Prior to the advent of Facebook and social media, one was rather limited when it came to how fast you could make the most people cringe at one time. Community gatherings, such as a Sunday school class were basically your only chance for instigating a large scale wince among your friends and family.
Although audience sizes in an average church congregation are similar to the average number of friends most people have on Facebook, the intent of social media interactions and attending church are vastly different. People peruse Facebook for its distraction and entertainment value while people who come to church do so to fill a vital spiritual need that only walking with God and worshiping Him can provide. Therefore, even though you should always be careful about what you post on the internet, you should be that much more careful about what stories you share while you are speaking in church. Here are nine stories no one wants to hear at church:
How your excellent adherence to gospel living produced perfect children
If all of your children are living Christ-centered lives, you shouldn’t take the credit for that any more than you should take the blame for a child who wanders into darker paths. There are no guaranteed if-thens when it comes to raising human beings. Someone who is ten times the parent as you may have children who rebel with an intensity much worse than you could ever endure and yet somehow they still show up to church every week with a smile on their face and hope in their heart.
God has blessed you in some spectacular ways, but He has done the same for people of other faiths as well. If you are prone to belittle, pity or dismiss the beautiful faith traditions and accomplishments of God’s other children, please leave those sentiments at home. No church has the exclusive rights to God’s miracles and inspiration and therefore no one should speak as if they do.
Nothing can bring the beautiful communion of the mortal and the divine to a screeching halt as fast as political jabs or sports team jabs. You may think you are being funny and playful, but save it for another time. Wink and “j/k” all you want, but the bottom line is: Lucifer divides and Jesus unites.
You saw Jesus
This is a keep-it-to-yourselfer. If something like this actually happened to you and you are positive that no drugs were involved, then you are obviously being set aside and prepared to perform some extraordinary work that is unique to you. Everyone in your congregation, however, has NOT been prepared and set aside for this unbelievable manifestation. This goes for any and all supernatural visions you may have had as well. Talk to an ecclesiastical leader about how to proceed, he will guide you well.
If you are not 100% sure where a story came from, don’t just make up a source or pull one off of Pinterest. If you do site a bad source, you risk losing credibility. Over the years, I have heard one particular story shared publically multiple times and each time it has been attributed to a different person. If you do not know for sure who the real source is, admit it and tell the story anyway. People love stories, they won’t care.
Medical trauma is a great place for God to intervene and show forth His mighty power as well as for demonstrating the strength of the indomitable human spirit. But sharing the gory details of the event is a sure way to leave your audience at the scene of the ordeal instead of taking them all the way through your message with you to a bright and meaningful end.
Over simplified, untried solutions
You may have some great ideas on how people can easily overcome obstacles and trials in their life, but if you haven’t faced that obstacle and actually tried that solution out, don’t tout it as a cure all. It’s only a good idea at this point and a false hope or even an insult to someone seeking solace.