There had been no national spotlight on the little town of Garsonville, Nebraska, since a bumper crop brought in some news coverage to report that a local grocer was selling golden sweet corn for a penny an ear.
That was thirty-two years ago.
The little town continued to grow corn but never was able to offer it again at such a reasonable rate.
Now all of a sudden there was a new interest in the community because the author, Dr. Frederick Meningsbee, had accepted a calling to be the minister at the Garsonville Community Church. At one time the church had 175 people in attendance each Sunday, which was not too bad for a town of 1,423 souls. But a combination of inadequate pastors and growing apathy had trimmed the ranks down to a solid 83 individuals who continued to attend–some out of persistence and others because long ago, they signed the loan for the property.
No one quite knew why the good doctor from an eastern university was taking such a lowly position in Garsonville.
Meningsbee had gained some attention of late, penning a volume entitled “The Jesus Church.”
Not a single soul from the pastor-selecting-committee had read the book, but figured that because the title included the words “Jesus” and “Church,” it must be divinely acceptable.
So on Dr. Frederick’s first Sunday, 143 people showed up, along with a couple of national bloggers, who were hoping to make a name for themselves by covering the story.
After a couple of hymns were sung and prayers uttered, Meningsbee rose to his feet and said, “This shall be a very short service–basically just an opportunity for me to tell you that when you arrive next Sunday, you will be handed a bulletin, which I am sure you are accustomed to. At the top will be instructions on the procedures and approaches for that day’s service.”
After finishing this short statement, the new preacher closed in prayer and the service was over.
Everyone left the church to head home and wait for their chicken, dressing and ‘taters to finish baking.
It was an unusual beginning but no one was suspicious of what might be unfolding in the future.
For after all, only Reverend Frederick Meningsbee knew the plan.