It’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Some district churches are located in lakeside resort areas and gear up for increased attendance and programming to minister to seasonal residents and visitors. Summer is both exhausting and exciting for these churches, with no time to rest until the tourist season is over.
Other district churches clear out in the summer. Despite the faltering economy, West Michigan residents seem to have no difficulty taking off on the weekends for Lake Michigan, inland lakes, camping, or the summer cottage. Moving from Pentwater to Grand Rapids was a shock 16 years ago as we asked on the first Sunday, “Hey? Where are all the people?” Their reply was, “They’re in Pentwater!”
Rather than fight the summer slump in many of our churches, lay people and clergy understand that congregations as well as people need Sabbath rest. We also learn to use our extra time wisely by evaluating the ministries of the program year just completed, filing stacks of paper that have accumulated over the last 9 months, and catching up on professional journals. We engage in worship and program planning for the fall, line up church school teachers and do teacher training. We hold the annual church picnic, golf outing, andVacationBibleSchool.
Finally, we tackle all the odds and ends that seem to pile up during the course of the year: little things that no one ever seems to have time to tend to, like fixing, deep cleaning and organizing the church building. Did you know that the handiest gadgets ever seen for churches come from the Delta Sky Mall catalog? If you happen to fly Delta/Northwest Airlines in the spring, check out the Sky Mall catalog in the seat pocket in front of you. You’ll be sure to find exactly what you’ve been looking for to complete your summer church fix-it projects.
Want to record the pastor’s sermon at the same time as you studiously take notes? Order a Video Pen for $99.99. It captures up to 60 hours of video and voice recordings with a ball point pen. (www.SkyMall.com)
United Methodist Women: need to tidy up your supply closet? Order a 12 box organizer to maximize storage space, assembled with just a screwdriver. 12 totes can slide easily in and out of the organizer. $129.00 Oops! Boxes not included: 12 boxes for an additional $147. (1-800-SkyMall)
Want to attract more children to your Sunday evening kids programming? How about a theater style popcorn cart for $249.99? Adults will love it, too. Sorry, popcorn not included. (You can even order from your cell phone!)
Want to kill flies, bees, spiders and other insects without getting too close? (First you have to admit that you really have creepy crawlers and flying critters in your church building.) Why not try the Keep Your Distance Vacuum for only $49.95? Unfortunately, it will not suck up bats. (Not sure what your church needs? Get them a SkyMall Gift Card.)
Want to eliminate cross contamination? Order foot-free and touch-free stainless steel trash cans for the church kitchen and restrooms. $80-$199. Doors automatically open when an object is in the sensor zone, meaning … kids will love to play with this. (Purchase with US dollars, Euros, Pounds Sterling or Canadian dollars.)
Don’t care for people in the balcony focusing on your thinning hair as you sit in the choir? The X5: The Next Generation of Laser Hair Therapy is a must. $299.00 (Shop in Spanish at espanol.SkyMall.com.)
Looking for that perfect parament for the communion table? Custom made table throws are unique one-of-a-kind treasures. $485.00 (Hundreds of new products are added every week!)
Fed up with people misunderstanding “open doors” and bringing their dogs to church? SkyMall has the perfect solution: The Indoor Dog Restroom. The artificial turf gives off an organic scent to attract dogs. It’s perfect for the pastor’s office or narthex. $149.99; replacement mat: $64.95. (Text your item number to 49432.)
Yearning for an alternative to those cheap umbrellas that church parking lot greeters carry that turn inside out all the time? Eliminate embarrassment with the Unflippable, Unflappable, Unleakable Umbrella for $55.00. (Discover unique gifts for church staff.)
Want to aerate the church lawn all by yourself? Buy Lawn Aerator sandals, complete with 26 1½ inch spikes attached to your soles. (Warning: do not wear in the church building and wreck the newly buffed floors). $12.99 (Read and write reviews of your favorite products at SkyMall.com.)
Desirous of a way to meet the ever-changing needs of your church kitchen? You could be the proud owner of a Ready to Ship Quartz Countertop. (61 x 22 inches, $1,357.58) No one will be able to destroy it! (Call toll-free at 1-800-SKYMALL.)
Want to know what to do when you return from a mission trip, and the car you left in the church parking lot won’t start? Invest in a Safe Power Back-Up for $49.95. Plug it into the light socket, and in 10-15 minutes you’re good to go! (Fax toll-free: 1-800-986-6255.)
Can’t stand sweltering in the 90 degree summer heat because the church offices are not air-conditioned? A Portable Air Conditioner for $1,299 will do the trick. Actually, I could use this in myConferenceCenter office in the winter, when it’s 99 degrees. But the next day, when my office is 30 degrees, I’d love for it to turn into a heater. (Shop from over 50 stores with just one delivery charge.)
Can you tell I’m bored? Or stressed? Or need another vacation? Actually, I’m just looking out for our churches and hope that you are enjoying the summer. As you pause to breathe in the goodness of God through our freshMichigan air, continue planning vital, transformative worship, no matter how low the attendance. At the same time as you get the church fixed up:
- Don’t forget to laugh a lot. It’s one of the best forms of prayer.
- Take yourself less seriously. You’ll be more relaxed and alert to God’s presence.
- Peruse a silly catalog or read a beach novel. You don’t have to tackle theology all the time.
- Take time to rest in the summer. Even Jesus needed a break, and he took it.
- Above all, order a Remote Controlled Manta Ray that glides underwater while you swim nearby. Only $119.95 at www.SkyMall.com.