In addition to being a professional Christian, that is my calling has been to be a pastor, I’ve also attended church all my life. My mama told me she took me to church in a banana box and put me in the nursery when I was just a baby. And from all of those experiences and all those places, and all those churches I’ve attended on more than one continent, there seems to be one constant int most all of those churches. And that is, screaming.
Is God mad? Is He angry? Is He upset? Is He in heaven looking down on us, mad as hell? I think not. The question is, why do preachers scream? What do they hope to accomplish? Who is convinced by this kind of angry, overemotional, and intimidating presentation?
Now I will be the first to admit that when I speak I get emotional. I am passionate. But there is a big difference between being excited about something you’ve discovered that you know can help change people’s lives, and just being mad and angry. So here’s my little insight to the church leaders and workers all over America. Let’s stop screaming. Instead of a confrontation, let’s see Sunday morning as a conversation. Instead of “you sit still, while I instill,” let’s treat people with respect. Even hurting people, desperate people want to be regarded as people who can make choices for themselves.
So what do we do in lieu of screaming? We simply present compelling truth in a compelling way. Every time I stand and speak, I ask myself three questions before I get up. Is this hopeful? If it’s not hopeful, then why am I doing it? Who am I trying to please or what bone am I trying to pick?
The second question I ask is, “Is it helpful?” Is this just a regurgitation of Bible verses and a long string of cliche`s? Or is this really practical help for people to understand and be able to apply in their everyday, Monday morning, work-a-day, stress-filled lives?
The most important question I ask of all three is, “Is this truthful?” Because if it’s hopeful and helpful, but it’s a lie, that’s deception. And that doesn’t do anyone any good.
So my dear brothers and leaders out there who have the greatest privilege in the whole world, to present the gospel and to be influences for good, calm down, turn down the volume. Let’s stop screaming and let’s start communicating.