It doesn’t happen a lot, but it always eats at me when it does. This last Sunday two events unfortunately came together. Our children’s choir is a terrific outreach and we always have a good number of unchurched kids in the choir. The Sunday before their program (they do two programs a year) they sing a song from the musical in the worship service as kind of a promo. Because of that we always have lots of unchurched parents in the congregation. It is always fun to meet them and (at least unconsciously) I want the service to be attractive to them so they will return.
I am preaching through Acts and had committed to preaching on Stewardship in the book of Acts in this window. And so Sunday was the second of three weeks on stewardship. I was preaching on Acts 4:32-37. I think that the sermon was effective. But about half-way through a man who I didn’t know, but who had two kids the age of kids choir stood up rather noisily & stormed out. His kids straggled after him. One of our staff who was outside the sanctuary doors commented that he was definitely not a happy camper and another confirmed that it definitely was the parent of a choir kid.
I wouldn’t do anything differently and believe that the message I gave was correct, but I am not above recognizing that it eats at me…should I have been more careful about when I scheduled that series? (I scheduled it as carefully as I knew how.) Should I have softened the message of the sermon because we had a higher number of visitors present? (No.) I think I did it correctly, but wish that I had not angered this father with the message. No matter how true, it still has to be communicated compassionately. I think I did that. That’s all I know how to do.