Monday, October 14, 2019

Opportunity in the Unplanned

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." - Maya Angelou

When I walked into the sanctuary on Sunday morning, the communion table had been left in the chancel. The previous Sunday was a communion Sunday, but this one was not.

It was, instead, Stewardship Sunday, the day that many churches use to ask their members to fill out pledge cards so that the Finance Committee can begin putting together the budget for the coming year.

(If you are a churchgoer, you may also know it as Consecration Sunday or something else.)

Before I walked into the sanctuary and saw the oversight, I was carrying with me a lukewarm-at-best sermon and the bare thread of a children's sermon. The theme for the day would be gratitude and the many ways we can say thank you, among them being sharing with or giving to others. Stewardship!

It would have taken 30 seconds to grab an able-bodied person and move the table back to its spot. But I decided it was an opportunity.

The picture in this post is the result: I set it like a dinner table, with the offering plates at the center. I talked to the kids about learning to say "please" and "thank you" during meals, and finding other ways to show thankfulness.

And during the sermon I stepped behind the table to tell one of my favorite stories about how author Sara Miles received communion and it inspired her to help feed others.

Leaving the table in the chancel was a mistake. But mistakes can lead to creative possibilities one couldn't have seen otherwise. This particular one changed the look of our entire worship service for the better.

If people in ministry can learn to see the opportunity in the unplanned (and God knows there's a ton of stuff in ministry that comes unplanned), a lot of blessing can happen. And the more we choose to see, the more creativity we can use.