Free pancakes? I’m so there!


A couple weeks back, a friendly older couple came into the hotel with a gift card for a free room. They won the free night’s stay at a church auction. I chatted with them some as I pulled up their registration and started the check-in process at the front desk.

“Any chance you have a suite we could upgrade into? We’re celebrating our anniversary.”

It was a slow week night at the hotel. I did have a suite left and I’m a fan of anniversaries, so I upgraded the couple.

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, you know?

A couple nights back, a friendly older couple was waiting in line during a busy night at the hotel. My coworker asked, “Can I help you?”

The couple said, “We want to talk to Sara.”

Turns out the couple had returned with a great idea. Brace yourself– I think this is one of the coolest outreach moments I’ve ever seen.

The couple remembered my name and had returned with a present. Unfortunately the first time they returned to see me, I wasn’t working. So they came back during the weekend, driving 30 minutes into town just so they could see me. They bought 10 tickets to their church’s pancake breakfast. Woohoo! I get to eat breakfast TEN TIMES.

Just kidding.

But they weren’t kidding. They had purchased 10 tickets to their church’s pancake breakfast with the specific intention of bringing them to me at the hotel. They liked me and wanted me to visit their church.

“You don’t have to come to church if you don’t want to… you can just come eat breakfast. But we’d like you to come to church. We want you to hear our praise band.” (Maybe you have to be from a small, rural congregation to appreciate the novelty of a praise band.)

“We thought it might be nice if you passed out some tickets to your friends. We would like to see some new faces at our church.”

You bet I’m going to visit this church! I’m going to take some friends (hopefully). Though it’s a Methodist congregation and I am a hardcore Presbyterian, I’m incredibly excited about worshiping our God with them, hearing their praise band, and eating pancakes.

You know, I think it’s easier to complain about how our churches are shrinking. Worse yet, maybe some of us don’t notice that there are people NOT at church who would come, if only someone invited them by name.

Sometimes all you have to do is ask, you know?

About SaraBSutter

I serve as the pastor of United Presbyterian Church in Goldfield, Iowa. My husband Steve and I are excited to be in a friendly small town and look forward to the years ahead. In addition to nerdy church stuff, I love reading books, writing, good coffee, cats, and football.

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