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TLDR: Stir-worthy announcements are rare, but an announcement can galvanize people for action or cause a stir that upsets some people. Below you will see an example of each and an apology.
There are announcements priests make at Sunday church that cause a stir. Thankfully these “stir-worthy” announcements are rare. The great majority of announcements in churches have to do with the schedule and upcoming programs and events. From time to time, however, an announcement inspires, moves, and motivates people. An example of this took place in October of 2021, when I reported to the congregation that the list of roof and air-conditioner repairs for our buildings was far larger than our resources to pay for them. Parishioners were automatically galvanized for action, a parishioner donated seed money, the rest of the church matched it, and before we knew it, we had enough money to replace all roofs, fix several air conditioning units, and replace several of our older cooling systems around our buildings. This rapid response was inspirational and I am still using this experience in trainings and conversations with folks.
There are times when an announcement is not well-received by some members of the congregation, as it was the case this last Sunday. A group of young parishioners are planning a “Fun 5K Run” to take place on October 29th, 2022, at 7:00 am. I thought it was a great idea and gave Mother Beth Anne and her committee the task to finalize some numbers for what this run would cost. I personally love these runs, which have become very popular around the country. The idea of a Saint Dunstan’s run shows creativity on our young people’s part, and I want to encourage more ideas from this segment of our church. Runs bring a lot of people to a campus and would be a wonderful way to introduce our church to a new demographic. The running community is very tight and many young families would be interested in the programs and services we have to offer them.
After the committee finished their preliminary budget, I realized that this would be an expensive enterprise which we could not afford at this point (7.5k to 10k.) Yet we saw the potential benefits of such a run. It was then that we decided to search for a sponsorship both internally and externally. We plan to talk to several businesses to explore sponsorships, and I suggested that we bring this need to the community to see if anyone might have a heart for these types of events, and might be willing to sponsor us. Many members of our church have participated in these runs before, have children or grandchildren who are runners, and believe this is a great idea. It was then that I proposed an impromptu skit with Mother Beth Anne. Sadly, several members of the congregation were concerned about the amount we requested. Some failed to see a connection between a 5-k run and the ministries of a church, “What do runs have to do with church?” And some simply wanted more information about what we hope to achieve.
Please allow me to give you a bit more information about this run.
- Fun runs (5K) have become a wonderful way to improve fellowship and to reach out to families with children, many of whom have grown up participating in these races. The slow pace of the race-walk also increases opportunities for outreach to visitors and to engage in some low-effort evangelism. These runs are wonderful Invite-Welcome-Connect events, which bring hundreds of people to a campus. Many of these people will stay behind to do some shopping at our festival or tour the church.
- It is true that these runs are expensive, and the church does not have the funds for a Saint Dunstan’s Run, which is why we want to find a sponsor. Most of the expenses have to do with police escorts, water stations, permitting, and advertisement. Our young people committee is composed of runners and they have done the research necessary on what it takes to create these events. The run may cost us less than ten thousand dollars, but we are seeking a sponsorship that will cover unforeseen expenses, if any. Unused funds will be donated to outreach ministries.
- Getting a sponsor for this run means that whatever income we will generate through registrations and donations on the day of the event will go directly to outreach. This will be a win-win result for the Church: We will get the benefit of a run, while bringing additional income to our outreach ministries.
I want to thank the several people who called me yesterday to seek more information about this fun race. I love when people are intellectually curious and seek further information. I want to foster an environment of open communication. I know we are proposing events and ministries we haven’t tried before. We have many excited parishioners providing us new ideas for ministries and programs, and I want to be receptive to all. Some of these ideas will work and become part of what we do every year, and some will not work, but are worth trying. This is how innovation works, and I am very glad some of our young people are looking for ways to make our church more family orientated. Please keep thinking about and praying for our growth.
Once again, I apologize if our role play concerned some of you. My intention was not to cause a stir over the price-tag of the run, but rather to encourage the creative thinking of a segment of our church I desperately want to empower and grow. Please call me directly if you have any questions regarding the role-play, the run itself, or any other programs and activities we are planning for the Fall.
Blessings to all,