Statistics have shown church attendance is on the decline. People are disengaged with religion. And evagnelism just ain’t what it used to be.
Something has got to be done, but what?
If you’re the Rev. Tom Eggebeen of Covenant Presbyterian Church, you realize church attendance is going to the dogs. So if you can’t beat it, join it.
So Eggebeen came up with a hair-raising idea: He would turn God’s house into a doghouse by offering a 30-minute service complete with individual doggie beds, canine prayers and an offering of dog treats.
He hopes it will reinvigorate the church’s connection with the community, provide solace to elderly members and, possibly, attract new worshippers who are as crazy about God as they are about their four-legged friends.
Really? Can you imagine. I suppose this helped most of the octogenarians that attend church, but was it really uplifting? And did we discover if all dogs really go to heaven?
Traditionally, conventional Christians believe that only humans have redeemable souls, said Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
“It’s the changing family structure, where pets are really central and religious communities are starting to recognize that people need various kinds of rituals that include their pets,” she said. “More and more people in mainline Christianity are considering them to have some kind of soul.”
There are many people who believe dearly departed puppies will be at the golden gates when they arrive, but don’t we need to jump start the two-legged folk in church first?
Emma Sczesniak came to Covenant for the first time, lured by the promise that she could worship with her black Lab, Midnight, and her wire-haired Dachshund-terrier mix, Marley.“I don’t have any kids, so my pets have always been my children, so it does mean a lot,” she said of the dog-inclusive service. “I haven’t been to church in a long time and this may push me into it. I’m getting older and I’ve been thinking about those things again.”
I suppose whatever works, so good on Eggebeen for thinking of it. My only prayer is that after these aloof church spectators are “pushed into it” they discover the real reason of why they should be there in the first place.
However, in case Eggebeen needs other ideas to trick up service, here’s some suggestions:
- Announce to the Presbyterian Church that “dogma” is hereby redefined. (Where’s that rim shot?)
- Present your illustrated sermon series about the Church going to the dogs. Or perhaps “The Stench of Sin.” I think it may be more convincing than you think.
- Since you have a church full of older people, I’m sure one of the gentlemen in attendance battles a case of the holders during your message. Now, he can have someone to blame it on. (I know, kinda gets ya’ right in the heart, eh?)
- Petition Pope Benedict for a new assortment of saints that’s sure to get some news: Canonize Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Toto, Duke from the “Beverly Hillbillies”, Eddie from “Frasier” and of course Fang from “Harry Potter”. It is in L.A. after all.
- Have Snoop Dogg be a guest speaker during a morning homily. It makes sense, and never mind the whole Muslim thing. You’ll diversify your church for sure, my nizzle.