Below is the video clip from unapologetic pastor, Jim Standridge (from a church in Oklahoma). In short, he starts yelling at a church member for falling asleep, and then turns on several other members as well. It’s easy to use someone like Standridge as a model for how the Church as a whole behaves. It fits into our cultural beliefs that the church is outdated, judgmental, and, in many respects, irrelevant. None of this is true – although there are folks like Standridge among us. I apologize for this.
It would be so easy to tear someone like Standridge to shreds. It was all about him, his ego, his church. He was berating people, name calling, and insulting his brothers in Christ. He was doing just about everything wrong. We cannot do the same to him though – even though every bone in our body cries out, “Crucify him!”
Standridge needs our love.
That said, why was the church member falling asleep? There could have been any number of reasons of course, but here are a few the church could consider – given that I’m a frequent snoozer Sunday mornings.
- Time: Why does Church start so early? Why not a nice brunch service at say, 11:00 am. And really, serve brunch!
- Refreshment: We live in a Starbuck’s generation (okay Dunkin Donuts for you plebeians) – churches should allow folks do chug their lattes during service. Replace the “pencil” holders with cup holders.
- Engagement: Engage me. Don’t talk at me from a pulpit – sit down in a circle or semi-circle at eye-level and talk to me like you care. Allow me to ask a question or two – or at least leave time at the end to learn more and/or reflect on what I heard.
- Passion: If you’re preaching Leviticus, like Standridge was, make sure you’re on FIRE and you’ve done your homework (exegesis and hermeneutics) to ensure what was applicable to them then is taught in a way that’s applicable to us now.
- Multimedia: unless you’re Jonathan Edwards or Charles Spurgeon, give me something more than a sermon. A slide presentation, some images, a video clip, even a whiteboard will do – give me more than a lecture-style sermon that everyone (except colleges and churches it seems) knows are ineffective.
These are just a few suggestions off the cuff that might shift the dynamics of church, engage the parishioner, and get the gospel message across more effectively.
Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson