BY COREY WADE
With my degree in Bible and almost a decade of experience teaching Sunday School, I feel it is my solemn duty to tell you that the Church has been doing small groups wrong for the last 2000 years. All those Godly men and women sadly missed the mark for over a couple millennia. But do not fear, this 29-year-old has finally figured out the secret to church growth that has eluded all our forefathers. I have laid out before you a plan to make new visitors feel most welcome when they come into your small group. Do the following steps and no one will EVER leave your small group. Since I’m hoping to turn these timeless tips into a book deal, I have broken these steps into a catching and life affirming acronym:
BY KENT BUSH
Sheep are dumb.
They will eat themselves to death if someone doesn’t stop them. Honestly though, I’ve been at a Golden Corral a few times when I wondered if we were going to need a good shepherd to use his crook to pull some folks away from the roast beef.
I saw a modern day shepherd one night when I was going to cover a small-school basketball game for my newspaper.
In more than 45 years of life I had never seen a scene like this. I looked on the side of the road and saw a young man walking two sheep down the shoulder of the highway.
I think it is an Oklahoma law that you have to change lanes to allow livestock plenty of room to roam. I had no problem making room for a young man and his sheep.
They seemed rather content to be enjoying the evening breeze. You could say they had a great “relationsheep.” You probably wouldn’t, but you could.
I couldn’t help but think what would happen if something changed that peaceful scene. What if a dog barked at them or something else spooked one of them? What if one stayed with him and the other bolted into the southbound lanes of the highway?
What would this young shepherd do?
BY RICH DOUGLAS
Nostalgia is all the rage in the world of fashion these days. We're here to help you, Mr. or Ms. Christian, embrace your faith -- 90's style!
Make sure you place the bracelet on your most prominent hand, so when people go in for a handshake, they know you’re serious about your faith. If they don’t ask about it the first time, make sure to bring it up for them. “In case you didn’t know…”
Double points if you have them on both wrists.
Matt Coker | @MatthewSCoker
Mommaaaaaaa.... I killed a maaaaaann.... OH! Sorry, hi there. Well, it's Mother's Day again. And that means that it's Sunday morning and you had forgotten all about it until the moment you walked into church and saw those big vases full of roses they're gonna pass out.
Now you have a decision to make. Do you pretend to have a stomach ache during service and quickly run to Walgreens while she thinks you're in the restroom with intestinal problems? Do you sneak into the kid's Sunday School room and throw together a homemade card like you did when you were a kid and risk getting glitter in your stubble? Or do you sit there and craft a beautifully worded Facebook post as her "gift" and tag her in it so she'll see it when she gets home and pretend that was your terrible plan all along?
How about none of those?!
Instead, after service (or DURING, if you are bold enough) serenade her with one of these special "Mom Hymns":
Happy Mother's Day!
Matt Coker is the Ministry Director of The Back Row. He is married to a beautiful woman he met when they were both in youth group and they have one mischievous son together. Matt collects Funko Pop figures, loves time travel movies, and enjoys jerky meats. You can contact Matt via the contact page or on Twitter at @MatthewSCoker.
In an upcoming Back Row Podcast, we will be playing "Faithful Feud", where two players will go head to head in answering Family-Feud-style questions about the church and Christian culture. The more responses we get from our readers, the better the game will be!
We've received our 100 poll responses and have all we need this time around! Thank you to everyone who were able to participate and also to anyone who is a little too late. Don't worry, we'll need more of these in the future, so be on the lookout.
The answers gathered from this poll will be featured on Episode 10 of The Back Row Podcast.
Back Row Brody | @BackRowBrody
Ever since Miss Piggy stopped returning my calls, I've been one lonely man puppet. Everybody has always told me that Christian girls need to be wooed in just the right way, so clearly, I assumed that meant they loved "Christian Pick-Up Lines".
So, in my seemingly eternal search for love, I try out the Ultimate List (with mixed results).
Brody the Puppet is a puppet. Named Brody. He's been fired from the Church's Puppet Ministry and has been banned from Children's Church. He takes no guff and pulls no punches. He thinks Elmo is a straight up punk. He is also infrequently on Twitter. Currently, you can contact him at @BackRowBrody.
Corey Wade | @cwadepga
What is one of the most things about Christianity is that somehow we have managed to make ourselves a culture, within a culture, within a culture. What I mean by this is that: 1. We are different than the lost world (or SHOULD be), and; 2. People within the body of Christ are very different from one another (every tongue, tribe, nation, sports team, and pronunciation of Augustine). This creates a delightful subculture which has its own traits and practices that are unique, and well odd. Let me share with you some of mine. Some may refer to these as superstitions, but…………Jesus.
Don’t say the “D” word: As a young married’s Sunday School teacher this comes up a lot. The “D” word here is divorce. We can't even acknowledge its existence. If you even have this word in your vocabulary and utter it at any time, a judge will spring out from behind a pew and force you and your spouse to separate and move to differing countries. You have been warned.