This is part two of this article. Please click here to read part one.
Several times I’ve been privileged to hear a number of great preachers in churches as they travel across the country. I’ve noticed something that they do. Before they preach in the visiting churches, they will spend several minutes talking about the pastor of that church or about the church itself. Usually they get the crowd laughing and loosened up during this time.
I think it is good for you to do the same thing as you go to churches. Before you preach or present your work, spend a few minutes talking about the church and the preacher. These few minutes are very important. This will set the atmosphere for your entire presentation or sermon.
You ought to spend time before every service and prepare what you are going to say about the church and the preacher.
1. Introduce Your Wife and Family to the People
2. Brag on the Church
If they are a friendly church tell them, “One thing I like about you folks is that you are friendly. You folks really enjoy coming to church don’t you?” Get them to respond by asking questions. When you see them nodding their heads, you know you are communicating. If their young people are exceptional, brag on them. If their church has grown rapidly, tell them how amazing that is. Also thank the people who have done something for you while you have been at the church if it is appropriate, such as people who provided you a place to stay or meals.
3. Build up the Preacher
Church members need to hear from outsiders how great their preacher is. Indirectly, you ought to let people know how fortunate they are to have the pastor they do. There are several ways to do this. One thing you ought to do is brag on his good points. If he has a fine family, tell the people that. If he has a good sense of humor, tell them. If you notice that the preacher is a hard worker, tell the church.
4. Get the People to Laugh
There are several ways to do this. Often we would stay three days at a church so at the service I would say, “I hope you folks aren’t tired of us. We’ve been here three days now. Benjamin Franklin said, ‘There are two things that stink after three days: fish and visitors!’” When we were in New England I told the people I liked their accent, and I imitated the way they said things. I often liked to tell churches about some food I ate in the Philippines. Here is one story I would tell: In the Philippines the people eat rice all the time. They eat it for breakfast, lunch, and supper. (By the way, if you have a weak stomach perhaps you shouldn’t read this.)
One day I was in a house in Manila, and a lady brought out what I thought was a boiled egg. I was really excited about eating something besides rice for a change.
What I thought was a boiled egg was actually balut! Balut is a duck egg that hasn’t hatched. A few days before the duck is due to hatch, they boil it and eat it. (They boil the embryo of the duck!)
Here I was praising the Lord for something different to eat! I was about to crack the shell when the lady said, “Wait Joe!” (They call Americans “Joe” because of the G.I.’s that were there in World War II.) I asked her what was wrong. She said, “Crack a hole in the top first.” I thought that maybe it was some kind of custom they had, so I cracked a hole in the top.
She said, “Okay, Joe, drink the juice.”
I said, “What juice?”
She said, “The duck juice!”
I said, “You mean this is a duck?” I started thinking “Maybe they boil chicken eggs different from duck eggs.” I didn’t know any better. I thought the juice would taste something like chicken noodle soup juice! So I turned it upside down and started drinking the juice. I swallowed that slimy stuff and about choked to death. The juice turned out to be the guts of that baby duck all boiled up. I was trying to be kind and diplomatic because they are offended if you don’t like their food. I asked her what to do next. She told me to take the shell off.
I took the shell off, and there was the dead embryo of the duck with yellow stuff that looked like the yolk of an egg all over it. I didn’t feel led to eat the duck, so I ate the yellow part. It was bad, but not as bad as the juice.
I put the egg on the table. The lady looked at me and said, “Hey, Joe, you must eat the duck too!”
I said, “You mean you eat the duck?”
She said, “Oh yes, that is the best part!”
I was desperate. I said, “Well really, I’m full. That juice filled me up.” She insisted I eat it. I kept trying to bluff my way out.
Finally she embarrassed me by saying, “But, Joe, you are so skinny! You eat the duck and it will make you big and strong like us.”
So I took one bite. Then I lost all my diplomacy. Praise the Lord anyway!
This is part two of this article. Please click here to read part three.