True Church Stories #39
This one comes from an Easter Sunday experience a few years ago at the church we currently pastor. This unbelievable story actually took several months to unfold in it's entirety.
It all began on Easter Sunday when a new couple decided to visit the church. They came in about 30 minutes early and sat in the back of the church. As they were sitting there amongst the people, my husband walked by. He was dressed in a brand new suit - very trendy for that particular year - it was powder blue and he looked great. My husband is a sharp dresser who always wears nice clothes and shoes. He actually has more shoes than I do!
When Larry walked through the sanctuary one of our people pointed to him and said to the visiting couple, "that's our pastor." The couple looked at him, then glanced at each and said, "on no...this is not the church for us."
They promptly got up and left.
A little while later that morning Larry and I were in the prayer room before service. We were gathered with a few people praying when the youth pastor popped in. He said, "Pastor, there was glass all over the parking lot. We're not sure what happened. I just wanted you to know something happened out there but I've taken care of it. We've just finished cleaning it up."
My husband thanked him for doing so and then we started the service.
The next morning we came into the office and our secretary let us know that a phone call had come in from a woman saying she had been a first time guest the previous day. She let the secretary know that she and her husband didn't care for the way the pastor was dressed the previous day. That was all she called to say. She wanted her to relay that message to us. Interesting!
About six months passed by.
Wednesday night service came and our daughter had the flu. My husband stayed home with her and I preached the service in the sanctuary.
The couple who visited six months earlier on Easter Sunday were there. I didn't know who they were until they introduced themselves after the service.
We used to have choir rehearsal afterwards on Wednesday night and while the choir members were settling in for practice on the stage, this couple walked down to the front where I was standing in the altar. They introduced themselves and the wife went on to tell me that they were there for Easter six months previous and had left.
She said, "we were so upset by what your husband was wearing. We believed it was too flashy so we got up and left. My husband was angry, thinking it was going to be too late to find another service to go to. He started the car and was so mad that he stepped on the gas really hard and wasn't looking closely when he backed up. Before we knew it he had slammed right into one of the huge oak trees in the church parking lot and shattered out our car windows. It was infuriating and embarrassing but we just left the mess there. He quickly put the car in drive, pulled out and left. For the past six months we've been visiting a different church each week trying to find one we like. We've found nothing. We've run of places to go and had no idea where to go tonight. Finally in desperation my husband said, 'let's go back and try that church where the pastor dresses crazy.' So we ended up here tonight. Only one problem -- we had no idea you would be preaching. When you came to the pulpit we almost stood up and left. You see, we don't believe in women preachers either. When you began talking I asked my husband if he wanted to leave. He said no, that last time ended so badly he didn't want to chance another disaster in the parking lot. He said, 'let's just grin and bear this and we'll get out of here soon enough.' As you shared your message tonight we were both really surprised by how much we liked it. My husband turned to me at one point and said, 'you know I do have to say she really seems to love these people a lot and is really sharing about what she believes in a passionate way...' and well...all that to say, we have talked about it a few minutes tonight afterwards and made a decision. Even though we still have some reservations, due to all the trouble we've had finding something we like for the past six months, we're going to give this church a try and start attending here."
No sooner had she said that than a woman came walking down out of the choir, directly toward her. The visitor-lady had been talking loud enough that some of the choir members heard what she had to say. The choir member said, "M'am, I couldn't help overhear your conversation and there are a few things I want to say. We love our pastors here. Speaking of Pastor Larry, we love how he dresses. Most of all, you need to know he's a man of God with a true pastor's heart. We love Pastor Deanna and respect her as our co-pastor. If you are going to attend here you need to know we support them and if you come here you need to as well. Please don't come here if you are going to speak in any negative fashion toward our pastors, because that will not be tolerated."
Then she marched back up to her place in the choir.
I was wondering if someone was going to pop out and say, "surprise, you're on candid camera!"
No one did. This was real.
The lady looked kind of stunned by what the choir member said but she and her husband thanked me for my time, and left.
I didn't think they would come back especially after the chastisement by the choir member. But they did!
They returned for services each Sunday and Wednesday for about a month.
I was shocked they made it that long.
A month into their stay at the church Larry asked me to preach again on a Sunday morning. When I shared some things the Bible has to say about sex, that was it.
That was their last day there.
I'm not sure where they ever ended up.
You can't make this stuff up! Church stuff is the craziest...