(I’d like to take credit for the popularity of this post, but I can’t. I told a friend’s story about something his kid did in the middle of church that was hilarious. That’s why this post is on the top 10 list of 2010. Thank goodness for 4 year olds who will scream funny things in the middle of church.)
Leaving church before it’s over.
Last week, I spoke in San Diego about the impact of Christ in the Denzel Washington movie, “Man on Fire.” And for the most part it was a pretty good experience.
Why just, “for the most part?”
Well, about five minutes into my talk, two people got up and left. Not together, they left individually at different times. Then midway through, two people came in, listened for a minute and then walked back out. Normally, four people leaving wouldn’t be a big deal. But there were only 25 people in the room. So those four people represented 16% of the audience. As a speaker, you are highly aware of someone on the second row of a 25-person crowd deciding, “This is whack, I’m going to bounce.”
In my head, I instantly thought:
1. Did I swear? I don’t feel like I did, but did I start off this talk with profanity?
2. I was talking about prayer. Did they hate me joking about telling people you’ll pray for them and then forgetting to?
3. Couldn’t they have at least pretended to receive a phone call and whispered, “An orphanage caught on fire and you need me to help put it out? I hate to leave this awesome speech by Jon Acuff, but OK!”
I pushed through my insecurities and ended up actually talking about it at the end of the speech. Everyone who was still there laughed and admitted, that was wicked awkward.
But as uncomfortable as that was, it’s nothing compared to what happened to my friends from Texas. They were looking for a new church and visited one on a Sunday morning. They were a little late and the church was so full they asked my friends to sit in the crying room with the screaming babies. (If you’re a member, this was a great time to scoot to the middle and make room, versus make a visitor sit in the wailing room, but I digress.)
Ten minutes into the service, they knew this was not going to be the right fit for them and sitting in the yelling closet wasn’t awesome, so they left. As they entered the sanctuary to walk out the back, their four year old yelled loud enough for everyone to hear, “Dad, we’re leaving! Why are we leaving? Why dad, why are we leaving? It’s not over yet!”
Then he started telling them that he wanted to take the elevator instead of the stairs, something they had promised on the way in. (Elevators are like suburban roller coasters for 4 year olds.) As their son trumpeted their exit, my friend grabbed him like a cord of fire wood under one arm and ran down the stairs like a bank robber.
Awesome. That makes me feel a little better about what happened to me.
But it does make me curious about two things:
1. Have you ever left church before it was over? If so, why?
2. What’s the craziest, most embarrassing thing your kid has done in church?