to pastor a church that didn’t want kids. I don’t think most of you would like such a church, either, so… do you part to keep Chapel Hill noisy!
P.S. I think the Galatians sermon series may be one of the most important I have ever preached. A great gift for your unbelieving or works-oriented friend. If you would like place your order for the entire series, email Kathy Berry. And by the way, my Holy land trip is filling. If you are interested, don’t dawdle!