These days, a pastor’s job at a large multi-staff church is getting smaller and smaller, due to more and more specialization. Every arm of the church has a separate pastor. We have Executive Ministers, Preaching Ministers, Youth Ministers, Missions Ministers, and one of my favorites, the Minister of Announcements, a job I featured on this blog a few months ago.
Today we pay homage to another very specific minister.
How does your church signal to everyone that it’s time to start church? Everyone’s sitting in their seats chatting with the people around them. Maybe a musician is playing some music to create the atmosphere. Little do people know, the time for church to begin is upon them. Most pastors don’t run out on stage and yell, ‘IT’S TIME TO START! BE QUIET, PEOPLE!’ Most churches don’t have an air horn or a buzzer either.
Silently, like a ninja, a man takes the stage. No one notices him.
“Dear God, we bless you this morning and ask that you would recieve our worship…”
The audience quickly whispers to one another, ‘Shut up, he’s praying…’
This man is: The Minister of Prayers that Tell Everyone to Be Quiet, Church is Starting!
I love these ministers. We had one in our college chapel. People would be enjoying themselves and then without warning, we’d have to convert to full on prayer mode. The audience did a ‘wave’ of prayer. The front rows would be the first to notice a prayer was happening, bowing their heads. Then the prayer would work it’s way back as people noticed no one was talking anymore. By the time it reached the back, the people up front were already crying, and the prayer was over. The people in the back pretty much bowed their heads and said, “Amen.”
It’s got to be a tough job to get out there every week and say to yourself, “I’m going to pray now whether you sweaty heathans are ready or not. Church is starting, dang it!”
Of course the best part is listening to the last guy who hasn’t realized everyone else is praying. He’s talking normally, but suddenly, everyone can hear him, and he’s probably talking about something private like some rash he’s developed. It’s kind of like when little kids try to ‘whisper’ in church. They know how to make their voices sound like a whisper…just a very loud and public whisper.
(whisper) ‘MOMMY, I HAVE TO GO NUMBER 2!’
Yeah, it’s a whisper, but it’s in all caps. You get the idea. We’ve all been there, we know the kid has to go.
I always liked it when I knew the the prayer minister was about to come on stage. So I’d try to keep the guy next to me talking without him noticing. I wouldn’t bow my head; I’d just keep eye contact with him and try to see if I could get him to talk all through the prayer.
This phenomenon is great because it’s the much rarer cousin to the also hilarious and more common occurance of the guy that sings out of turn during a song. I call this the ‘Music Minister Fake Out.’
Music Minister: La la la! Singing the verse…A, F sharp, D, B…ok everyone get ready, ready, ok, time to sing the chorus…
Guy in Audience: JEsss….(dang it.) *cough*
Music Minister: Oh not yet. I know it sounded like I said it’s time to sing the chorus, but it isn’t. Here’s some fancy chords you weren’t expeting! C, G, B! How holy does that sound? Ok, now it’s time to sing!
It’s pretty hard to cover it up when you’re really into a song and you belt out the first word of the next verse, only to realize you’ve been faked out. It’s like tripping in public and trying to pretend that you are tying your shoe or breaking into a jog. It just doesn’t work.
Like the guy who you get to mistakenly talk through the prayer, if you know the musician’s pattern, try to throw the guy next to you off. Take a deep breath at the wrong time, like you’re about to really belt it. He’ll think his rhythm is off and it’s time to sing.
Ever had either of these situations happen to you? Were you able to effectively cover up for yourself, or did everyone glare at you?