They were visitors in our worship service and, like all visitors in a small church, they were not hard to spot. I could see from the looks on their faces that whatever they were looking for in a church, we didn’t have it. When we all stood to sing the hymns, they just looked straight ahead, never making an effort to sing and not even picking up a hymnbook.
I greeted them in the hallway after the service and said something like, “I couldn’t help noticing that you seemed uncomfortable in our service. Is there something I could help you with?”
They looked at one another and then one of them blurted out, “Well, we noticed you use hymnbooks. We’ve never been in a church that still uses hymnbooks. We’ve always had the words on overhead screens.”
Kyle Childress is pastor of Austin Heights Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas, and author, with Rodney Wallace Kennedy, of Will Campbell, Preacher Man: Essays in the Spirit of a Divine Provocateur (Cascade).