Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Yesterday was a big day at our house: Chris was able to go to school for the first time since the wreck (Jan. 16) without a wheelchair. - - - - Years ago when we were trying to produce a good, welcoming brochure to Highland, the ministers met around a table to go through as many from other churches as we could. I looked through one from Louisville, went through several more, and then came to one in Little Rock. I said, "Can someone hand me that one from Louisville again?" We held them side-by-side. Both had the exact same family on the front. A beautiful, smiling, Hallmark-card kind of white family who looked like they stepped right out of a Dillard's catalog. They were models! They didn't belong to either church, I'm sure. Probably the man and the woman weren't married, and the kids weren't theirs. But they were the kind of "family" the churches wanted to portray on their brochures. "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers, or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed." (Luke 14:12-13) - - - - A few websites I've mentioned lately at Highland: Eternal Threads (the ministry of a woman from Highland to help women in poverty in India) International Justice Mission Compassion International


  • I'm happy for the progress of your son. That is such a blessing.

    Isn't it odd that we seek those poster-ready-families and they are the least likely to be interested? Ministry is mostly in the gutter, but we are slow to want to go there.

    By Blogger JD, at 5/03/2005 04:53:00 AM  

  • Praise God for Chris' progress! How wonderful to hear of how God is healing him!

    So what kind of "family" or design did Highland choose for its brochure? It is rather sad that so many churches have to fabricate "families" to advertise...I'm not sure that this is what Paul meant when he said he was trying to become all things to all people to bring some to Christ...!

    By Blogger Lisa, at 5/03/2005 05:23:00 AM  

  • Mike - I share your sentiments about churches using cheesy and mis-representational photography more than you know. I do the creative graphic design for Manhattan Church of Christ (NYC) and we just revamped our homepage to greet visitors with faces and images of our real members - instead of our big mission statement.

    Some links:

    Glad Chris is Wheel's-Free!

    By Blogger kenny, at 5/03/2005 05:23:00 AM  

  • Kenny - It looks great (the Manhattan Church site). Good job. I know those people! :)

    Highland just put up a new website (www.highlandchurch.org). The main picture was taken at a ranch just outside town. We wanted a true West Texas look. It's a bunch of our members walking toward the cross. An interesting bit is that the kid with the baseball bat is my son. As it turned out (because of the wreck), he couldn't play baseball this year. But that's so insignificant compared to the larger image: of following in the way of Christ!

    By Blogger Mike, at 5/03/2005 05:31:00 AM  

  • Many years ago when I was a young, wet-behind-the-ears youth minister in Connecticut, Stanley Shipp came to visit our congregation. As it happened, on that Sunday we had a pot luck dinner right after morning worship. I had heard of Stanley and was in awe of him, so, of course, I wanted everthing just "perfect" for him. Well, also visiting that morning was a family from "the other side of the tracks" who, I'm sure came just for the meal. They were smelly, unkempt and loud. They kept interrupting the meal with crying children, family fights and the worst eating habits I'd seen since leaving home. I was embarrassed for Stanley, our church and me. It wasn't until Stanly told me later in the day how much respect he had for our little church that I began to rethink my embarrassment. He said that the family was exactly the kinds of people Jesus would want at his pot lucks. Stanley even mentioned the parable of the banquet and who should be invited to such events. What a lesson I learned that day.

    Thanks for the reminder, Mike.

    By Blogger MarkS, at 5/03/2005 05:44:00 AM  

  • As one who recruits foster parents, I can tell you finding marketing material that matches real life is tough. I think your decision to use real people is the best decision.

    By Blogger Steve Duer, at 5/03/2005 06:23:00 AM  

  • Mike, thanks for reminding us about what we are called to do. It seems like our quarterly potlucks have evolved into church socials and I can't remember the last time we were encouraged by our elders to invite those less fortunate than us. Glad to hear Chris is out of the chair. He'll be tossing a baseball in no time.
    Keith Riley

    By Blogger Keith, at 5/03/2005 06:35:00 AM  

  • This reminds me of the episode of Growing Pains when Maggie's producers wanted to show her with her family at home, showing her to be a typical family woman, who just also happened to be a newscaster. But, instead of using her own family they brought in a cookie cutter family of actors.

    Needless to say the Seaver family wasn't thrilled to be replaced by things that were less than the real thing.

    I guess the attitude is excapism. We see the reality but want to pretend it isn't. People don't want to see themselves, they want to see what they wish they were, if that makes sense.

