Celebrate More, Not Less

Celebrate More, Not Less
Spoiler alert!  It’s graduation season.  And queue Kool and the Gang (and praise Jesus, 80s “style” has passed).  Last night I went to the graduation of a family friend.  I have known this boy, now a man, since he was a toddler so just seeing his senior picture got me all ver klempt.  You can only imagine how I felt seeing him graduate - in person.  I should have bought stock in Kleenex.

Years ago, the wonderful educator Ernest Boyer wrote about ways institutions of higher education could make the college experience richer in, “Campus Life: In Search of Community.”  He described six principles that defined “community”: purposeful, open, just, disciplined, caring, and celebrative.  He might as well have been writing to the church.

The graduation I went to was indeed a bittersweet occasion.  But – and let there be no doubt about it – it was a celebration.  The church, for millennia, has been a place
that recognizes important milestones – baptism, confirmation, weddings, and funerals.  Everyone – those inside and outside the church – affirms that the church usually excels in these life markers.  The church is needed for these events.
What if we, as a community, started celebrating even more?  Someone responded to last week’s blog with We have a couple who are our church’s custodians who have been working here for many years and they just celebrated their 60th anniversary… I need to find a way to recognize them while they are still able to receive it.”  Absolutely.  We need to find ways to celebrate individuals and celebrate collectively what our congregations are doing. 
It’s time to celebrate when you reach a significant marker:
  • In your collection for the food bank
  • The number of kids in Sunday School
  • How many nets you have purchased for Imagine No Malaria
And how might you celebrate?  You can start with
  • A genuine sense of enthusiasm and “thanks”
  • Prayers of thanksgiving
  • Cake and balloons
  • A collective “hooray!”
Once you get in the groove, expand your celebrations to include people outside your congregation.  Imagine inviting the school superintendent or the entire city council for a meet and greet – no agenda – just a time to recognize and thank them for the things they do. Build a time in your service to occasionally recognize and celebrate the police, librarians, and firefighters who make your city a better place to live.
Jesus knew how to celebrate.  And He encouraged us to do the same – rejoice when the lost come home, when the wedding is in full swing, when the thousands are fed.  Don’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate your community more, not less.  Celebrate good times, come on!
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012.  She is researching stock in Kleenex.  Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com.
If someone has forwarded this to you and you would like to subscribe to "Inspiring Generosity," click here.  Miss an issue?  Click here.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.