I grew up in the church and by my calculation I’ve heard 10,931 church announcements, or thereabouts. I only remember one of them. Why did I only remember that one? Before I give you the answer, I must confess that for me announcements are often the most boring part of a service, yet mostly necessary. I’ve felt more stress from having to give them than when I’ve had to speak. I dislike giving announcements. I guess I don’t like them because I sometimes see most people’s eyes glaze over during announcement time. So why did I remember the one I referred to?
It happened when I served in California over ten years ago. I took a staycation and visited a few local churches since I didn’t have to attend my church the Sunday of that week. One church I visited met in a simple warehouse. About ten minutes into the service a man walked on stage with a microphone in one hand and a hotdog in another. He made a couple of announcements between bites. Then another guy walked up on stage with a mike and a hotdog. They began a dialogue about the church hotdog cookout that followed. I’ll never forget that creative announcement. Even as I write this post I’m getting hungry for a hotdog.
Although these two guys probably didn’t have the brain in mind when they made that announcement, they illustrated a basic rule of attention. The brain pays attention when expectations get violated. I expected the normal talking head to make announcements. But my brain was made more attentive because what I expected didn’t happen.
As a young man, I often heard older people talking about their declining bodies and failing health. I grew weary of hearing them tell how their strength had diminished and how their aches and pains had increased. They insisted that they used to be able to eat anything they wanted without ill effect, but now practically every food gave them indigestion. Whereas they once had the ability to sleep soundly under any conditions, now any unusual circumstance would keep them lying awake long into the night.
I was convinced all of this was just idle grumbling. But then I hit my mid-30s and began to notice I wasn’t recovering from activity as quickly as I did before, that I was spending more and more nights staring at the ceiling wishing I was fast asleep. I hit 40 and found that some of my favorite foods didn’t sit well anymore. It was then that I realized I was not going to be the exception. I, too, was going to experience a long decline in my health and a long diminishment in my abilities. I, too, was going to have to increase my efforts in maintaining my health.
Any athlete fine-tunes his body and maintains his fitness through a rigorous training regimen. If he doesn’t, his abilities will decline and the competition will soon leave him far behind. Though you may not be an athlete, you are running the race of life. And as you run, you are dependent upon your body and responsible to care for it. If you are going to run to win, you need to guard your health.
I have a confession. I’m a pain in the ass (arse, for my colleagues speaking proper English) to work with. I thrive on impossible challenges and expect those I work with to do the same. Growing up, my dad’s constant refrain was “Nothing is impossible. Some things just take longer.” So it’s no surprise that I see leaders who are similarly pains as role models.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet many of these like-minded pains, but I never had the chance to meet Steve Jobs. I have, however, had the chance to meet Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak on several occasions.
Having been an Apple user from pre-Macintosh days, I have to admit that meeting the Woz for the first time was a thrill. During our first meeting, we talked about everything from slide rules (you know, the things NASA used during Apollo 13 to figure out really complex math problems that computers were just too slow at!) to the first Texas Instruments calculators to his thoughts about cybersecurity.
We then meandered through a bit of computer history, talking about the early years at Apple, the excitement of breaking new ground, the beauty of great engineering, and why a well-laid-out motherboard is a piece of artwork.
Eventually, however, our conversation made it over to the topic of the other Steve.
your ushers can make or break your worship service.
The difference between a grumpy, distracted, and untrained usher compared to a cheerful, engaged, and “serve you with a smile” usher is huge!
I’ve always loved the usher team; it was one of my favorite ministries to lead.
The usher’s role is so important but often undervalued, undertrained, and less than organized.
Your ushers are a tremendous force in setting the tone for worship and helping to prepare the people to hear and respond to the Word of God.
An usher is a spiritual ambassador for your church – God’s ordained and organized body of believers. Each usher serves as a “first representative” of Jesus Christ for a worship service. Though we all love the creative edge of our worship services, make no mistake, this is a holy event where God is meeting with His people.
From the tabernacle in the Old Testament to the temple and synagogue in the New Testament, God’s presence and the teaching of His word is of supreme importance.