Recently, as my wife and I settled into our favorite pew a few minutes before the morning worship service, we greeted the people around us. The woman to our right was waiting for her husband, she said, and would not be remaining in that pew. A couple of minutes later he arrived.
Before she left, the woman leaned over and said to my wife, “This is going to be a very difficult service.” When Bertha asked why, she said, “I’m not at liberty to say. But you’ll see.”
That changed everything for me in that service.
Our church is pastorless at the moment, so I knew we were not going to be hit with a resignation of our shepherd. Those are always tough. The staff is fairly depleted these days, and we have an interim pastor who flies in on weekends from another state. We’re in the early stages of raising several million dollars for renovation, but that seems to be moving seamlessly.
I had no clue.
“…who loves to be first among them” (III John 9).
I’ve known them in quite a number of churches. They have no trouble identifying themselves as the force to be reckoned with around this church.
If you are the visiting preacher, their words to you before or after the service will be an announcement, not a comment. You will know you have heard from the control room of the universe. You have heard the voice of God. This man is in charge around here.
No one has to tell you. You just know.
This one calls the shots. Rules the roost. Throws his weight around. Is the power behind the scene.
He loves to have the pre-eminence. (See Diotrephes in III John, above.)
On a website devoted to professional speakers, the author gave advice about “that great killer story you love to tell,” and then “the heart-rending windup.” I imagine every speaker wants one each of those in his messages.
Then, the blogger dropped the bomb.
“After you get your speech down pat and you’ve given it a number of times and feel you’re effective, it’s time to start working on speech number two.”
I laughed out loud.
Speech number two?
These guys have one speech? One??? And then, when all is going well, they add one more?
Pardon me while I sit down.
“What did you go out to see?” (Luke 7:25)
“What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:41)
The other day during the worship service at our church, I had a revelation.
I now know something that had eluded me before.
I know the secret of people who come to church year in and year out and are never dissatisfied with what goes on there. They like the preacher “enough,” they’re generally satisfied with the programs of the church, and you’ll not hear any carping coming from their direction.
They don’t require much of the church.
That’s it. That’s their secret.