Sunday, 27 June 2010
By Brett at GodlySheep
In many ways, Naomi and I are a great combo. We compliment each other with our strengths and weaknesses. Punctuality is not one of those ways.
Together, we have a tendency to be 15 minutes (I like to say “fashionably”) late for everything. Even when we get a jump start on getting ready, something happens to put us back on our 15 minutes behind schedule again.
That’s the problem with going to a very punctual church. Even when you’re pulling into the parking lot a few minutes before, you’re late.
And those who are always on time have no idea what it’s like to be in our shoes, how the church fails to cater to the tardy, the painful process we endure each service.
In order to educate, here are the steps that transpire when you are late for church.
1. Becoming Late – No one seeks to be late for church. It’s never the desired intention. Maybe it’s the weekend mentality, but Sundays and timeliness seem to fall apart. Everything goes wrong. Coffee pot brews extra slow, showers become a time warp, everything in the closet is wrinkled, anything you want to wear is in the laundry, and suddenly it feels like a good time to organize your email inbox. Despite running around and yelling, you still find yourself…running late.
2. The Parking Spot - After breaking laws of speeding and driving like you’re in a Jason Statham car chase in your effort to go to church, you pull up to the building only to find that you have to park next to the buses, or creating your own spot on the lawn, or at the gas station next door; tacking on extra minutes to your lateness. I propose a section of parking spots next to the handicapped and pastor parking for those arriving at start time or later. Those who got there early have that extra time to walk to the doors. It only makes sense.
3. The Entrance Timing – Some churches have entrance ushers who assist in your timing of entrance after the service has started. Others are left unmanned, leaving you to enter on your own judgment call. Here are some quick tips on when to enter:
- During Prayer – Never. You might as well go in doing cartwheels and blowing vuvuzelas.
- During Worship Song - Maybe, but awkward. Are you supposed to sing and walk? Seriously feels like you’re in a musical.
- During Meet & Greet – Shoot for this. Walk around, shake hands, no one is the wiser. Note, that it is difficult to find a seat that you’re sure isn’t taken. (See #5 The Seat)
- During Sermon – Ooo that’s really late. Best to just walk around the hall and let everyone assume you signed your whole family up for hall duty that week.
4. The Walk of Shame - However you time the entrance, there will be that walk of shame. That time where you try to avoid meeting anyone’s stares, while frantically looking for a seat to sit in. If you can, scan the auditorium for available seating before you even enter to find the shortest route possible. The one thing you are trying to avoid is re-walking it because you didn’t plan, thought you saw a seat up front, only to have to double-back. You might as well set up camp on the floor.
5. The Seat - Here is the when you realize what help ushers can be. Find an usher and give him your best sympathetic and apologetic look. Look disheveled, like this is your first time ever being late and you’re lost. Throw him the signal for how many in your group like you’re ordering a table in a busy restaurant, and watch as he parts rows to find a void of seats. If you don’t have an usher, you’re on the hunt. See a lack of heads in a row? Make sure there’s no Bibles laying around acting as place cards. Keep an eye out for folding chairs in the back, and don’t be afraid to create your own row on the fly.
Did I miss anything? What other lateness advice would you give?