(See also A Fresh Perspective I)
The church council didn’t know what to do. Well, that isn’t precisely true. Individually they did know what to do, but they didn’t all know the same thing, and no one plan of action was acceptable to all the members.
This is a work of fiction. All persons, places, and things are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance of anything or anyone in the story to anything or anyone in the real world is coincidental.
Copyright © 2012,
Henry E. Neufeld.
Here was their problem. They had dozens of young people coming to events at the church. They played basketball in the gym. They played softball on the softball fields. Many of them even went to Sunday School.
The power bill on the gym was going up, and there was no money to pay it. The softball fields needed more and more maintenance, and there was no money to pay that either. The Sunday School classes needed more materials, but there was no money for that. They needed more teachers, but there were not enough volunteers.
Some thought the problem was that the church didn’t trust in God enough. They proposed a month of fasting and prayer that God would provide the money.
Others thought that the problem was that these were children whose parents didn’t go to the church. They wondered why they had to spend money on children whose parents weren’t interested enough to support the church with their time and money. They suggested the children should go to church wherever their parents did. They just looked blank when someone mentioned that very few, maybe none, of those parents went to church.
Some thought they should try to get a grant somewhere, they weren’t sure where.
Then one retired lady who had spent her entire life working with the children started asking questions.
“Isn’t there something in the church budget we could give up?” she asked. “Perhaps we don’t need new hymnals this year.” Everyone was so stunned at this suggestion that silence fell, and she was able to continue. “Surely the children are more important than the appearance of our hymnals!” she continued.
“And to all you praying folk. Are you going to show up to help? Will the money you save by not buying food while you fast help the budgetary problems?”
“I know my granddaughter loves to work with children, but nobody has asked for her help. I’m told she’s too young, but is she really?” Again there was silence.
“And has anyone considered contacting these parents? You seemed surprised at the suggestion they might not attend church. Most people in our community don’t—attend church, that is.”
After a short pause she finished. “The only new thing I think we need here is a fresh perspective!”
(This story is an alternative to the one I wrote for the One Word at a Time blog carnival on the word “Fresh.”)