It is always a fun and unpredictable time when those who work with children get together! And the highlights of a Children’s Pastors Conference are often from around a table sharing a meal, rather than a workshop or general session – as wonderful and inspiring as they may, in fact, be for helping with one’s ministry. But I’ve long made by Mission one of “Equipping and Encouraging” because I know that laughter is often as needed as another great idea or resource.
In that spirit, one of the highlights of CPC this year, happened not at the conference at all, but as Tom and John and I, joined by some new friends from the shuttle, Darcie and Rebecca, where hanging out at my favorite restaurant in Downtown Disney, The Earl of Sandwhich. When I suggested this location for our pre-conference meal I explained that it was named after the inventor of the sandwich! Which is explained the cups you get your drinks out of:
As a bit of fun, I invited each person at the table to read the cup in their own dramatic fashion, as they would if it were a movie trailer, or as they might for a kids church drama. Then, as it turned out, Josh Baker, one of the children’s pastors at the table, informed us that he actually produces full scale dramatic productions every week at his church. He said he doesn’t do voices, but he could rather, approach the subject matter as he would his weekly topics, as a writer/director. “THEN!” said I, “you must create for us the screen play for the Pastor of Sandwich! What is the children’s pastor’s version of the classic story? How might this simple historical event be seem through the eyes of a children’s pastor? What are we missing? And how might it be presented properly?”
On the spot, Josh amazed us by creating a scene, describing the set, the characters, the situations, and unfolding a story, changing it as he went, adapting to our collaborative input as we contributed to the story as it unfolded. In the end, we figured out that the Earl of Sandwich, must have been a children’s pastor who was too busy getting ready for Sunday to stop for lunch and made the sandwich from left-overs in the church kitchen.
I challenged Josh to finish the manuscript and submit it to me later. Here is the finished work. Soon to be a major motion picture from Walden Media and DreamWorks Productions and Disney as soon as funding is secured.
See what creativity can be inspired and spurred when children’s pastors get together and share a sandwich? Creative fellowship is the best fellowship!
THE PASTOR OF SANDWICH
By: Pastor Josh Baker
Capital Baptist Church, Annadale VA
Dedicated to the work of Kidology.org
and the shared fellowship of friends over what else? A sandwich.
Pastor: P (dressed in vintage “Dickens era” clothing if available)
Props: desk, chair, desk lamp, books, pencil or feathered quill (older looking on first five items the better to set the proper time period) paper, trash can, bread, chicken leg, bread knife
[scene opens with P sitting behind a big old desk that is littered with papers, open and closed books, a dimly-lit desk lamp, and an overflowing wastepaper basket near the desk on the floor. P has got his head down looking over his work, head is leaning on left hand, with his fingers spread through his messy, unkempt hair. His right hand nervously taps a well-worn pencil now lacking an eraser.]
Lighting: very dim with just a soft glow, almost candlelight, over the desk.
Music: if available, some instrumental medieval time period or classical Dickens style music could be played softly in the background
(N speaks from a microphone off stage and out of sight)
N: Our scene opens in the English land of Sandwich, Kent, a historic town in southeast England. It was late at night on a Saturday evening in the dead of winter back in the seventeen hundreds…
N: In a scene that would remind one of the classics like Dickens and Scrooge, we find a haggardly looking pastor of children burning the midnight oil seeking inspiration for his message needing to be done for morning worship at his church in Sandwich just a few hours away…
N: Unfortunately, for those of you who write or are thusly employed to provide inspiration to those who seemingly have none, you would know that often when inspiration must be rushed due to deadlines, it is in this time, that inspiration often fails oneself.
N: Thus the night becomes long as one struggles to force a story from one’s brain, all the while praying to God that He would provide where you have found yourself lacking.
N: It was in such a state of mind we find poor Master Montagu, a tireless worker of the church. It is likely that had there not been a hearth and pantry at the church, Montagu would have starved to death many a time over as these late nights were a common practice. But as it was, the church pantry was often found littered with remnants of feasts and celebrations gone by to which Montagu survived his late night writings.
[P exits his desk and goes backstage. He then returns eating a chicken leg and a loaf of bread.]
N: In this time, long before pizza delivery and Chinese take-out, Montagu often relied on appetizer remnants of fruits and vegetables. When he found himself particularly blessed, he would find leftover meat and bread.
P: Tis blessed I am this night! For I have meat and bread! (sitting back down at his desk, he realizes both his hands are full and he can not write)
P: Tis good food, but alas! For I can not work and eat at the same time in such a manner as this! Cursed be I! (pausing to survey the situation deeper and think about what he should do) Wait! Cursed be not I! For I have been blessed with an idea! If I were to take my bread and cut it in two and then place my meat between it, then I could have a free hand in which to write and I also would not get so messy!
[P goes about cutting the bread in two and putting the chicken leg in between and then holding up his creation proudly for all to see.]
P: I do believe I have something here! I believe others will soon be asking to have what I have here in my church of Sandwich- they will be calling to have “the same as Sandwich!”
[P begins to munch on his creation while he puts his head back down to his studies and returns to thinking.]
P (thinking out loud sadly): If only I could be as inspired by God’s Word as I am with this meat and bread tonight! (momentary pause as he thinks) Wait! I do believe I have it!
P (turning to his paper, he begins to scribble quickly and excitedly with his pencil in one hand and the sandwich in his other):
There once was a group of people, quite large indeed you see, that sought the words and inspiration of a Man, calling to them to follow…and yet they were hungry, distracted from his Words. And so the man called out to his disciples and ask them to seek out bread and meat in which to serve the people, but his disciples said unto him, Master! There are too many of them! We shall surely not feed them all!
Despite their disbelief, they sought out amongst the crowd anyone who could provide a creative solution to their problem. Found among the masses was just one small boy with nothing more then a few pieces of bread and a couple fish, mere leftovers most likely from the home pantry and a feast of the night before.
But what inspiration and solution it would provide to the Master! For the humble offering was combined together and miraculously multiplied and the masses were fed while the Master continued to speak!
Boys and girls, if we humbly seek to take what is available to us that the Lord provides and then use our Lord as the source of inspiration towards its use, it can become a blessing to many!
[P setting his pencil down and looking at his sandwich for a moment and then lifting his eyes to heaven:]
P: Thank you God for taking a humble leftover and an ordinary Pastor and combining the two to show the kids how you can combine what others have left behind and a searching soul to bring about a message of blessing!
Lighting: fades out as the P gets up from his desk, turns off his desk lamp and quietly leaves, eating his sandwich.