This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
From Messy Spirituality:
I pastor the slowest growing church in America. We started twelve years ago with ninety members and have ungrown to thirty. We are about as far as you can get from a user-friendly church – not because our congregation is unfriendly but because our services are unpredictable, unpolished, and inconsistent. We are an "odd friendly" church, attracting unique and different followers of Christ who make every service a surprise. One Sunday morning, one of our parishioners forgot she was to read the Scripture. When it was time for the reading, there was a long, awkward silence. Conscious that something was awry, the woman looked up and realized that everyone was staring at her. Shocked at her lapse of memory, she blurted out a…er…very "colorful" word. Another long silence followed, and then the laughter began. It was the strangest call to the reading of the gospel I have ever experienced. The woman was embarrassed, apologized, and went on to read the Scripture. I am certainly not condoning the use of swear words in church, but it was an accident, it was funny, and we had to admit, she read the Scripture with a humility and a vigor that our church hadn't seen in years. Such happenings aren't unusual in our church because we refuse to edit oddness and incompetence from our services. We believe our oddness matters. We want our services filled with mistakes and surprises, because life is full of mistakes and surprises.