Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yard Sign Push Back

Our FACE YOUR FEARS yard signs have become the talk of the town. I was at a luncheon at LCBC last week and one of their staff members asked if we were doing anything special for Easter. I told him about our signs and he replied, “Those signs are yours? I see them all over the place!” I was also at a funeral this week and had someone not from our church comment to me about the yard signs. In fact, I had someone from our church say they passed one of our signs all the way up in Pine Grove and another person say they spotted one clear out in Chambersburg. But, as you can imagine, not all the feedback we are getting is positive. This week we also had the following e-mail sent to the church as a result of our signs:

“Shoulda known all those signs were for religious reasons. being in lititz surrounded by money hungry menonites. anyway, i fear no god, or death. only thing i fear is what going on with health coverage, how im gonna pay rent next month, where the next 400 dollar grocery tab is gonna come from to feed 5 people. where the next jobs gonna be. can you do that? if i join your church and act like im afraid of death and fear your fake god are you gonna pay for all that for me? or are you just gonna keep asking for my money so you can keep building your church bigger, and bigger, and bigger AND BIGGER AND BIGGER. like all churches do? thought so.”

That response confirms many things. It confirms first of all that our signs are worlking and that we have chosen a topic – fear – which is a real issue in our country today. People are scared. They’re scared about the economy; they’re scared about the job market; and they're scared about the changes taking place in our healthcare system. So our topic has hit the bulls-eye!

It also confirms that many people are blaming God for the woes and fears we are all facing. That’s why it is so important for us to be faithful to proclaim the hope that we have in Jesus to our community. That’s why even these signs are important because God is using them to open up dialogues with people who are hurting and who are searching. So I replied to the above e-mail with this simple response:

Thanks for taking the time to send your e-mail to our church. My name is Scott Distler and I am the Sr Pastor here at Grace. I can fully understand your fear regarding many of the things going on in our country from the economy to the job market to the changes being made in healthcare. I share many of those same fears and concerns. I also agree with you that, unfortunately, many times the church has come across as a selfish organization that only seems to be trying to get in the pockets and purses of people. I can assure you that this is not the case here at Grace Church. In fact, I would love to have you attend one of our Easter weekend services (April 3 – 5pm; April 4 – 8:30am; 10am; 11:03am) to see for yourself. If you do, I would also love to have you send me an e-mail afterwards to let me know what your experience here at Grace was like. That would be very beneficial to me. Give it some thought and again, thanks for the e-mail.


Anonymous said...

although it's not b/c i'm in agreement with the sentiments expressed, reading this person's email was very refreshing to me. i'll probably spend the rest of the day figuring out exactly why...sort of thinking it's the beauty of honesty on a public forum from within the church about the truth that churches can be ugly. over simplified maybe but i'll keep chewing on it...
thanks for not sifting out the disturbing attention from the sign's ALL part of what we're praying for

Pastor Scott said...

You are right, Anonymous. Honest dialogue about the world's view of the church can be refreshing and something that God uses.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Scott,

Your response to this individual was perfect. You showed Godly understanding and concern. I'll pray that he can join us on Easter Sunday.

Pastor Scott said...

Thank you, Anonymous. And most of all - thank you for your prayers!

Uncle Jeff said...

Pastor Scott,
I put a post on Facebook the other night about how it seems strange that people who say they do not believe in God, are so quick to blame Him for all of our problems. I had several responses, and most agreed that you should at least believe in someone before you can blame them for something. By the way, my family is fairly new to Grace and we LOVE it. Thanks.

Pastor Scott said...

Thanks for the comment, Jeff. It is great to have you and your family here at Grace!

Mark said...

Hi Scott

I have been doing a little web surfing to see what the top fears of society are. This was prompted by a message I was listening to lately where the pastor commented that the #1 fear of people is public speaking. The point he was making is that satan instills that fear into people to limit the ability to proclaim the Gospel. So far, I have only found one site that list public speaking as a #1 fear but I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the other lists.

Boy, there are a lot of fears out there! I'm looking forward to the series.

Mark Freeman

Pastor Scott said...

Thanks, Mark! I appreciate the information! Blessings!