Father McKenzie

kingwriting

I’ve been wondering…

Am I Father McKenzie?

I hope not.

I’m built to be a preacher.

Writing and preaching sermons is my favorite part of ministry.

I look at it as a spiritual art form.

I may not always score a bulls-eye with my sermons, but it’s what I do and who I am.

I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop.

And that’s a problem.

You see, apparently, Millennials tend to hate sermons.

So, 20 years from now will this be me?

Father McKenzie, writing the words
Of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near.

–The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby”

Gulp.  I hope not.

My anxiety is this:  Am I part of a dying industry?

Are sermons on their way out?

Am I Father McKenzie?

I hope not.

I’m willing to change.  I’m willing to grow in my craft and my calling.  To find new ways to proclaim the old, old story.

I’m willing to listen, to share space, to adjust my words so they might best be heard.

I’m willing to do the hard thing, because I love God, and because my heart longs to make a connection.

But with whom?

Maybe with “all the lonely people”.

No matter the age.

All the lonely people who are searching, who feel disconnected from God and from other humans.

20 years from now, I hope these are the people I am preaching to.

Romans 10:14 says,

 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

I don’t want to be Father McKenzie, wiping his hands as he walks from the grave, where no one was saved.

So I am committed to preaching the Word the best I can,

to children of this new century,

and every Eleanor Rigby.

Have a great week,

Mitch

P.S. Eleanor Rigby on Youtube

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Keep ’em Coming

Saline_First_Presbyterian_Church_Saline_MI

When I look at this picture, I have some really great memories…

of being bored out of my mind.

This is Saline Presbyterian Church, in Michigan.

I would have been around 9.  My brother was 7.

Up front, the preacher (our dad) was preaching,  and we were trying to make it through another hour of worship.

Tic Tac Toe.  Hangman.  That dots and boxes games.

We’d count the number of ceiling tiles.

We’d scratch out letters and words in the bulletin to make new sentences.  “We lift up our cares” became “We lift up cars.”

We’d try to make the other one laugh, and then look scornfully if they did.

We’d stand and sing the hymns, sometimes changing the words.  “When I fall on my face with my knees to the rising sun…”

We’d doodle, and fidget, poke each other, and stare at the clock that seemed to tick so slowly, and sometimes, when all other options were extinguished, we’d actually listen.

My dad was a great preacher.  When I was a little older, my mom became ordained.  She was a great preacher, too.

Still, I’ll be honest.  There were plenty of Sundays when I would have rather been any place other than some old stuffy sanctuary.  But something about that weekly discipline, that time spent in “Holy Space” listening to words of wisdom, began to affect me.

Theological concepts began to make sense.  Stories from the Bible became more intriguing.  And I was actually able to see the connection between what we did in here, in the Sanctuary, and what the Church is called to do out there, in the world.

Today, when I see kids in church, there with their families, I feel so happy to see them.  I wouldn’t begrudge them some doodling or tic tac toe throughout the service, either.

But when I preach, part of me is preaching for them.  I want to make them smile, or laugh, or perk up. Or even learn something.

I want them to catch a glimpse.  A glimpse of Jesus there in the room with us.

I know worship can sometimes be boring (for any age),

but I do believe it has a cumulative affect.

So parents, keep ’em coming.

Both for their sake, and for mine.

After all, the glimpse of Jesus I get to see

is frequently in them.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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