Confirmation class is getting into full swing. I always used to dread teaching Confirmation for various reasons - I just erased a rant about that (because ranting about things that happened in the past at another church doesn't do anything except raise my blood pressure). Anyway, the gist of what I was getting at was that I don't have the same problem here. The kids who are in Confirmation class are the same kids who have been in Sunday School and church all along. Their parents are involved in the life of the church - whether it's just attending regularly (as is the case with one family), or participating in activities (one mother just joined the bell choir), or teaching and/or leading ministries. These are good kids and they are all a part of the life of the church. I'm excited to be teaching them.
The one problem about teaching is that I forgot some other things that I needed to do... Like test the sound levels of my new microphone! It is a Shure wireless lavalier microphone that the board approved me to purchase in our board meeting last Monday (Brian B gave me the recommendation on this one, and the board wanted me to have what I wanted) - so I went online and bought it Tuesday, and it arrived Thursday! I went to the sanctuary and tried it out on Friday and had everything set except that I wasn't sure of the sound levels... it's hard to know how loud is loud enough.
As it was, the levels turned out to be pretty good. And let me tell you, I loved being out and able to preach in front of the congregation, no lecturn or pulpit in the way. But for those who were upset about the pulpit, I made a concession (I was pretty proud of having this idea). I switched out the great big (wide) pulpit with the thinner pulpit from the Sunday School side. Then I put the thinner pulpit all the way over on the side, and I read the scripture from it and did the prayer requests from it. That way it was still there and used (and there's a microphone there in case there is a guest speaker or something), but I didn't have to be behind it. And with the wireless microphone, I didn't even need a music stand (which, for some reason, multiple people don't like. I, for one, think we have a lot more important things to think about than "I think the music stand looks ugly" but I'll let it go). :-)
One way this made me stretch was that I have been preaching from a manuscript, and without a pulpit or music stand, well, let's just say that there's no place to hide a manuscript. So I made myself an outline and put it in view so I could refer to it when needed. Hopefully I'll be able to wean myself away from even that. I think I do a better job of delivery without it.
But the down side of the service was the numbers. If you know me, you know that I'm not caught up in the numbers - that's not what's most important to me. But I see numbers as important indicators. If we are constantly running high numbers, it means something. If we have low numbers, it also means something. Our women's quartet got to share at another church, but that just accounts for them (and, in a couple cases, for their families). It doesn't account for just how few people we had. It is disheartening to prepare as much as I did and to have so few people in attendance.
But it was fun doing a new Michael Neale song (we did "Hallelujah to the King" from his 2007 "No Greater Audience").