There is nothing scarier to me as a pastor than an open microphone.
This has taken many forms throughout my ministry. In the early days, it was “prayer request” time during the worship program. The leader would ask if anyone had any other needs they wanted to share, and people would stand up and say all kinds of craziness. One time we were told about mom’s cancer, and then it was followed by a request for a woman’s dog.
Later the mic shifted to after the sermon and invitation time. The preacher would ask anyone who had a decision to come to the front, and numerous times people would come and whisper, “I need to say something.” Suddenly it was a free for all discussion about sin, struggles, and shameful gossip.
Next, the mic is being used at funerals. People are asked if they have anything they would like to share about the deceased. These have ranged from touching to horrifying.
Finally, the mic has been placed in front of believers on the internet. This can be in blogs like this, social media, and the comment section of almost anything. When the mic is open, and someone starts to talk or type, my stomach starts to roll, and fear grips my body. What are they going to say?
There are three possibilities of what is going to happen at the open mic time.
- Nothing will happen. People will stand quietly and say nothing. This can seem golden, but it can also be harmful. Someone NEEDS to say something.
- Something awful will happen. The words that are shared will be evil or filled with anger. Often this comes from a lack of information, but it can also come from knowing too much.
- Something wonderful will happen. Words of grace, mercy, compassion, and humor will flow, and other people will know God better. They will hear something in your words that is different than other people, and they will notice that you have been with Jesus.
Right this minute, people are at home quarantined, so they are surfing the internet and reading lots of posts and comments. This scares me, and I can feel my nerves getting tied in a knot. This will be a time when people will be blessed or agitated. The world is watching to see how we will handle the open mic. I pray we will shine our light for Jesus in everything we say and write.