Churches and water balloons

Sitting in a dunking booth at a children’s water day is a wake up.

Cold water splashed on me as children enjoyed hitting the target to dump water on the preacher. We raised money for a playground and we had fun. It was part of our ‘water day’. Kids threw water balloons, slid down a homemade water slide, played various Bible themed water games, and laughed. They laughed and laughed and never stopped. The adult helpers enjoyed their turn at humbling the pastor and other lucky candidates. And they laughed all day. Before it was over adults were splashing buckets of water all over each other and hitting one another with water balloons.

I’ve never seen a more beautiful image of the church.

We had our water day after a great morning of Bible study and worship. It was a simple ordinary July service. Announcements of upcoming events followed by prayer, hymns, solo, and a sermon made up our morning. And then after a quick lunch of hot-dogs we played in the hot July sun.

After six years I can still say my church is a beautiful group of people.

We don’t always agree but thankfully more people come in the front door than the back door. We have our differences. We’ve had meetings were we didn’t always agree. But the image of a church that laughs together is the image I want to always have in my mind even when meetings can go long and tedious details can be debated.

Being a church that can laugh together isn’t so easy these days.

Churches are dividing and fighting. The issues of our day are debated on television and then on Face Book. Churches have always been divided on political issues of our day but now seem to mirror those debates and divide just like everyone else. Most folks stay home. They don’t want more stress so why bother? The result of all this is that church attendance slumps, the offering plate becomes lighter, and the energy goes flat.

So maybe churches need to learn to have more fun together. It’s hard to argue with someone you spent the day laughing with as you tossed a water balloon in their direction. It’s difficult to divide over a different opinion if you have just had them dunk you in a booth.
Our world is scary. Our world is fussy. Our world is divided. Churches mirror this way too much.

In the years I have been a pastor I’ve noticed the folks who don’t laugh together and enjoy this type of fellowship are the ones who have the energy to fight.

Maybe our denominational and religious organizations need to schedule a water day. Perhaps all of us need to take one another less seriously and learn to enjoy a hot-dog and slide down a hill.

Grab a water balloon and let’s go!

Derik Hamby

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Dr. Derik Hamby serves as pastor of Randolph Memorial Baptist in Madison Heights, Va. He enjoys history, religion, movies, music, and pop culture.

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