Sauerkraut and Children’s Ministry–Stating the Obvious
A got an e-mail from a friend yesterday suggesting that sauerkraut does not get enough attention in children’s ministry circles. At first I thought he was just nuts, but on further reflection, it occurred to me that there can be some similarities.
Dictionary.com defines sauerkraut as:
cabbage cut fine, salted, and allowed to ferment until sour.
I define it as the all permeating and nauseating smell that would great me from time to time when I walked in the house and my dad had decided it was time for “something different.”
I like cabbage, in fact my favorite food of all time if Stuffed Cabbage. But, there is something about sauerkraut which is so off-putting that I can hardly stand to be in the same room when it is being prepared.
I’m not a picky eater. I would probably be healthier if I were a little more picky in terms of what I would eat. There is a very short list of things which I dislike so much that I just can’t eat them, and sauerkraut happens to be on that list. In fact, I had been married over 10 years before my wife, on a whim, one day decided that she wanted sausage and sauerkraut for dinner one night. She had no idea about my aversion to it. Anyhow, she spent as long as it takes to make sauerkraut (don’t know, don’t care) and had it simmering in the oven (???) when I got home from work. After 20+ years, that smell took me back, and not in a good way. I tried to eat it that night, I really did. The cabbage itself didn’t taste bad, but I just couldn’t get over that smell! In fact, I can smell it today as I sit here writing this article.
So, what does any of this have to do with children’s ministry? I asked myself that same question. My first thought was of Isaiah 3:24 from The Message “translation” of the Bible:
Instead of wearing seductive scents, these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages;
That didn’t really fit though. Here’s what I came up with. The analogy might be a little bit of a stretch, but I think there is truth in it.
Our children’s ministries are like sauerkraut because, all to often, we allow them to ferment in their own juices. We come up with a great plan, cast a winning vision and set the wheel in motion, then we allow our ministry to sit there fermenting in its own juices until it puts out an odor so pungent that people entering the building are just put off by it.
The moral of today’s story:
Don’t waste the cabbage of your children’s ministry by letting it turn into sauerkraut!
Disclaimer: Today’s lesson does not work well with the 0.34% of the human population who actually enjoys sauerkraut.