Saturday, January 8, 2011

Does Snowzilla go to church?

It's time for that nearly annual conundrum we have in the South.  According to the National Weather Service, we're due for a "winter storm" and potential "snow/sleet event" around here.

Now, various people are already laughing.  Tricia Goyer, deservedly world-famous author that has recently moved from Montana to Little Rock has questioned our response to the few inches.  Other friends around the uncivilized-lands of New York, Montana, and the like have mocked us Southerners.

However, it's important to note a few things: 1. We don't have snowplows down here. 2. "Snow event" rapidly degenerates into "ice event" which means you can't drive. Not "we can't drive," but nobody can. You don't learn to drive on ice, you learn to crash into the softest thing available. 3. Yes, it really is that bad. 4. Dirt roads don't freeze hard enough to drive on. You'd think the frozen mud would stay frozen, but it won't.

Since this mess is arriving on Sunday, and most of us are traditionalists that still have church on Sunday nights, it's a great time to answer the question:

Do you cancel church because of bad weather?

Now, this isn't about true chaos weather like the Nashville Floods or Hurricane Katrina where the National Guard is out or the roads just don't exist.  Where it is physically not possible to get to the church location. We're talking about the 2 inches of snow, 1/4 inch of ice that we're forecast to receive.

Many of us preachers are of divided mind on this.  Why?

Well, click here and read this link of what American military POW's went through for having church in a North Vietnamese camp. Consider the brothers and sisters meeting in secret, tramping through snow to meet in unheated caves to worship.  You start to get the feeling that a little snow and ice shouldn't hold us back.

However, let's add a different viewpoint to this.  Philippians 1:24 highlights Paul's viewpoint, that remaining in the flesh, remaining alive is helpful for the Philippian church. 

So, consider this, church member and pastor before you risk your neck on the streets:

1. If you lose your life to get to church, will reasonable people see it as a sacrifice of faithfulness or the price of foolishness?

2. Is it good stewardship of the resources you have to fix the car and the light pole you hit? Aren't there better ways to spend the money?

3. Pastors: Are you mindful of the people that are going to do whatever it takes to get to church if it's happening? That you are responsible for them getting out if you tell them to? And that having that service is telling them to get out to get there?

4. Are you going to this one service just because it's your personal and traditional habit to do it, and not because it's what you know to be God-honoring?

I firmly believe that consistent involvement with the fellowship of believers is crucial to Christian growth. My life revolves around seeking ways to strengthen churches to strengthen Christians for the work of the Gospel.

However, just as the Sabbath was made for man and not the other way, so the church is not your master, the Lord Jesus Christ is.  Have some common sense.

A backwards glance, though, to catch those folks that canceled at the first "advisory:" don't be a wimp, and build a communication structure to allow for a Sunday AM decision, or a Sunday afternoon one. Discretion is the better part of valor, but consider this: Noah had the only 100% accurate forecast, the rest is speculation.

Therefore, tomorrow morning, I'll be at church. If the flakes start to fall tomorrow and it looks bad, tomorrow night I'll be at home.

Me, you, and Snowzilla can stay home and catch the podcast, because if he shows up at our church, we'll likely all be at home.



  1. Good timing, Doug - we just got about 3 inches of snow last night. Made it to church just fine with some roads sanded and our four-wheel drive, but when it gets icy we stay home. And in these parts, church will be canceled due to weather. As well as using email, in our body, the families are divided into groups "assigned" to various elders who will call us to let us know. Works pretty well from my point of view.


  2. We're working on such organization and modernization. But we're not there yet. So far, we have a hip, cool pastor, but not a major electronic communications network.

    Of course, the coolness of the pastor is related to where he leaves the heat set.



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