November 20, 2011

An Impromptu Church Test



It was an impromptu, spontaneous test of a local church congregation.

Did they fail?

You decide.

     Our old Dodge Stratus was in its final days. Its illness caused the radiator to heat up to the point we had to pull off the road after about forty minutes of driving. Its symptoms were particularly prominent if we made the red-bird climb up steep hills or stop at traffic lights (or construction sites). That must have been so stressful for the car, because you could hear its water bubbling in the radiator when we paused to let it rest.

     Monte was invited to do a baptism for a family in Washington County—over ninety minutes distance. We expected we would have to baby red-bird, and so we did.

     The ride home was particularly tough for red-bird. It sputtered, its fever raised. It objected to having to work in its ailing condition. We were having a difficult time lowering the temperature of its radiator water.

     At one point when we knew we would have to stop we pulled into a church parking lot. A car followed us in. Monte parked at an end furthest from the church. He opened red-bird’s hood, hoping to bring the vehicle’s fever down more quickly. He sat in the car reading while waiting.

     It was sunset, so I took my camera, exercized my trigger finger, and managed to capture some spectacular pictures before I joined him in the car.


     Cars drifted into the parking lot. They parked closer to the church building than we were. We noticed people were carrying what looked like pot-luck dinner containers as the crossed the parking lot and entered the church basement.

     Soon, many cars were parked in the lot.

     People glanced over at us. Some were younger, some older. Some stood and seemed to be trying to figure out if they knew who we were. However, those who noticed our car—hood raised—entered the church building. Nary a one approached us to ask if we had a problem.


     Eventually everyone must have arrived, because cars stopped coming. It was now dark, and red-bird’s temperture was sufficiently low to allow us to attempt to continue on home. Monte put the hood down and we were on our way.


     We wondered:  Why had no one approached us to see if we needed help? They didn’t know what our problem was, but it was obvious we had a problem.

     Perhaps there was fear. In this day and age, everyone is fearful. But then, more than one person could have approached us. I cannot believe that, with the number of persons studying the situation, that there was no comment at the gathering. Taking it one step further, they might have invited us to join them while we waited.


     Monte, a retired pastor, said that he didn’t think the churches he pastored would behave in that manner. They certainly would have reached out.

     He didn’t like that I disagreed with him, that I’m not certain I agree with his conclusion. But then, he tends to be hopeful. I can be cynical.

     There is hope. We both agreed that one particular individual belonging to one of his congregations would have approached the problem. 


Could this have been your church?

It was an impromptu, spontaneous test of a local church congregation.

Did they fail?

You decide.

     (Type your comments in the comment box following this post.)    



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  1. Every church should take this test! Pass it on!

    Comment by carolynstearns (@carolynstearns) — November 20, 2011 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

    • I agree. Feel free to pass the link to this post on to any church or church member you know!

      Comment by carolyncholland — November 20, 2011 @ 11:34 pm | Reply

  2. Maybe they were in a hurry to eat! They did fail the “Do unto others” golden rule by showing apathy.

    Comment by Melanie Stefanic — November 28, 2011 @ 3:53 pm | Reply

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