    With that said, support your friendly neighborhood actors. We're so poor we can't pay attention.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 5/03/2005 07:08:00 AM  

  • Hallelujah and PTL for Chris' jump out of that chair!! He must be thrilled to be back on two feet again. :)

    Wouldn't it be loverly if we could extend an invitation to our neighborhoods to join us in a 'jeans and t-shirts only' Sunday service? So many of our neighbors are concerned how their manner of dress would be accepted in our gatherings - maybe we could let them know it really isn't important by demonstrating it in this manner.
    In Highland's case, maybe a good Sunday for that would be the day following our neighborhood Bar-B-Q - a "Come as you did to the bar-b-q Sunday".

    Have a blest week in Malibu, Mike. Bring back a bottle of the ocean aroma, will ya' please? ;)

    By Blogger Kathy, at 5/03/2005 08:35:00 AM  

  • I hope that Little Rock brochure wasn't from my church! I used to design some of our items, but don't remember one like you describe ... or ever using clip-art photos in them.

    Now someone else designs them, and always uses photos of members.

    The trouble is, they look just like clip-art people ... even though a lot of our members don't!

    By Blogger Keith Brenton, at 5/03/2005 09:30:00 AM  

  • Kathy said:

    "Wouldn't it be loverly if we could extend an invitation to our neighborhoods to join us in a 'jeans and t-shirts only' Sunday service?"

    Yes, Kathy -- that would definitely be loverly! What a great idea! Isn't it time to finally put to rest the idea that we must dress-up for church?

    I absolutely love it when one of our college students presides over Communion wearing jeans, an Adidas t-shirt and flip-flops. I only wish I could get away with preaching in that attire!

    By Blogger Jeff Slater, at 5/03/2005 10:27:00 AM  

  • No, Keith. It wasn't PV. :)

    By Blogger Mike, at 5/03/2005 10:56:00 AM  

  • Keith, which of your members doesn't look like a clip-art person. Surely you're not referring to yourself??.....

    By Blogger don, at 5/03/2005 10:57:00 AM  

  • Hey Mike, excited to hear the news about Chris. He has been on my mind and in my prayers a lot lately. I am using a friend's computer and couldn't remember your exact blog address, so I typed in "mike cope blogspot" and got 10,453,936 results. Pretty impressive! Have a good week - Mary-Margaret

    By Blogger Mary-Margaret, at 5/03/2005 06:27:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    IJM rocks my face off! Way to go on the prophetic lit sermon stuff! It was very encouraging.

    By Blogger TKP, at 5/03/2005 09:59:00 PM  

  • Mike,
    I wondered over to your blog from my friend Randy Clay's.
    I remember hearing about the accident your son and others were involved in when we first arrived in Wichita Falls, TX from Utah. I remember hearing the prayer request from a teacher I work with at Wichita Christian School and thinking, I want more then anything to run from this room, find my three boys and hold them as tightly as I can.
    A few nights ago, I was reading your blog about washing your son's hair and I all I could do was cry. Just 5 minutes before I read your words, I told my six year old to wash his own hair because I was tired and I just wanted to sit down and rest. When I read the account of a father who joyful washed the hair of a son he almost lost to a heartbreaking accident, I wiped my eyes and thanked God for turning my heart back to the joy of having my sons (and all the simple pleasures, like washing hair, I would dearly miss if they were suddenly taken from me). I turned my computer off and asked my son if he would please let me wash his hair. He smiled and said, "But I thought you were too tired to help me." I sat down on the floor beside the bathtub and said, "Jimmy, I am tired! But right now I can't think of anything else in the world that I would rather do then wash your hair."
    As I washed Jimmy's hair and gave him a sudsy mohawk followed by nice set of soapy foamy spikes, I thought of you and Chris and about how thankful I am that you and I both get another day to wash hair.
    From this day, and well past the point that our boys grow-up, start locking the bathroom doors and the extent of our involvement in their hygiene routines stops at the purchasing of the shampoo, I will be forever thankful for each and every hair on their precious heads.

    By Blogger Courtney & Co., at 5/03/2005 11:35:00 PM  

  • Good job Courtney. Your priorities are encouraging. I hope you washed his hair much earlier than you posted your comment!1:35 a.m.! Get some sleep...much more shampooing to do.

    By Blogger Keith, at 5/04/2005 11:18:00 AM  

  • That is so awesome about the progress of your son! I go to Harding Academy in Searcy and we heard about the accident and prayed for your family! I have heard so many wonderful things about your family, and I hope someday I have the chance of meeting you. I go to the College Church, but I was born in 1991, so have never seen you in person! Thanks for your encouragement!
    God Bless!!
    Erin Gurchiek

    By Blogger Erin, at 5/04/2005 01:54:00 PM  

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