Sometimes guests don't come to the hospitality room, they just leave right away and in that case, he is the first to meet them. Even if they become a regular attender on Sunday mornings, being that this is our pattern every week for me to go to the hospitality room, unless they come on a Wednesday night or to fellowship times,or our Newcomer's Night, I may not meet them for quite a while if at all. So...
Such was the case with one certain man we'll call Ron . He began coming to the church weekly every Sunday morning but he never came to the hospitality room, newcomer's night or anything but Sunday morning service. My husband knew this man from talking to him at the door but I never knew him or anything about him, I just recognized his face from looking out in the congregation as I would be leading on the platform each week.
One Sunday after church our family went to Applebee's to eat with some other church families. When we got there we saw that several other families from church were already there eating. Ron was there with two friends, also from the church. While we were waiting for seating I walked around to the different tables where our church people were sitting and started greeting them and making small talk. I came to the table where Ron and his friends were sitting. I said, "Good afternoon! So glad to see you folks in service today...what a great day in the Lord..."
"Oh, yes, yes," they said, "God is doing mighty things." We continued to make conversation about the way the Lord had really shown up in the service and how grateful we were for all of His blessings. Suddenly Ron exclaimed, "Oh, Pastor Deanna!!! It's YOU!!!"
I was very puzzled by this. The man had been sitting in our church every Sunday morning for months. I am on the platform leading every single week, many times the one actually preaching, as we co-pastor. I couldn't figure out how Ron would not know who I was immediately since he had listened to me preach many times or been present when I was leading worship, communion, prayer, or a bazillion other things. I thought this must be a joke. So, I busted out laughing and said, "Wow!!!! Are you having a brain warp, or what?! I'm your pastor and you forgot who I was once we weren't at the church building anymore! Ha ha ha!!! That is so funny!!!!"
With a totally straight face, he said..........................................
"Well Pastor Deanna...I am blind."
Oh. My. Gosh.
I was horrified!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This man "looked" completely normal. He did not look blind. I had just made a complete buffoon of myself, and possibly hurt his feelings beyond repair.
Worst of all my husband KNEW the guy was 100% blind and just "forgot" to tell me!!!! So much for communication between spouses. (I now use this illustration in our marriage seminars that we do on why it's vitally important that you communicate important things to your spouse.)
Back to the story...
I immediately began profusely apologizing to Ron. Fortunately he had a great sense of humor and laughed with us over this huge faux pas.
After each service now I ask Larry, "Is there anything special I should know about our new people that I didn't meet today?"