I heard something again yesterday that I have heard dozens of times throughout my ministry. A person said to me, “You are a different person after the worship.”
I am 100% clear about what they were saying. It is a criticism I have heard over and over through the years of ministry. It has come in a couple of different forms. Some people have said, “I am not friendly before Church.” Others say, “I always seem distracted.” I know it’s true.
Through the years I have desperately tried to do better. I have been to Churches where the preacher would walk around a talk to everyone before worship on Sunday morning as if nothing were going to happen. They could be casual about the upcoming event and so low-key. I have tried to do that over and over. Honestly, that is so not me.
For example, yesterday I came early and practiced my sermon like normal. Then I was continually repeating it in my head the rest of the morning. Also, I had to check my props on the stage and all of the objects I would be using during the sermon. Then I doubled checked with the person who runs the PowerPoint. I confirmed our special music and any changes in the worship. I was overly concerned about every part of the program. On top of that I was watching the chairs to see if we needed to set up more. I checked the communion to make sure we had enough. There were about 45 things in my head that I was concerned about while trying to remember my sermon.
Then when the program is done. It takes me about 5 minutes to quickly unwind. Personally, I like to stand quietly at the front and let my mind relax. When that is done, I feel like I can visit and talk to anyone. In fact, most Sundays I do not get home till about 1:00 pm since I have been talking. I often tell people that I am free and would love to visit with them anytime after worship.
The difficulty comes because most people are the exact opposite. They show up on Sunday morning with little to nothing to do and they want to visit. They are not worried about everything that is about to happen like I am. Then when the worship is over they are ready to get home. Lunch needs fixed, the ball game is coming on, there are commitments that need to be made and a dozen other things pull at people to get them away quickly after worship.
I tell you this for two reasons. One, I want you to know a little bit more about me. Every Sunday morning is a little piece of me on display for the Lord. I want it to be great and people to be blessed. The result is that I can be obsessive. The end result is that I can seem stand-offish. It is nothing personal.
Second, all human communication is affected by timing. Frequently difficulties in communications are really struggles with timing. The right word also needs to come at the right time.
I know that is true for me. If you do not believe me then spend time with me before and after worship on Sunday morning and see if you notice a difference.