Pew Warmers Needed, Opportunity for Advancement.


Pew Warmers Needed, Opportunity for Advancement.


My husband handed me this cute saying yesterday saying it was for the church sign, he said it was an original, and I believe it was, he has a tremendous sense of humor which makes for some great times of laughter during his sermons.


There was a time when the term “pew warmer” was considered a derogatory term. It meant the person was just taking up space, no commitment, no helping the church with their time and talents – just taking up space.


Now though, we have a new name and meaning behind the term, much more politically correct and nice, it’s called the ministry of presence.


The first time I heard that I laughed within myself and thought well that’s unique anyway, but after reflection I began to see some real merit in the term, it gave validation to those precious people whose only “ministry” was just showing up.


Things have really changed in our world – I remember as a child loving Sundays. In our small town in the Maritimes I would wake to the sound of church bells. It started with the Catholic bells pealing first and woke everyone in the town, I would lay there in bed and listen because our service started much later and I could enjoy just listening to the bells, the Catholic’s, then the Baptist’s, then the United and by that time I had to be up and dressed because our bells were to peal next. Lying in bed listening to those beautiful bells ring brought such a feeling of complete contentment and peace – all was right in the world.


Then my Dad and I would head for the church, the last church to peal their bells the Anglican church, the first set pealed to call everyone to worship – ding , ding , ding, dong; ding, ding, ding, dong; dong, dong, dong. Then just at the stroke of eleven Dad, would ring the last set of bells and slip into the front pew from the side door, just as the organist began the first hymn.


As a child it was a time of contentment, quiet joy and family.  Even while in school the United church bells would chime out the hour and that feeling of Sunday mornign peace would rush over you.


I feel for my children and grandchildren as they will never know this feeling – the bells have stopped pealing. Most communities don’t have bells.


“Too much noise pollution”


“Sundays my only day to sleep in”


“Sunday is our family day”


“Sorry gotta work”


No one wants the reminder of the call of the bells to worship.


Pastors hear every reason in the world, why a person doesn’t have the time, energy, health or inclination to gather together for worship, and many church pews remain empty.


What we all wouldn’t give for someone with the ministry of presence.


As a child, family altar was a powerful tool my father used to keep us all spiritually fed, neglect of any kind was abhorrent to him, whether, physical, emotional or spiritual.


Today, the actual spiritual neglect of children, young people and adults in our world is at epidemic proportions, but because it is something felt as opposed to seen no one really acknowledges that it is happening.


The signs are all around us to prove a strong case for deep spiritual neglect; perhaps a topic for another days post it is so vast – sufficient to say for now – it is here, it’s rampant and it’s greatly affecting our communities.


If this was an epidemic of measles or chicken pox at this level there would be such a hue and cry made that the medical profession would be inundated with demands for explaining how such a thing could possibly have happened to us; but because the epidemic is spiritual, pastors just sit and silently grieve.


Now here on the prairies, church after church are closing their doors, first the Baptist, then the Anglican as everyone dies off, the Sally Anne holds on by a thread but has to ask for community help for bell ringers at Christmas, the Alliance and Christ of Christ just trade saints back and forth as people get disgruntled with one group and go to the other. The only group that is growing are the Pentecostals.


Strange as it may seem the group that was always on the other side of the tracks has made a tremendous worldwide impact, new statics now out from Berkley and others studying the phenomena say that Pentecostals are now the fastest growing religion worldwide beating out ALL others religions and their numbers now exceed the Catholics who for century’s held that coveted title as the largest Christian organization. For years the Pentecostals were considered the down and outs, they were laughed at, mocked and called “Holy Rollers”, but God smiled on them.


Somehow, while the rest of Christendom was slowly packing up and shaking their heads saying, “It looks like the Church age is coming to an end”, this group not only succeeded but grew exponentially, registering over 700 different “denominations” under the banner of Pentecostal .  It behoves all of us to look into it, no spiritual neglect happening in those pews, perhaps it’s because they kept some of the old Christian foundations: like the infallibility of the word of God in its original languages or the old fashion prayer meeting? Or maybe it’s because they weren’t afraid of demonstrative worship and praise? Or maybe it’s because they stressed family worship – their houses of worship are full of complete families? Or maybe it was the fact that they all just had the ministry of presence as their primary ministry.


Whatever the reason at least someone is fighting the epidemic of spiritual neglect.


So what do we do now, how can we contribute to the solution and stop spiritual neglect in our own lives?


Why not start here this Sunday morning and find yourself and those you love in a house of worship?


 Can’t you hear the bells ringing?


Why not answer the call…


Pew warmers needed – opportunity for advancement.




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