1. Money Talks
There is more time spent during the service discussing the need for money (in tithes, offerings, gifts, bequests, lunch money, and cash in small, unmarked bills) than there is spent on the communion and singing combined. Don’t they know that “you cannot serve both God and money”? (Matthew 6:24 NIV) (It’s time to turn tail and run if during the next committee meeting you hear discussions about installing parking meters out in the church parking lot!)
2. Give Me An “A”
The song leader/choir director missed his calling as drill sergeant. Sure, he might not be able to carry a tune in a bucket with ivory enforced handles, but if the notches on his baton are any indication, his singers had better! It appears that the notion pertaining to making “a joyful noise unto God” has gone by the wayside in favor of putting on a Grammy ready performance. (Psalm 66:1 KJV) (I would not suggest sticking around when he complains that the men need more practice with the high notes…)
3. Give Me An “F”
The preacher has a potty mouth that makes Jeremiah Wright sound downright calm. F-bombs are dropped left, right, and center, and if you’re not careful, you might actually step into a steaming pile of other profanities that have been launched from the pulpit. Sure, passion is a preacher’s stock in trade, but don’t they know that you should “not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths”? (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) (Consider taking cover when he starts talking about those good for nothing, hot-danged lawyers that Shakespeare said to kill first…especially if you are in that profession.
4. The After Church Social Consists Of Questionable Activities
Okay, so shaking hands with the preacher on the way out and desperately thinking of some platitude to comment on the sermon might not be your cup of tea, but if after church the congregation busies itself at making signs that read “I HATE ___” (gays, straights, blacks, whites, pagans, Wesleyans, …) or “VOTE FOR ___ BECAUSE ___ ___” (kicks dogs, hates kittens, eats pork), you know that this is an odd outfit you might just want to stay away from. Don’t they know that the Bible says “do not judge”? (Luke 6:37 NIV)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to oppose a sin from the pulpit or within the congregation itself, but when you start throwing around words like “hate” and combining them with actual people rather than just the sinful act, it gets a bit unscriptural. (If snake handling and optional cross tattoo appointments are offered after service, you might want to make a quiet exit.)
5. Rumor Has It That the Last Preacher Left Because Of Sexual Misconduct
Great! You might have found yourself in a congregation where minors are treated like a candy sampler and instead of protecting them, the perp is “transferred,” “takes a sabbatical,” or suddenly received a call for “missions.” Unless these activities take place at the local Crossbar Hotel (prison) because another leader or congregant unashamedly dropped a dime, you might want to run for the hills (although God’s aim with the hellfire and brimstone usually is not off).
Don’t they know that “if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.”? (Mark 9:42 Message) (By the way, if the preacher asks after the sermon if you want to come pet his snake, you should run as fast as your feet will carry you.)
6. The Front Row Seems To Be Reserved
If you are asked for the secret password, need to perform a special handshake, show club ID, and have your retina scanned before you can sit in the front row, the good folks at your local congregation might have become a mite cliquish.
Don’t they know that you should “not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position”? (Romans 12:16 NIV) (On the other hand, if you are invited to come and move into the compound and help guard the church against the no-good heathens and the government that is controlling them, it might be time to back away slowly…very slowly…)
7. There Are People In The Church!
The last but most certainly most damning of the top seven deadly signs that there are sinners in your church is recognized by people sitting in the pews or walking around the building!
Don’t they know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”? (Romans 3:23 NIV) How dare the pastor let people join his church? For that matter, why is he there? Come to think of it, what do you think you are doing here!?!
Confident that I have helped you find the perfect church for your needs, I wish you a Happy Easter!