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What a week!

September 25, 2008

Wayne City, Illinois is the Soybean Capital of Southern Illinois and I happen to pastor the United Methodist Church there.  This year our church was honored to host the community Church Night in association with the Wayne City “Bean Days” festival.  Representatives from several local churches brought special music, sketches, readings and prayers.  It was wonderful.  I played and sang a version of “Over My Head” inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fairfield Four (featuring backing vocals by the All-Willie-Deuel-Male-Voice-Choir) and led congregational singing.

The Wayne City area has more talent than one could imagine in such a small, rural area but there are singers who are simply note-perfect.  There was a great blend of traditional, gospel, and contemporary music.

I closed the service by playing a version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the ukulele (I ain’t exactly Jake Shimabukuro, but I ain’t bad either).  Got lots of positive feedback on that one, especially from the visiting youth.  I’m sure there might be some older folks grumbling about playing a Beatles song in church, but hey – it was only instrumental, and I did frame it theologically.  (God can make big things from small things just like some can make big music with small instruments).  And I really felt good about the way I played it, which is rare for me.  Self-confidence is an issue.

(Up next, I’m working on learning an arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner to hopefully play at some basketball games this winter).

And the great part – after I preached a five-part series on Bishop Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, the church decided to have coffee, cookies, and punch in the fellowship hall after the service.  No one who hosted Church Night had done that before, and a couple of ladies in the church wouldn’t take “we’ve never done it that way before” for an answer.  Yee-haaaw!  It actually gave us time to meet the visitors from other churches!  By jove, I think they’re getting it!

Also this week my son played his final grade school baseball game.  He went two-for-three with a single and a double (he bats lefty and he turned on a couple of low-inside pitches, firing the single down the first base line over the first baseman’s head, and the double over the right fielder’s head).  He also made a spectacular catch from behind the plate (he’s the catcher).  The team lost but played well.

And here’s the great part- playing in competitive sports has been really good for him.  His level of “mental toughness” has really gone up recently and he is much better able to deal with losses and personal mistakes than before.  He’s learned not to beat himself up over striking out or letting a run score, and he’s learned to take advice from people who can coach and mentor him in order to make improvements to his game.  Afterward he said, “Dad, I used to think that there was no such thing as a loss that felt good, but our team played really well.  I’m happy with how we played even though we lost.”  Big life lesson there for both son and father.

My daughter is now 16 so we don’t see much of her anymore.  After cheerleading practice she helps the coach with the grade school cheerleaders, then sometimes goes to the Burrito Shack (a local restaurant) afterward.  She comes in at almost 10:00 unless she has homework.  Last night she sat on the couch between my wife and me and fell asleep there.  It was nice.  I cherish little moments like that one.

Well, back to work.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 25, 2008 10:09 pm

    Hey Will,
    I’m glad your focusing on the Five Practices led to a cookie revolution, and that now you have a new way to mingle with visitors. Cool. I hope it leads to even more creative ministry, even though “We’ve never done it that way before!” Blessings to you in your ministry, R Schnase

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