Sports Strengthen Scottsdale Congregation
October 30, 2018
A local Scottsdale church has been reporting steadily increasing congregation numbers thanks to the addition of various sporting activities for both youth and adult members. The church has found that families are significantly more active in church activities when there are sports involved. The Scottsdale church has found that sports lead families to be much more social with other families, which grows lasting bonds with one another and creates a stronger Christian community.
Some of the church sporting activities that have had the best turnouts are group golf outings, youth soccer games, family softball events, and church bowling nights. These events have proven to not only bring out families that are already within the congregation but also new families who weren’t previously members. A lot of people can be a bit hesitant to join a new faith community, however, group sporting events seem to take the edge off and make joining a church more fun and welcoming.
On a particular Saturday golf event, the Scottsdale congregation had four families who weren’t already members in its church show up to play golf. There, the congregation had a group golf lesson where they learned to putt and received some amazing golf putting tips. After the event, all of those four families decided to go to church the next day (Sunday). They were asked why they decided to join, and they all answered that they had such a nice time playing golf with the other families that they would like to visit the church.
Another event that turned out well was bowling. Similar to golf, multiple families from within and outside the congregation showed up and played a couple games of bowling on a Saturday. On Sunday, the families that weren’t previously members of the church decided to go to mass with their new friends.
It seems that choosing sports that members of all age groups can have fun playing, no matter their physical fitness has the best results. The other sports mentioned, youth soccer and family softball games, are great to strengthen the congregation but are better for families that are already comfortable with each other.
Here at http://calvaryscottsdale.com/ we think sports is a fantastic way to strengthen your congregation.
Rats In The Church Basement
August 4, 2018
The Scottsdale Church Has Rats
We were notified Sunday that there were rats in the basement of the Scottsdale location. The basement is used to store boxes containing props, decoration, and various other items used through the year for religious holidays. Christmas and Easter decorations top that list. We also keep tables and chairs there for the events when we host weekend celebrations. While taking inventory for the upcoming holiday season, one of our members noticed that there were some unwelcome guests living in the basement. There were multiple rats spotted when the lights turned on, they quickly scurried through an opening in the wall that led to the exterior of the property. This was a bit concerning because of the potential hazards they pose for disease. Rat droppings can spread diseases like hantavirus and can become deadly for children and the elderly. Considering that many of these decorations are placed out on tables with food and beverages during holiday events it was important that not only did we cover the hole in the wall, wash all of our linens and props, but that we also treated the property for rats and other rodents that may take a liking to the basement of the property. Our Scottsdale location is an older property and has also had some cockroach problems that need to be treated. We contacted an exterminator in Scottsdale that had experience with pest control in the area and provided an affordable quote and a timeline for the treatment. They were able to come out the next day and treat the property for rats, termites, cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, spiders, and scorpions. We have seen all of these insects on the property at various times during worship hours and figured it would be best to treat the property for everything at the same time. They also set out traps for the rats, we would rather have them captured and killed then poisoned and wondering off into the walls of the church and dying off. Because the property is older and the surrounding area has older buildings that are not maintained we opted in to on-going maintenance. They will be out monthly to spray the property and check the traps for rats. This should provide us with a sanitary property to worship and enjoy fellowship during the holidays without having to worry about infestations and disease.
The Most Wonderfully Painful Time of the Year
December 11, 2018
Christmas reminds us that faith in the future does not erase our pain in the present.
Several years ago, when my son Quinn was in kindergarten, he opened a present on Christmas morning, and he was not happy with what he saw. He set it aside, looked up at me, and declared, “We’re gonna need a receipt for that one.” I made a mental note to start working on gratitude with him as soon as the wrapping paper was all picked up. Yet, at the same time, I heard in his words the ordinary wish of the masses of humanity: We are given this gift called life and, oftentimes, as we unwrap it, there are parts of it we would like to return.
Usually, we want a receipt for the painful parts.
For instance, several months ago, I dropped Quinn off for his first day of fifth grade. The long line of cars was moving slowly, so I had time to watch him walk onto the playground. He stood there, alone, nervously rubbing the straps of his backpack, scanning the crowd for just one friendly face. He turned in circles and searched in vain. My stomach clenched. As a psychologist, I know kids need moments like this to build resilience—to learn they can survive it—but the father in me was about to pull over and get out anyway. Then, the line sped up and I was forced to move on, leaving my son lonely and looking. I knew he’d eventually find his friends—moments of loneliness always precede moments of belonging, that’s just the way it is—but eventually wasn’t good enough for me.
I wanted to skip over the painful part.
It’s Christmastime now, and as I watch my kids make wish lists and sing in Christmas pageants and open an Advent calendar, memories of my own childhood are revived, like ghosts from Christmases past. Specifically, I recall the church I attended when I was Quinn’s …
There’s Nothing Sketchy About Cross-Gender Friendships in the Church
December 11, 2018
Why we shouldn’t let the Billy Graham Rule—or the “Billy Crystal Rule”—define how men and women relate.
Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” Harry Burns, played by Billy Crystal, famously (or infamously) spoke those words in the 1989 romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally. That line contained a multitude of messages, not all of them intentional, about gender relations, identity, and worth. Regardless of the direction the film took or the reception it got, that idea represented an all too widespread school of thought—one that isn’t flattering either to women or to the concept of friendship.
