Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The chicken church

I like to spend time each week reading through some different blogs written by those in local church ministry. One that I read on a regular basis is that of Pastor Brian Orme ( who is the Assistant Pastor at Community Grace Brethren Church in West Milton, OH. This is the church where I spent my first 10 years of ministry (two summers as intern youth pastor from 1985-1986; six years as youth pastor from 1987-1993; and two years as Assistant Pastor from 1994-1995).

I sat in my office and laughed as I strolled down memory lane when in Brian’s blog entry for September 12, 2006, he mentioned and gave a picture link of a giant fiberglass chicken used by the church to promote their Bible School. As I looked at the picture my mind went back to the many times that I was the one in charge of lugging that stupid chicken out of the church garage and hauling it to the front yard of the church so that everyone driving by on State Route 48 would know it was time for Bible School.

The funny thing to me was that they always use to put a big sign out front by the chicken that said, “Our Bible School is something to crow about!” Folks, chickens don’t crow!!
I’ll be honest. I was not a fan of the chicken. In fact, once I broached the subject of not using the chicken. You have heard the saying that some churches have “golden calves” meaning things that are traditional and that people won’t allow changed. Well, I soon discovered that this church had a “golden chicken.”

I always wanted to kidnap the chicken for ransom as a youth fund-raiser. You know, “give so much money to the youth fund of you’ll never see your chicken again” kind of thing. Maybe we could even have ended the fund-raiser with a chicken BBQ. I think the people of this church would have dished out big bucks to get their chicken back. One year we had a dinosaur theme for Bible School and put a big inflatable dinosaur out behind the chicken. Actually it was Godzilla, but we told everyone in the church it was a dinosaur. I had the urge to each day move Godzilla a little closer to the chicken and then one night remove the chicken and have feathers coming out of Godzilla’s mouth.

It seemed like every year someone would steal the dumb thing. We found it everywhere. We would find the chicken on an island in the middle of the Stillwater River. We would find the chicken in the middle of I-75 in Dayton. We would find the chicken in the front yards of graduating seniors. Then, to make it worse, the local paper would put it in the police blotter as the stealing of a 10-foot fiberglass chicken worth $10,000.00. Give me a break!! That chicken wasn’t worth $10.00 let alone $10,000.00. Or was it?

The funny thing about it is that putting out that chicken resulted every year in literally 500-600 children coming to Bible School and hundreds of them over the years giving their young hearts to Jesus. Come to think of it, that chicken may be worth far more than $10,000.00. I guess it all depends on what you see as the value of a soul.

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