When you go to college and then graduate school to prepare for ministry you take all kinds of classes. I took classes in preaching, theology, pastoral counseling, practical theology, church history, church administration, psychology, sociology and probably more that I cannot remember. In all those classes that were preparing me for a life spent in local church ministry there was one class that I never took…roof snow shoveling.
At first glance one might ask why that course would be needed at all? Asking why, is a valid thing to do. To my friends in the southern part of the United States and in various warm climates it would be a waste of their time. However, in the snow covered land of Western Michigan where I reside, it seems shoveling snow off roofs is a daily occurrence. In fact, I have spent just as much time shoveling snow off the roof in the past couple weeks as I have in all areas of my job, except preaching. I have learned two very important things for the future.
The first thing I have learned is function over fashion. Our church has a nice looking roof with multiple roof lines, but multiple roof lines means snow and ice are not going anywhere! With the abundance of snow we have received the buildup has created leaks all over the building.
Function over fashion definitely applies to our church body. If everything on the outside is glitzy and sparkles, but it is only a façade then it is not really that valuable. However, if the Spirit keeps doing diligent work in the life of our people than our community of faith will be a beacon of light to our neighbors. I hope we keep living lives that keep the ice from building up and causing leaks. I pray God will help us to be a people who are transformed by His presence.
I said I learned two things from the snow shoveling of the roof. The second is that the next person we hire here will have a background in manual labor and not be afraid of heights. We won’t discriminate by gender, but if you can’t shovel or are afraid of heights, don’t bother applying!