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“Overture, curtain, lights
This is it, you’ll hit the heights
And oh what heights we’ll hit
On with the show this is it”–Mack David and Jerry Livingston
“And when he lifts his face
Ev’ry ear in the place is on him
Starting soft and slow
Like a small earthquake
And when he lets go,
Half the valley shakes”–Neil Diamond
Diamond, a Jew, could see it.
He described the phenomenon accurately in his hit, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”
I see it often.
Apparently many congregations aren’t pleased if their pastor is unable to get into character.
Some are better than others.
A close friend described it this way, “You bet! I ain’t interested in some mealy mouthed message with quotes from authors I never heard of. Don’t start off with a joke either. I want to hear my pastor tell me every Sunday I’m going to hell if I don’t change my ways. And I want it to sound like it’s breaking his heart to have to tell me.”
Translation: I’m here for the show. I want to be entertained.
I learned it teaching adult education classes at LSU. To keep’em coming back each week, they have to be fed, entertained, and have something to anticipate for next week.
An important feature of the show is the transformation.
When the pastor lifts his face, every eye is on him, and it’s showtime! If the show is good enough, the flock won’t care how long it lasts and will certainly return next week for another dose.
A pastor’s behavior is a strong influence on the congregation.
Certainly management skills, leadership ability and counselling in times of need are important.
None is more important than the performance from the pulpit on Sunday. Most of the time when I hear people say, “He’s a real good preacher,” they’re referring to his acting skills delivering the message. If the pastor can hit home runs from the pulpit, most other shortcomings are forgiven.
It has often been said for fine dining, the presentation of the plated meal is more than half the rating. It’s the same way with delivering the sermon. The delivery is as important as the content of the message.
Somehow, I’m pretty sure this is not what Jesus meant…
when He said, “Feed my sheep.”
NOTE: Third in a series beginning HERE.
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