This morning I worshiped at two of the small United Methodist Churches that dot the Arkansas countryside. Griffithsville, Dogwood and Ellis Chapel are what is known in Methodism as a three-point charge – three small congragations that share a pastor. The dedicated, enthusiastic, energetic, recently-called preacher at these churches holds three services each Sunday, at 8:30, 9:30 and 11:00. This week he is in Pastor’s School at Mount Eagle and asked me to conduct services at two of the churches, presumably hesitating to ask me to do what he does every single week of the year.
Dogwood had a larger than usualy crowd for its 9:30 service. This was homecoming, when former members came to gather at the church they grew up in, greet old friends and to walk through the cemetery. The kitchen counter was filled with food for the pot luck at noon. After the 11:00 service at Griffithsville, I drove the five miles back to Dogwood for lunch because I could never pass up a Methodist potluck dinner. The celebration continued most of the afternoon with singing and fellowship.
It is said that the United Methodist connectional system insures a church for every pastor and a pastor for every church. This is true, though some churches have more than one pastor and many pastors have more than one church. God bless our local pastors.