Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to be a Completely Ineffective Church Member Part 1

How to further the metamorphism to being a real sloth in the church.
The articles that appear in this series are a manifesto for utter ineffectiveness in your local congregation. For maximum impact of this ineffectiveness policy, these articles are best read with a lukewarm cup of coffee and some seriously heavy eyelids.
Of course should you yearn to serve King Jesus and be an effective church member to the glory of God, then you will need to have your brain well and truly in gear and by God’s grace seek to do the complete opposite of what you read.
Should you feel your toes jumped on by size ten hobnails, the best way for continued ineffectiveness is to complain to the writer. Don’t at any cost ask yourself could this be me, or get down on your knees and repent.

Listen Only
It is vital in your quest to be an ineffective church member that you specialise in gathering a host of Bible trivia, numbers of verses in the Bible (31,202) and the like. All these little juicy ditties that you glean you must store away in the deepest recesses of your mind so that you can keep the minister and elder busy with quick fire questions during the annual pastoral visit. This approach will make sure that they don’t get round to that awkward question, “How is God’s Word shaping your life these days?”
A collection of Bibles with unthumbed pages will be of great assistance in your journey towards utter ineffectiveness. The Bible you keep in your pew must have extremely small print so as to distract you during the reading.
Personal Bible reading is where you master the art of listening only. Only read your Bible at times of the day when your eyelids need propped open with matchsticks. This dosy interaction with the Scripture will help establish an impenetrable force shield for every encounter with the Word. By all means read the Bible every day. Big chunks are best and scan reading an essential. It is fundamental that you avoid asking any life-changing questions like, “What does this mean for me?”
Be on your guard at family worship for the Word can get a little prickly here and insist on taking root, especially when dad has pointed out how it applies to your family. At this stage it is paramount that you channel all thought power into how many Rice Crispies are left in the box.
Sabbath day will be your biggest test to see if you are going to graduate in the “listen only” course. If during the Scripture reading or sermon you feel any pangs in your heart, it is imperative that you quickly calm things down in your mind with a review of the spiritual things that you do, church Sabbath School, CY etc. and how you are definitely better than all the other young people. When the minister gets to the application bit and you begin to feel a certain sense of “he’s speaking to me” now is the time to start counting the cracks in the plaster or doing imaginary dot to dot with the bits of fluff on Mrs Brown’s big black bushy hat.
Pivotal in your downward spiral into the abyss of ineffectiveness is to give the minister marks out of ten for his sermon each week. Over lunch ask everyone how they thought the minister got on. Floating this question week by week will soon have a whole family on the path to increasing ineffectiveness. Avoid at all costs allowing anyone at the table to be super saintly and ask, “How did the Word challenge you today?”
Rather than taking notes on the sermon the way others seem to be doing, it is best that you engage in creative mind capturing doodling. This will give the impression that you are concentrating while at the same time stemming the flow of truth to the heart. Never go back over your notes no matter what your housebound gran asks you when she does her usual Sabbath evening inquisition about the sermon.
Remember only listen. You simply mustn’t let it in. You must wriggle and squiggle like mad to keep that life changing Word at bay. As soon as you start on the slippery slope of putting the Word into practice the ICMC (Ineffective Church Member Society) will have you thrown out if they can muster up the enthusiasm.

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