Articles

The Summersayin Family (One illustration for Six Sermons)

The Summersayin Family

Once upon a time there was a pastor named Kenneth. Ken was a bright young man and was more than excited to accept a new position as a solo pastor at the Watershed Community of Faith Church. The people learned quickly that he was a strong preacher and they had passed through their first year largely without incident. But towards the end of the first year, “that boy pastor” Ken started to notice something odd.

It seemed every month a new problem was bring brought to the board by the Summersayin family. In twelve months, He’d never met the Summersayins, but they were apparently powerful. And the Monday after his anniversary the elders were once again dealing with the concerns of the Summersayins. Pastor Ken started to doubt his work there and it took the fire right out of his preaching and the energy out of him being a pastor. After his second anniversary the board came to him and let him know that the Summersayins were thinking it might be time for him to move on.

Now, Ken was a very hard-headed kind of pastor. He loved that church, and he loved those people, and he didn’t mind that it had a short steeple and it seemed like everyone, except the Summersayins liked him. So he started seeking them out, and he couldn’t find out any of the Summersayin’s names. They weren’t on the roll, they weren’t on the attendance sheets, and according to the giving records, they’d never given anything to the church. He even went to the courthouse and he couldn’t find one single Summersayin’ in the county.

Yet, every month, when the board met, the Summersayins were still concerned about everything from planting seeds for grass outside to planting seeds of faith all over the county. So, as soon as the board got happy with his preaching and pastoring, he asked them to support a policy that any complaint had to be presented in person or at least in writing signed by the people that were concerned.

February came and Behold! Not a single Summersayin’ concern. There were concerns that came from the members of the church and the Board dealt with them accordingly.

March came and “Look here!” (a rough translation of behold) there were a couple of members with an idea for a summer festival to be held on the church grounds, including a tent, visiting preachers, dinner and hopefully some baptisms.

In April, the Reverend Kenny noticed that he didn’t get nervous before worship anymore and he was genuinely excited to come to church.

By September, Pastor Ken didn’t feel nervous before Board meetings anymore, apparently the Summersayins had left the church and it didn’t affect attendance or giving, But the whole mood of the church had changed.

Even the Beenheresawhile were active, and the Newcomers were helping out. Sure, they’d disagree over the taste of salt, but they never held it against each other in the fellowship hall.

After his third anniversary, Ken saw that the church had started doing new things, and while they didn’t work out all the time, there were no Summersayins around to tell them it wouldn’t work because they tried before in 1974. There were just people getting excited, serving in new ways, and they trusted each other that whatever strange idea they had, at least it was for the good of the church and the furtherance of God’s kingdom. And the board took care of it’s people, because everyone knew the names of the people trying to help the church, and how to comfort them when they didn’t get their way, even when they disagreed with preacher.

Over the next 23 years, Pastor Ken thought about moving on a couple times, but when he talked to other churches, it seemed the Summersayins had moved in and he’d already been through that once. Watershed CoF was no longer afraid to make them mad, or disappoint them, or say no. He already served a church that didn’t let the Summersayins steal energy from the mission of God, or direct the church anonymously, and he knew how rare a church that was – and when you find it, you don’t let it go without God speaking clearly.
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Can you find all six sermons intentionally written into this story?

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