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Even though the Nats are in first place (what what), they lost recently when I was at a game. Back in the lean, painful years of 2005-2011, John Brewer used to say I cursed the Nats with my presence. Perhaps for the Nats sake it is best I watch from a distance on MASN, a la Sting’s “I’ll be Watching You.”

As I walked to my car in sadness on Friday night, I was encouraged by a most welcome sign. At a Catholic Church just a block from the stadium, this invitation was issued:

Photo borrowed from @catholicgauze and supplied by Katie McKown.
Photo borrowed from @catholicgauze and supplied by Katie McKown.

#NatsMass gives Catholics an opportunity to worship while they’re on the way to the baseball game on Sunday afternoons. I like it. Way to go St. Vincent De Paul!

I was not in on the committee meetings when they decided to start this new service, but here’s what the church could have done when the stadium was built a few years ago: Thrown up their hands in frustration! Complained about the construction and noise! Looked in judgment at all those people skipping worship for baseball!

That’s what the church could have done when everything around them was changing.

Nationals Park (taken by Nathan White)

Here’s what the church did instead: Added a service to accomodate Catholics on their way to the baseball game! Spent money designing a big banner invitation to thousands! Launched a social media campaign (#NatsMass) so folks would be welcomed.

There are many ways to respond to change. #NatsMass is a good way.

How do most of our churches react when everything around us changes? Do we respond with complaints and anger? Or do we respond by spending time and $$ to reach folks in a creative way?

Since we’re talking sports, I know many pastors and church folk are frustrated when youth games are scheduled on Sundays & Wednesdays. And all sports are year round now. I have been frustrated too.

It wasn’t like that when I was growing up. My dad was often the coach and our practices on Wednesday nights followed GAs and children’s & adult choirs. I miss those days.

“We can kick and scream…or we can be like this creative Catholic church.”

But those days aren’t today. They aren’t. And bellyachin’ won’t help, friends. Many have tried that method. It doesn’t work.

We can kick and scream…or we can be like this creative Catholic church. They continue to have Mass at the regular time, but they added a service on game days to make attending services just a little bit easier.

With that said: Worship is much more important than any sporting event and we won’t be able to make things easier for everyone. Sometimes people will have to make a decision when soccer interferes with their regularly scheduled time of worship. Sometimes it’s okay for people to have to choose.

When possible though, perhaps the church could try to make things just a little bit easier. Surely we can at least sit at the drawing board and try.

katie-mckown-virginia-baptistsKatie McKown is the pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church.

This blogpost was originally posted on her blog, Hermeneutics in High Heels.