A weekend at Grace Family Church goes like this for me:
2:00 – 3:00pm Prep for service
3:00 – 8:45pm Preservice walk around, meetings, services
5:00 – 6:45am Wake up, devotions, breakfast
7:00 – 8:00am Prayer in the sanctuary
8:00am – 1:30pm Preservice walk around, services
In one twenty-four hour span, I will spend around fifteen of those hours dedicated to the services at GFC. I don’t have to do it this way – it is my choosing. Over the years, this allows me to eliminate challenges (most of them) before the services start and get myself ready. It is the best chance to see as much of the GFC Van Dyke congregation as possible and i want to maximize it. I truly enjoy talking with so many of them – I am enthused, amazed and excited to see how God is working in their lives.
When I leave to go home after services, I am tired. Physically, mentally and even emotionally, I am drained. I have grown in my extraversion. I am naturally more introverted and that can be difficult when over 7,000 people walk in your door each week. Realizing this challenge, Kristin started something a few years ago that has become “my favorite hour of the week.” She does Sunday lunch. The ground rules are simple if you are a Tampa Bonham: Lunch starts at 2pm, you do not have to come if you have other plans, you do not have to bring anything, no cell phones and if you cook, you do not have to clean up. I write “Tampa Bonham” for a reason – we have “adopted” a number of young adults and families over the years. If you have made it to the table , you are welcome to come to lunch anytime after that.
What would a Sunday lunch look like? Great question. If you are envisioning a Norman Rockwell painting, you are wrong. I will say, Kristin does an amazing job of doing all of her responsibilities at the church over the weekend. Then, she will race home and prepare a great meal to feed the clan. It might look Americana picturesque when we say grace, but for the most part, it looks a lot like “Rock Em, Sock Em” robots after that. Some days are pretty quiet and “normal” like you would expect after all of us being at church all morning. Other days, that is where you would be surprised. We have a lot more “noise” around the table. We have the worship leaders telling about their song sets and how it went, people telling about their big event of the week, the latest video on You Tube, Casey and Tyler usually do their “back and forth” in a foreign accent, all while passing food. Our table has grown where we have chairs crammed elbow to elbow – I honestly think we love the challenge and the closeness of it all. Finally, we often to celebrate. Birthdays, Anniversaries, big life events, highs and lows…it is a fun time.
How could something so crazy and chaotic be “recharging” for me. Even I am amazed how much I look forward to it and enjoy it after a long weekend. It is simple – it is family. Each of them have a story that is so intimate to mine. Even those who are there only once seem to add to the joy of it….and they get dubbed “Tampa Bonham.” When Kristin and I are out-of-town, the kids all work out who and how the meal is going to happen. We have had as little at four of us and we have done it with twenty-four people in different rooms. It is one hour of the week, where we all take off our jobs, roles, titles, responsibilities and just focus on our relationships.
Why write about it…It’s a weekday and I am already looking forward to Sunday!