booths

our church is somewhat nontraditional, at least compared to the idea I have of most traditional churches.

first of all both of the paid pastoral staff are bi-occupational (ironically we both work at middle schools for our second jobs). we wear casual clothes on Sunday mornings, even on Easter none of the staff wore neckties. we have our youth services on Sunday nights instead of Wednesday. in fact we don't have services on Wednesday at all. that's right no missionettes or royal rangers like traditional A/G churches. instead we have team meetings.

we start at 6pm with our staff meeting which includes our pastoral staff, board members, & dept. leaders. we then break into various team meetings. the worship team meets to rehearse for Sunday. the youth band also meets to go over their worship set for Sunday night. the children's ministry team meets to prep for their ministry for the weekend too.

we've come up with some pretty fun ideas during our staff meetings. some examples include: "shorts month" during august where we encourage everyone to just come to church in shorts, last night we talked about a fundraiser for the youth that includes a pink toilet, and an family style "amazing race" event.

this year our church has a route 66 theme, which represents the 66 books of the Bible. we have a one year Bible reading plan that we encourage everyone to go through and all of our sermons (Sunday mornings and youth services), children's and nursery lessons, and the small group discussion questions all cover the same scripture passage from the reading plan.

one of our latest ideas is to do a "feast of tabernacles" or "festival of booths" type camp out on our church property. for those unfamiliar with it here's the wikipedia article. basically, it's a Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest (similar to thanksgiving) and also the building of temporary booths to remember their time of wandering in the desert and God's provision for them during that time.

and so we're encouraging our congregation to come and spend four nights, from June 29th - July 3rd, in tents on the church lawn (the real festival is 9 nights and in Oct. but we're just wimps and don't want to be cold for that long) :). we really think this is going to be a really fun time for our church to come together and have fun as a community of believers.

we plan on having fun activities for the whole family throughout the day, some evening services to worship God, prayer walks in the community, and lots of BBQ.

people don't have to camp out all 4 nights, but the more that do the fun-er I think it'll be. if you gotta work that's fine, just go to work and then come back to your tent at the church for the night.

some people have also suggested that we give up all electronic devices during that time. tv, I don't care because we don't watch any network tv at all. we only watch The Office and LOST, but even those we usually watch them online on a different day. cell phones I wouldn't mind that much to be free from the distraction for a few days. even though I love the Internet I think I could even do without that for a few days (i'd miss twitter though, both reading and posting about the experience). anyhow if we were really camping in the woods there wouldn't be Internet access anyways.

the only thing I would truly miss is the ability to write. and by that I mean typing on a computer. I'm a much faster typist than writing longhand. I'd love to write about the whole experience, I wouldn't even have to post it to my blog until after the week was over.

I don't think there are any hard fast rules for the camp out I think that the main reason for the suggested electronics ban would be simply to make sure people connect with God and other people instead of just being engrossed in their "screens".

so anyway that's something I'm looking forward to this summer. even if your church isn't promoting a Festival of Booths, why not create some fun family memories and camp out in your own backyard? it'll be fun, I promise. :)

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// today i'm thankful for:
1. BBQ
2. cool weather
3. a quite house
4. not having to drive far this weekend
5. a great shower head