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6.05.2013

I WAS LOOKING FOR THE FINAL AMEN


We visited a church Sunday.  To be honest, it was a spur of the moment pick based on, God forgive me, a time of service we were wanting.  Admitting that in print probably negates to God the fact that we even went to church!

Because it was an on the fly pick, not based on recommendations of others, reputation in the community, or even familiarity of location, we were running about 5 minutes late.  Doug nor I run late most of the time.  In fact, it's a big pet peeve of both of us.  Yet, we found ourselves being late, going to a church we knew nothing about based on the need for a 10:00 a.m. service, and not even knowing exactly where it was geographically speaking.

As we pulled into the small parking lot it was more than obvious by the sparsity of vehicles and size of the lot that it was a small church.  It's one thing to be late in a large mega church where thousands gather.  You can blend in, be incognito.  We were going to stick out like the large mole on Cindy Crawford's face.  Everyone would know, 1) we were visitors and 2) we were late.

It was indeed a small congregation.  We probably were some of the youngest people in attendance.  It was a small church with the bulk of the congregants being retired.  The keyboardist was a woman in her late 70's with bright reddish dyed hair.  She rounded out the worship team which consisted of a lead singer with an acoustic guitar, a bass guitarist , a drummer, and a 60ish woman singing harmonies.  They were mediocre at best in talent, but sincere in their delivery.

I wondered what kind of pastor would pastor this small congregation of mostly retired people who appeared to be a bit on the lower economic side?  Their bulletin clearly stated they were falling short of making budget weekly by about $1,000.  To some churches that wouldn't have been too big of a deal.  But to this church, that was just under half of what they needed to bring in weekly to meet their budget. 

The Pastor walked to the platform to preach.  He was maybe 30, cotton twill pants, untucked plaid cotton outdoorish shirt, and goatee which screamed I am trying to be modern and hip - a definite church trend as of late.  He preached from an iPad loaded with a power point presentation that was hooked to the big screens on each side of the platform.  It was obvious he was a bit more young and modern than the congregation he was serving.  His sermon had a half dozen points that were published as a fill-in-the-blank section in the bulletin.  I knew I was in trouble when I glanced at one full page of notes, very detailed and lots of fill-ins.  I tried to stay focused on God.  I mean really that's what church is about.

He was preaching on Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  If I wasn't already overly familiar with that verse and knew it by heart, I would have been by the end of his sermon.  He repeated that verse nearly 40 times.  My type A personality and quick moving mind was about ready to explode.  Every time he made a point he repeated the verse.  Then after he had belabored the point, he repeated the verse and the point. When he had repeated his way to the end he then recapped each point once again for now the third time.

That young pastor repeated and repeated and repeated for nearly 40 minutes.  He had some good information, some good perspectives, but it was drowned out by assuming the crowd was too dense to get the points and the verse the first time he said them.  I don't do needless well.  I don't do slow and repetitive well either. 

I wondered as he droned on and on, why a speaker would deliver information in that style.  I wondered why, if knowing people only retain a few minutes of anything spoken, you would choose to belabor and repeat over and over again for 40 minutes.  Was it self-serving a bit - you know you prepared it and damn it they are gonna hear it:)  Was it inexperience?  Was is it just his style and no one had ever given him a bit of constructive criticism?  Did he think because the congregation was older they needed repetition?  Was I the only one sitting here on the verge of losing my mind?

Spit it out.  If it's profound enough it just doesn't need to be repeated. 

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