We spend significant energy at our church educating members about the expectations, rewards, and pitfalls of church membership. It takes enough of my time that I've been fantasizing how to outsource some of the workload. It would seem to me that there needs to be an internship for those who want to try out church membership; some sort of program that would acclimate one to the church experience without the full brunt of moral obligation, potlucks, and committee work. I've come up with just such a program. I call it "Groupie Church" and here is the rough draft of my proposal. (Please begin by planting tongue firmly in cheek.)
The goal of Groupie Church is to prepare interns for the expectations, rewards, and difficulties of church membership. Groupie Church achieves this through church life simulation in a relatively consequence free environment - your local dank honky tonk bar.
Those at Groupie Church, Back Pew Level begin their experience by choosing a local band to follow for a year. Initial obligation is to attend all public performances of the band for 3-6 months. At this level interns learn the values of loyalty and dependability.
Loyalty - maybe you wanted to watch "Firefly" re-runs this Friday, but THE BAND is playing so you go to some stinky hole in the wall with bad acoustics and expensive beer instead. (The church equivalent is: skipping sporting events, gardening, and golf to attend services.)
Dependability - Their mamas won't come. Their honeys won't come. Their drinking buddies only come to the cheap joints, but THE BAND knows to count on your presence at all of their gigs. They reward your dependability by regularly dedicating songs in your honor like "Crusty Old Witch" and "Yeah, But I Was Drunk." (The church equivalent is: the minister remembers your name.)
After 3-6 months at Back Pew Level and with permission of THE BAND, interns may proceed to Groupie Church, Evangelist Level. See future posts.