Monday, June 18, 2012

Letting Jeremiah Blow Out the Candles

Many Sundays after I give the benediction, I ask Jeremiah (the little boy to the right) to blow out the candles. He isn't that tall. He sometimes stands on a chair to blow them out. I have considered the possibility that we might started a fire that burns The Red Brick Church down, which would be tragic, really, since the building is over 100 years old.

But Jeremiah likes blowing out the candles, and I think it's worth the risk. In fact, for several reasons I think it's really important to let Jeremiah blow out the candles.
  1. As a pastor, it's my chance to remind Jeremiah that I know him by name. Every time I ask Jeremiah, I give him a little reminder that his pastor knows him personally. There are dozens, even hundreds of people about, and he is reminded that he is known.
  2. It reminds me to pray for Jeremiah. In addition to saying a silent prayer that we wouldn't torch the building, asking Jeremiah to blow out the candles reminds me to pray that someday he would be a great, godly leader. I pray that the gospel would take root in his heart. I pray that he knows that we love him.
  3. Asking Jeremiah to blow out the candles is a small way to teach him that he is needed. We remind our people that God makes bricks with a building in mind. Christians are living stones and God never makes a brick for the purpose of it being thrown out in the weeds somewhere. We are to be mortared together in community. We need one another.
  4. It lets Jeremiah's parents know that I am thinking of their son.
  5. Being the shepherd of children blesses my heart. Preparing for ministry was a great deal of work. I left a corporate job and went to seminary after a degree in chemistry and an MBA. I earned two seminary degrees and I've memorized Scripture until I can't see straight and bought thousands of books. But I can say from the bottom of the heart, "It is worth of it when I think of the chance to be Jeremiah's pastor."
I have a dream. Someday, after I am long since buried, I dream that someone will ask Jeremiah what he remembers about his church growing up. I dream that he'll say:
Well the pastor was sort of weird. He wasn't near as funny as he thought he was and he occasionally preached too long. But be was super passionate about Jesus and the Bible and one of my favorite memories is that he used to ask me to blow out the candles. I always liked doing that, right up until the day we started the fire."
Chris Brauns is the Pastor of The Red Brick Church and the author of Unpacking Forgiveness and When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search. You can follow him on Twitter at ChrisBrauns.


Pk Anane said...

:) By far one of the best articles on ministry I've ever read..for those of us who have been called we know that it things like this that matter, not the corporate or educational packages.. God bless you Sir.. you just strengthened a Jonah

Chris Brauns said...

Thanks so much "Pk Anane". That is very encouraging.

Shannon Popkin said...

I know so many 'bricks' who just want to be known. They would stand tall and strong in the building that the Builder has in mind, if only someone invited them to come be a part, and helped them unwrap their unique gifts.

I'll bet 'candle blower' is precurser to a very, very important job in the building. Jeremiah is so fortunate to have a pastor who sees this.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like my grandson Jeremiah, alright. Keep up the good work; But I am sure he will have very happy memories about his experiences there...

Jerry said...

I am sure my grandson Jeremiah fits this job very well. I do not believe he will have any thought that is was weird, but something to well remember.