When Harry Met Sally was, of course, a mainstream secular rom-com—exactly the sort of source our churches didn’t want us to consult for ideas about romance and sexuality. So it’s ironic, Aimee Byrd suggests in her book, Why Can’t We Be Friends?: Avoidance Is Not Purity, that much of the church has wholeheartedly embraced what she calls the “Billy Crystal rule.”
“In a complete contradiction of our fight to uphold a biblical understanding of sexuality,” Byrd writes, “Hollywood became our teacher on relationships and gender after all. The church sent messages that a woman’s attractiveness serves the purpose of landing a husband, then becomes a threat to all other men. My sexuality became a barrier to friendship.”
Brothers and Sisters
Her words resonate with those of us Christians who have been warned all our lives by various Christian teachers and leaders about the dangers of cross-gender friendships. There’s no reason you need to spend any time together alone. (Or meet for lunch. Or have any unsupervised communications.) The temptations are just too great. Bad things can’t happen if you don’t let the …
Spike in house fires has Red Cross, Phoenix Fire warning of holiday home hazards
December 11, 2018
Officials say people should keep an eye on Christmas trees, candles and heating elements, such as central heating and portable heating systems.
Can homeless sleep on the streets? Phoenix area cities are rethinking bans
December 11, 2018
Phoenix area cities are rethinking bans against homeless sleeping on streets
2018 holiday events in Scottsdale for the family
December 10, 2018
There are many seasonal events in Scottsdale to get the family into the holiday spirit. Choose from musicals, ice skating, light shows and more.
How homebuyers can protect themselves from bad flips
December 10, 2018
Many electrical, plumbing and foundation problems are hard to find in renovated homes so check out these tips and hire an experienced inspector.
Arizona wrong-way driver blames DPS for crash, injuries
December 9, 2018
Attorneys for a wrong-way driver say a Department of Public Safety sergeant is responsible for a crash that injured the driver and the sergeant.
Pack your patience, check your car and take it slow for holiday travel in Arizona
December 9, 2018
Law-enforcement officials ask travelers to slow down and pack their patience as they drive Arizona roads during a busy and dangerous holiday season.
I Was a Comedian First and an Atheist Second
December 8, 2018
Until God showed me that there’s more to life than making people laugh.
For the longest time, comedy was my religion. As a stand-up comedian, I performed in bars, theaters, and restaurants that functioned, essentially, as my churches. If you asked about my theological perspective, I would have replied that I was a comedian first and an atheist second. For me, a Christian life and a comedian’s life were polar opposites. I was only interested in getting to the next show and making people laugh.
I grew up in a Methodist church, begrudgingly participating in the yearly Christmas pageant. As one of the three wise men, my costume consisted of an oversized men’s bathrobe that dragged behind my feet like a wedding veil made of shag carpeting. We had no frankincense, so I carried a bottle of cologne in a decorative glass shaped like a pirate ship. The scent of Old Spice would hover around me as I progressed past the stained-glass windows toward the manger scene by the altar.
Nothing specific happened to scar my view of religion. I simply drifted away. In my eyes, I was a good person, and that was all that mattered. Every now and then, I would try attending church or reading the Bible, but the commitment was always short-lived. Whenever I got to Matthew 10:37 (“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”), I would close the book and walk away. The truth is, I was uneasy with the concept of making God the most important thing in my life—more important than your spouse, your child, your dog, or your Xbox. That type of thinking was anathema to me. I was quite clear on my goal in life: I wanted to be a comedian.
Nothing to Say
I attended the (now-closed) Second City Training Center in Cleveland, where I studied improv theater and comedic writing. After …
What We Long for the Church to Do about Sexual Violence
December 8, 2018
Four practical steps churches can take to eliminate sexual violence.
In our first article we shared lessons taken from our work as mental health professionals with survivors of sexual violence. We continue the conversation here by offering further considerations for churches wishing to respond to sexual violence in an informed manner. We do not consider our assertions and recommendations to be exhaustive, but offer them as pieces of an important, broader conversation.
1. Recognize that sexual violence is in the sanctuary.
Given the prevalence rates of various forms of sexual violence, churches must continue coming to terms with the reality that members in their congregations have experienced sexual violence.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report sexual violence involving physical contact at the astounding frequencies of one in three women and one in six men (2018). Child sexual abuse is underreported, but estimated at one in five girls and one in 20 boys (The National Center for Victims of Crime, 2012).
Over 7,000 claims of sexual abuse by church staff, congregation members, volunteers, or the clergy were made to just three insurance companies over a 20-year period (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2007). Recently, a study of over 300 alleged child sexual abuse cases in protestant Christian congregations found the overwhelming majority took place on church grounds, or at the offender’s home, most frequently carried out by Caucasian, male clergy or youth pastors (Denney, Kerley, & Gross, 2018).
Beyond the large number of individuals directly affected by sexual violence, many more lives are impacted indirectly through relationships with family, friends, acquaintances, or in connection to the larger community. Without an acceptance of the scope of this problem, along with the …