Friday, February 5, 2010

My Blind Date Experience

I was blessed last Sunday to be able to preach at The Well in Cartersville, GA. They are BARELY (I was told to highlight that part :-)) 1.5 years old. It was exciting to see how another new church does things so that I could steal.. I mean borrow.. ideas that I think are cool and bring them back the church where I serve - Lighthouse.

Of course I was a bit nervous too. This church is a bit larger than mine I didn't know anybody there other than the senior pastor and the worship arts director who had tweeted me twice but had never met in person.

To make matters worse for me (and good for them), everything was very polished and well done. Of course this is what you want at any church. You want everything you do to show that you put a lot of planning and time into it and you want the service to flow smoothly so that people can feel the Spirit of God without interruption. But then there's that small part of you that thinks "Great. Everything is going perfectly and I'm going to be the one to get up there and ruin it for everyone."

I'm happy to say that is not what happened. I got up there and did my best. The congregation was warm and responsive and I believe we learned more about God together. I met many people afterwards and several were very encouraging. One even said , "You know... having a guest preacher is like going on a blind date. You really hold your breath until it starts and once you know you'll be comfortable with the other person you can enjoy yourself."

It was at that point that I realized I had been holding my breath for that very reason. I wanted positive feedback from them just as much as they desired a clear, informative, spirit-filled, and engaging message from me.

For those of you who find yourself in any "blind date" situation, here are some pointers I learned from this experience:

1) Be prepared. Just as you get prepared for a date by cleaning yourself up and thinking about things to talk about, you need to make sure that you are ready and presentable. I fretted over what to wear as I knew it would be casual but I didn't think my sweats would make a great first impression. In the end I went with jeans and a very cool jacket and shirt given to me by my sister in law.

2) Smile. No matter how nervous you are, people want to see that you are happy. If you at least look like you are happy they are more likely to listen to what you say.

3) Find something in common. Some things are just universal. I was able to mention Pants on the Ground, "Does this make my butt look big?", "bow chicka wow wow", and the importance of knowing the phrase "Where is the bathroom?" in many languages - all in one sermon (and yes I did talk about God and Jesus too). Okay some of these aren't universal but they are American pop culture that most people can relate to.

4) Listen to God. Remember that God calls us to love one another. Find what there is to love about the other person(s) and reflect the love of God to them. You'll be happy you did.

I'm glad it worked out and I'm excited to do part IV of this series on Valentine's Day.

I'm also glad to be back in the blogging world. I've been away for a while with my nose in theology books as I wrote ordination papers. I say "wrote" because after many weeks of writing, proofing, rewriting, researching, and stress, I am finally finished!!

Have a great week!
Until Everyone Hears,

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