Friday, July 13, 2007

Friendly Towns/Friendly Churches

On Thursday and Friday, Judi & I had to be in Rochester, Minnesota on business. As we headed back home, we decided to stop in Waseca, Minnesota, for lunch. We lived there many years ago while I attended the University of Minnesota at Waseca. It was a joy to drive around town and see how it has changed.

We were in many towns this week and not many small towns were growing and thriving. Waseca’s Main Street is thriving as are the shopping centers on the north edge of town. We also saw vitality in the agricultural and industrial areas.

We parked one block off Main Street so we could walk up Main Street to find a place to eat. Everyone we met on the street said hi to us before we said anything to them. In the café, as people walked by our table, they would also greet us.

Stopping in another city closer to home, we noticed a marked difference in people’s attitudes. Even at our somewhat lame attempts at levity, we were still met with indifference.

I wonder, could it be that Waseca is thriving because they actually enjoy living and also enjoy being in business? These are good times on the prairie; we live in one of the most blessed places on earth and yet we can act like a bunch of surly old boars and cranky old bats. God help us get rid of this grumbling, pessimistic indifferent attitude that seems prevalent in some of our communities.

I got to thinking; churches are the same as communities in many ways. When we visit a new church for the first time, it doesn’t take long to “get a feel” for the place. We’ve been in positive places possessing a genuine, heartfelt, loving spirit and we’ve also been in churches that are cold and indifferent. What message is your community sending to the outside world: indifference and complacency; or a warm, gracious and positive attitude for life? What message is your church sending? Do we ever wonder why the world does not walk through the door of our church? Could it be about our attitude? God help us.

No comments: