Sunday, December 26, 2010

What not to say when you visit a church

I strive very hard not to pay attention to extreme points of view in any situation. For instance, I know I am not a perfect preacher. There are many aspects of study and delivery that I haven't mastered. Given that I work 50 hours per week normally outside of church, I definitely believe that I could use more preparation time. So, I don't usually listen to extreme praise or extreme criticism.

But, something very funny, almost shocking, was said to me at church this morning. We had a man visit our church who was obviously not enjoying his time with us. Throughout the service he refused to sing any of the songs and when we would read Scripture, he stared at the ceiling. After the service, just before he left, I went to introduce myself to him and talk to him a little. I went up to him, stuck out my hand, and said, "Hi. My name is Doug. Glad to have you here with us this morning."

His response? And I quote: "Hmmmm. You need to organize your thoughts a little better. And you are too repetitious. You repeat yourself over and over. You know, someone famous once said that everything you need to say should fit on a 3 x 5 card. If you can't limit yourself to that, then you don't really know your subject. You go on way too long. If you can hear yourself talk, you are going on too long."

And with that, he walked out.

Thankfully, nothing I did this morning was about me or my public speaking skill. It was about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ and the glory of God. But, please. The next time you visit a church, say something nice to the pastor for me. He may have just worked a 60-hour work week and had to do the bulletin on his own printer at 10 o'clock the night before. Try building someone up, rather than tearing them down.