It happened again.
I watched someone get up to speak to a large audience. The total time of what was going to be said would’ve been about 15 to 20 minutes.
Just as I was getting ready to hear the message, I watched one of my pet peeves unfold.
Why do some public speakers saunter up onstage with a huge water bottle and take swigs from it every five minutes?
Maybe I’m being unfair, because I’ve certainly had an occasion or two where I needed water. I was under the weather, perhaps, or had just been doing something loud and crazy before I spoke.
What I’m more referring to is how unnecessary this feels. It almost comes across as a status thing – like when you ask a friend if they can hang out… and they pause, slowly take out the latest smartphone, make sure you can see the model/logo, and then proceed to talk about how they have to check their calendar because of how busy they’ve been doing this or doing that.
Again, maybe I’m being unfair.
On the other hand, it feels like the people who should do this don’t seem to do this. I’m referring to the “big name” speakers who likely teach on a regular basis… people I’m never seen bust out any water bottle swagger even after a 45 minute message.
It got me thinking about other pet peeves in ministry circles:
- The Spirit of Urination: When I (or someone else) gets up to teach or proposes a question for some audience interaction, and right at that moment a few people noticeably get up to go to the bathroom, as if the Spirit of Urination came upon that row all at once.
- Recycled Rally Cries:> You likely know that “Youth aren’t the church of tomorrow. They’re the church of today!” Chances are you know it because it’s our standard go-to phrase when we feel like we’re supposed to say something profound about serving students.
- “I Can’t Hear You!”: That awkward moment when my worship to God becomes about the worship leader having to hear me sing it a little louder.
- Bad Transitions: When one thing ends, be it a moment in a program or a song, and there’s a long pause before anything is said/done. Even worse, when in-jokes occur between one person and another and everyone else has to sort of wait on them to finish.
- “Circling” Sermons: I’m all for someone making a great point in a message. I’m not a huge fan of having someone tell me what I need to circle in the notes or in my Bible. It’s like an old 20th Century way of begging for a retweet.
- Critiques About Tithing: I’m so glad you’re walking with Jesus in such a way that you don’t feel “bound to the Old Testament concept of tithing.” I’m likewise aware that you wish we didn’t talk about money so often when the budget is in another crazy crisis. Meanwhile, my household is going to keep regularly and consistently tithing 10% of our firstfruits at the bare minimum and looking for ways to be generous beyond that… ways that draw attention to God and not ourselves. So quit telling me how much more mature you are for being random, and start supporting your church in such a way that it doesn’t have to beg you to do it or suffer when you’re taking such an enlightened approach.
- Christian Wining: You know those folks in your church who drink wine all the time? So does everyone else, especially through social media. I’m not making a statement about alcohol here… but I am saying that it stinks when we have to talk to someone who’s turned off by how much carefree drinking an active person in your church does.
These are just a handful of my pet peeves. Maybe the fact that I have them is one of your pet peeves.
For that matter, what are your pet peeves in ministry circles?