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In many ways, Memorial Day has become the unofficial-official beginning to summer. Much like Labor Day marks the end of family vacations, Memorial Day brings the family vacations closer as the summer months are just around the corner. Of course, we should all remember the reason for Memorial Day and take time to honor those who have fallen during times of war. A quick glance at my Facebook page will show how I did this.
Along with the solemn activities of the holiday, we have the joyous grilling of the meat which is an appropriate way to celebrate the beginning of summer. We just need to make sure we don’t neglect the former in an effort to arrive at the latter.
When choosing the right grill for the job, I tend to lean towards “Propane and propane accessories” (In my best Hank Hill voice) because of the reliability of the heat and we get to taste the meat. However, there was a moment in my life when I used charcoal for my grill, and those were good times too!
I remember living in Port Orange, FL, and we had a charcoal grill for our once per week steak offering to God. Lighting the grill was a challenge, and knowing when to start cooking the meat was very important.
After several attempts of finding the right combination, I finally figured out how much lighter fluid to use, and how long to wait before the coals are ready for cooking. It got to the point where I could light the charcoal, ride my bike around the neighborhood, and then the grill was ready by the time I got back home. (My wife was at home so the grill was not left unattended)
The struggle is knowing when to stop pouring the lighter fluid so the coals could get a chance to burn on their own.
Lighter fluid is a great invention, but it can work against you if you use too much. By pouring too much fluid on the coals, the flames will climb to the ceiling, and an exciting time can be had by all. However, after the fluid is used, the flames die quickly, and the coals are left struggling to survive. This is why it is best to use a minimal amount of fluid so the coals will get a chance to join the process of catching fire. It is not as exciting as the big flame, but it is much more effective.
Growing a church can be as challenging as lighting a charcoal grill.
When trying to add people to the pews, it is easy to fall into the trap of using the lighter fluid approach. It can be exciting to have plenty of events and make noise in the community, but there are times when the events can work against you. Of course, we need to have a way of introducing ourselves to the neighborhood, and the bonding that comes from the fun is valuable, but there has to be a plan for what to do the next day.
Are we going to follow up the event with another, bigger, better bash, or can we begin ministering to the masses?
Just like too much lighter fluid will keep the coals from lighting, too many big events will keep the people from experiencing the real community that comes from committing to the congregation. This is why it is better to pace ourselves with the events so we can work on the people of the church.