“A man may show himself to be a wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.” — Matthew Henry Commentary on Proverbs 17:27, 28
First off, let me say, I love the church. Not just our church, but THE Church, at large, and I know that our way of doing things isn’t always THE way to do things for every church. I get that. I also get that no two churches are alike and so we shouldn’t be inbreeding with each other, but we should be different and diverse. That’s a good thing.
That said, when I browse the web I spend a lot time checking out other churches. I watch service videos of big churches and small churches to pick up ideas and see how different churches do different things. And one thing I see across a lot of different churches, both big and small, that drives me is NUTS is people getting on the stage and just “wingin’ it.”
I’m not just talking about the pastor who’s giving the message, I’m talking about the announcement guy/girl, the person who’s doing the offering, the worship leader, basically, anybody who’s on the stage.
If you look at the scripture you can’t help but see a plan, a design. Every word has meaning, every verse has a purpose. In the Jewish tradition it was said that God gave Moses the Torah not just verse by verse, or even word by word, but letter by letter. That’s God being VERY intentional, and yet for many of us, when we address our church families, we’ve put little to no thought into what we might say. Sure, it may only be an announcement or a welcome, but when there’s no purpose or design we tend to ramble on and throw out tons of corny Christian phrases that really have no meaning and only serve to alienate those who aren’t familiar with our christianese.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting you don’t speak from your heart. I’m not suggesting that you memorize every word or that the Spirit doesn’t prompt you to say certain things from time to time when the moment arises but I’m simply suggesting that you spend a little time crafting your words so that when you hit the stage you are concise and purposeful.
You only have so much time with your church family every week so every second counts. Let’s stop wasting it with aimless speech.
“Say it clearly and you make it beautiful no matter what.” — Bruce Weigl
Here are some classic church time wasters that we could all stand to eliminate from our services.
- Constantly asking the crowd “how many of you know… (fill in the blank)” looking for a response from your congregation.
- Using Amen as a question frequently.
- Using Amen / Hallelujah / Glory to God / Praise God, etc. as punctuation to every sentence.
- Telling people to “turn to their neighbor and (insert a corny joke here).”
- Constantly asking to people to repeat every other phrase you say.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and some the time-wasters you deal with in your church.