There are lots of reasons why a church picnic is a bad idea. It’s crowded, people are sharing food that may or may not contain salmonella, people are already busy, it’s a lot of work for the church staff….okay, I can’t even type any more because I don’t think a church picnic is a bad idea.
We had a picnic at our church yesterday and it was awesome. Not because of the food or the bounce house or the pony rides…although all of those things were fabulous…but because of the people. The thing that most people are missing out on these days is an opportunity to slow down. I wish I had a dollar for every person that told me they weren’t coming to the church picnic because they had been way to busy on Saturday. If picnics and people aren’t your thing that’s find but if you are too busy on Saturday for fellowship on Sunday then you may need to rethink your weekend.
Someone told me a while back that “fellowship” is an old fashion word that I use too often. I can’t help but think the reason that person felt that way is because they have a big fellowship hole in their heart. There is something very peaceful and beautiful about coming together with a group of believers and sharing a potato salad. You see, it’s actually less about the potato salad and more about the group of believers. Our hearts are drawn together when we tune out the noise of the world and share stories of family together. Our minds can rest when we put our phones away and look into the eyes of someone we haven’t sat with in a while. Our souls can unite when we share bread and wine (or tea) with a cool breeze on our backs.
I’m not going to lie. A planned and programmed picnic like we had yesterday is a lot of work. Someone had to book the petting zoo with the baby goats and tiny ponies for rides. Someone had to drive to the fire department to pick up the dunk tank and fill it with ice and water so the children could squeal with delight as their pastor fell hard and fast into a big splash. A large group of people had to move tables, chairs, garbage cans, extension cords, etc. Desserts had to be organized. Bubbles had to be blown. Speakers had to be set up so that fun music could play just loud enough for people to sing along but not so loud that it interrupts conversations. It literally takes a village to put on a big picnic like we did yesterday.
What doesn’t take a lot of work, however, is to make a phone call or shoot a text out to 3-5 families and say, “Hey, we are meeting at the park after church next week. Everyone is bringing their own lunch. We are going to let the kids play and we are going to watch them from a safe distance while we talk and catch up on life.”
What’s super easy is to announce to your Sunday School class that next week you’re going to meet at a restaurant with an outdoor play place so the kids can eat their grilled cheese and then run like monkeys while the grown ups share an iced tea or beer and share a few highlights from their week.
Fellowship doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to involve a petting zoo. Fellowship can be for the whole church or neighborhood or just a handful of families and friends. Fellowship doesn’t have to be programmed to the max and have a photo booth (although a photo booth will bring outrageous laughter) but instead can be easy and thrown together. It doesn’t have to have a semi-professional cooking crew or even a potluck lunch but could be bologna sandwiches with Pringles on the side. Fellowship is good for the soul and calming to the mind. It’s good for the body of Christ to sit down and get to know each other. So grab a basket, throw some fruit and crackers in it and call some friends. Head to the park. Go to someones back yard. Pop a beverage, put your phone away, and look someone in the eye. It’s called fellowship and we can bring it back.