Saturday, February 11, 2006
How to Fellowship
Every second Sunday of the month, the church that Amy and I attend has a pot luck dinner. Everyone is always invited and it is a lovely time to fellowship and enjoy some good eating.
An oddity of this congregation is that many of the members have their own plates. Some have normal, round, dinner plates, others bring cafeteria trays. Everybody busses their own plates after eating and most leave the dishes on the Church shelves.
No one has ever said anything about this to us, and I’ve always figured it was just some odd quirkiness of the members. Like they prefer larger plates for larger portions, or maybe they are allergic to Styrofoam. We’ve never been asked to bring our own plates, and paper or Styrofoam plates have always been provided…until now.
Very recently the Elders announced that they will no longer be providing plates for the dinners. It is apparently a budget concern. I guess they were just spending too much money on throw away dishware for these monthly fellowships.
The more I think about this, the angrier I get. What does this say to visitors?
“Come fellowship with us! Everybody is welcome! Oh, you didn’t bring your own plate to church? Sorry, I guess you’ll have to go to Cracker Barrel.”
Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden…but bring your own dishes, because we ain’t got none for you.
Beyond the visitors, what does this say to members? We’re not important enough to spend a couple of bucks on a month? It’s not like paper plates are expensive. You can buy them in bulk for cheap. The congregation is small. We might have 30 people attend a fellowship dinner a month. Half of these bring their own plates already. For ten bucks they are serving 6 months worth of dinners.
I might not be so angry if I knew that money was going to something good. If they were shipping plates to Africa, or using the extra money to buy Bibles for Chinese orphans, I could say fine, I’ll eat out of my hands. But the congregation has a surplus of money. They literally have two savings accounts with over $10,000 sitting in it.
They do send small amounts of money to a few missionaries (and Apologetics Press) each month, but the left over is more than enough to pay for plates.
I am dumbfounded at the lack of sense, or Christian charity here.
As Amy says, I’m about ready to leave this congregation. I want to dis-fellowship them because they don’t know how to fellowship.
Tomorrow is second Sunday and before we eat I’m running to Sam’s and buying a whole stack of paper plates.