The Circus is in Town! 3 Little Lessons

The Circus is in Town! 3 Little Lessons

                           Kurios. How do they do that?

I am trying to be anti-“stuff.” You know – “Don’t get me a fabulous expensive diamond ring…too gauche.” “Oh, exclusive designer handbag? Names don’t impress.” At times I succeed and my friends and family abide with my decision. But sometimes stuff can be pretty awesome too – like my birthday Jesus-pepper-grinder. But I digress. Lately, I have been asking for experiences instead of things. Unfortunately for my dear spouse, Tom, I still have expensive taste. This year, I asked for tickets to Cirque du Soleil (see the official trailer here).
After taking out a second mortgage on our home to pay for the tickets, we headed off to the big tent. And it did not disappoint. The costumes! The sets! The music! And then there was the phenomenal ability of the performers to move their bodies in ways that both thrilled and terrified. It was a “wow.” Four-stars.

Throughout the show, I kept thinking how could such a spectacle possibly relate to the church… because that’s the kind of church-nerd I am. Here are three ways:
1. Cirque du Soleil reinterpreted the circus. Some of the key elements of the circus endure (costumes, music, performers) but now it’s different (more of a story, no “ring,” and no animals). Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey are gone – but the reinvented Cirque remains.  How are you re-imagining your church for this new age?
2. Cirque du Soleil failed miserably when it started. There were lots of fits and starts. They took financial hits and almost went under several times. But they persisted. It took a full ten years before it became a profitable “Cirque du Soleil.” Are you so afraid of failing that you won’t try something new? If you do fail, do you throw in the towel or does it make you refocus and forge ahead?
3. Cirque du Soleil creates an awe-filled experience. For two hours, the circus engages almost all of your senses. You’re filled with a sense of wonder. You’re transported from the ordinary to the extraordinary. With the hour you have, how are you engaging the senses of your congregation? Do you usually, occasionally, or rarely discern people are leaving your doors knowing that they’ve had an encounter with Some-thing or Some-one bigger than themselves (i.e., the Lord of all)?
Just like the church, the circus is known as a place full of misfits and odd people. It’s also a place full of amazingly talented, creative, and funny people. The church, like all of us, needs to evolve which means (probably) failure before success. But most important, at its core, the church can be a place where everyone can be touched and moved and encouraged to laugh. Send in the clowns, the circus is in town.

My Jesus-pepper-grinder

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. Next on her experience wish list? Of course, “Hamilton.” She was the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with churches. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity.
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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.