(The Door News Service) – Southern Baptist Church leaders are up on arms at a Nashville church after what many call “a total disaster.” After months of planning, careful selection of hymns and sermon topic, and hiring a nationally known worship leader to perform the offering, the deacons of the First Baptist Church of Nashville watched all their hard work go up in smoke upon the arrival of the Holy Spirit last Sunday.
Deacon Tom “Landry” Smith said that he first noticed something was wrong during the ten minutes that had been set aside for testimonies.
“I got up to the pulpit and asked if anyone wanted to share something the Lord had done lately in their lives,” Smith said. “Now, we had asked three to four members before the service to share something during this time, and that was really all we had allotted time for. As soon as those four people were done, other folks from the congregation started standing up and testifying spontaneously! It was a complete disaster! We went over testimony time by at least 30 minutes, and had to completely cut the offertory. I doubt we will ever get that worship leader to come back here!”
But the service’s horrors didn’t end there, Smith said. During the worship time, the music minister led the congregation in all four verses of “Holy, Holy, Holy,” even though the planning committee had planned on only three. The music minister explained afterwards that he felt “led to do so.” Apparently, he also felt led to lead the congregation in several unscheduled songs afterwards.
Smith admitted that this was the probably the work of the Holy Spirit, but said that the results were a “logistical” nightmare.
“People started raising their hands, weeping, even bowing down and confessing their sins to God on the spot,” Smith said, ruefully. “It completely took the wind out of the sails of the altar call later during the service, not to mention how embarrassed we were in front of the community. High attendance Sunday is the one Sunday a week when we really push to fill the pews with unbelievers. Now they all see First Baptist as a place where people can’t control themselves or even have the discipline to follow an orderly schedule. My God, man – the Titans were on at noon!”
By the time Pastor D. T. Thomas arrived at the podium, most of the church leadership knew that everything they had spent so much time planning was lost. Thomas, still weeping from the worship time, announced to the congregation that he felt led to preach something different than what he had originally planned.
“It completely ruined the effect we were trying to create that day,” complained Deacon J.S. Simpson. “We very carefully chose the theme of ‘Surfing the Waves of God’s Grace.’ Well, suddenly Rev. Thomas starts preaching about getting free from the past through Christ. Now how are we supposed to keep the service unified with a message like that? What are we supposed to do with the boxes and boxes of leis that we bought to pass out afterwards? Needless to say, those leis will be coming out of the pastor’s salary.”
First Baptist leaders were optimistic about their ability to return things to normal in time for this coming Sunday. Still, last Sunday was a huge blow to morale for much of the leadership.
“We expect a certain etiquette from all of our guests,” Smith said. “This is a church, not a carnival. God really let us down this week.”
First Baptist’s leadership is still debating whether or not to invite the Holy Spirit back for this Sunday. For the moment, they have cut “Come Holy Spirit” from the approved song list.
*****Um, in case you didn’t figure it out by now, this was a satirical article written for the Wittenburg Door by John Gram, February 2007.