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08 October 2008

What They Say/What They Mean

I can't wake up today! It's raining and I'm thinking about the road trip to the Catalyst Conference (about four hours westward) with a group from our church fellowship. I'd appreciate your prayers for us as we travel, participate in worship, hear the Word, and look for refreshment, new perspectives, and new ideas. Also, please pray for those who will be leading and speaking at the conference. I'll attempt to post daily wrap-ups about what goes on, but I'm not one for journaling, and I'm sure Rich Kirkpatrick or someone like that will do a better job of it, so I imagine I'll only hit the very high points.

I definitely intend to do some sort of Catalyst worship leader fashion wrap-up. It's my theory that there will be about four or five general templates for dress code and hairstyles among the attendees. We shall see...

I want to leave you with a few things before I go, a la blogger Tony M -- several thoughts in one post. Notice all the tags/topics at the bottom of the post.

Today (when he probably should have been sleeping) Tony posted a link to a rough demo of a new song of his, called "Not Me - Him!" and I believe you'll really enjoy both the lyrics and the music. It's a bit eerie-sounding on the verses, which makes me like it even more -- it's not like anything I would have anticipated, having read the lyrics a while back but not having a clue about the music. Good, memorable musical "hook" on the chorus, too.

Tony also mentions in his post that Google Chrome, a new browser getting good reviews, apparently likes this site ( Cool!

Finally, I received an e-mail in the wee hours of the morning that cracked me up. I'm not sure who the author is, so I can't give credit where it's due (UPDATE: found out that Perry Noble is the author. Also found this linked at I hope that you find it amusing rather than offensive. I get a black eye in here, too, so this is not aimed at anyone...

What They Say: “I’m looking for a church that preaches the Word!”
What They Mean: “I’m looking for a church that preaches my view of the Word. I think the BLANK translation should be used… I think BLANK should be talked about a lot while BLANK should be ignored. And if you ever stop preaching my view of the Word I will leave and tell others that you don’t preach the Word!”

What They Say: “Lots of people have been coming to me and saying they don’t like is…”
What They Mean: “I basically only have three friends… and all of them think exactly like me. The other night we were enjoying a time of self-righteousness because, after all, we are right about everything… and were also slandering you (in the form of prayer requests) and thought it would be wise to approach you with our pet peeve. We’ve actually talked to no one else about this but said 'lots' because we wanted to validate our dysfunction.”

What They Say: “I’m leaving the church.”
What They Mean: “Beg me to stay. If you will just ask me I will share with you several ways you can compromise God’s vision that He’s given you, thus becoming nothing more than a people pleasing pastor who is more interested in popularity than obedience. If you don’t bow to my demands I will remind you that I tithe and that the church needs my money, reducing you to a mere preaching whore: one who is paid for a service for the pleasure of another person.”

What They Say: “I want a church that is more focused on discipleship.”
What They Mean: “I want a church where everyone knows me and how important I am! I don’t want to reach people who are different from me, be it economic class or race or even musical preference. I already know WAY more than I put into practice, but I somehow equate spirituality with knowledge rather than application, and I rather enjoy feeling intellectually superior to those who don’t know as much as me.”

What They Say: “Don’t take this personally…but…”
What They Mean: “I am about to lower the BOOM on you, but you can’t get angry because I told you not to take it personally. Even though you have dedicated your life to this and pretty much invest every ounce of energy you have to this cause -- and I think about it once or twice a week -- you need to receive my attacks, even when they are personal. And you cannot retaliate because, remember: it’s not personal.”

Feel free to add your own "What They Say/What They Mean" statements on the comments.

Have a great day!


Jan said...

Dean, I hate to correct you but ATL is EAST of us!!!! So whatever you do, go east young man! I wish I could go. :(

As for the Perry Noble article. Wow. That's pretty upfront, wouldn't you say??? I loved the one about "I've talked to people and they all say". Years ago I learned to say "who is people" and if they wouldn't tell me I wouldn't allow them to speak. I also liked the last one. I could relate. I'm not sure there is any other profession that people are allowed to abuse the leaders - on a very personal level and without recourse - and get away with it or even be rewarded. My favorite part was "even though you've given every moment of your life and i've thought about twice a week." AMEN!!!!

For those non-ministers out there let me just say that this article should give you some insight into the daily difficulties pastors and staff encounter. Some days are simply not fun and the pain is very heartfelt and deep.

My pet peeve - we are so quick to criticize and so slow to say thank you.

Dean Lusk said...

Okay, okay... East, for the love of Pete! In my defense I did say, "I can't wake up today!" :-)

Mercifully, I don't have to drive.

Tony M said...

Glad you're not driving, Dean! And thanks for all the shout outs (or whatever you may call them).

I too enjoyed the "say/mean" comparisons... but I don't have any additional ones to add at the moment (I had trouble waking up today, too... wonder why). And I am very guilty of Jan's comment - quick to criticize, slow to thank. I think my critical nature stems from a desire to hide my own flaws - if I point out everything you're (or anyone else around me) is doing wrong, maybe no one will notice what I'm doing wrong. Which is, of course, majorly wrong itself.

But I can't even begin to imagine all that you guys ("worship leaders") have to endure as far as this goes - after all, you're paraded around on stage for all the world (ok, all the congregation) to see. And yet you continue, week after week, because of your dedication to the Lord's service.

For that, I want to officially and publicly say "thank you!" (to both of you specifically, but also to any other church leadership types out there who may be reading). And not only for your dedication (often in the midst of turmoil and, I'm sure, painful comments that you don't ever let on that you're receiving, continuing on as Christ would/did), but for your willingness, your service, your leadership, and your example.

Don't take this personally (heh, kidding!), but even if your "style" doesn't necessarily match my own (and I'm not speaking to either of you - Dean I know matches "my likes" pretty well, and I'm pretty sure Jan does too even though I've not often had the opportunity to worship with her, just generalizing here), it's nice to know that you're dedicated to the service you are offering to the Lord.

So: thank you, Dean. Thank you, Jan. And thank you, anonymous church leader reading this. Keep up the good work! (pun intended, sorry...)

Christy said...

Even though some of these situations may at times really happen, perhaps it wouldn't hurt the leaders of our churches to take it as a challenge to search themselves and make sure that they are indeed preaching the Word according to God. I know that many people, including myself, speak before thinking, but if we all took criticisms better, there just might be a lot more growth happening. After all, it wouldn't be the first time God talked through the mouth of a donkey to get someones attention.

Preston N said...

I tend to agree with Christie here. In an age where pastors and leaders are more prone than ever to becoming "unapproachable" (ie Ted Haggard) I think it's sorta of dangerous to have an attitude as the one Perry is putting forth here (joking or not). Granted there are people in churches who are nit-picky or just like to stir up trouble. Then there are others who are sincere and feel very much led to speak up about concerns or issues they see happening with the body of Christ (Given the dire moral decay I am seeing in the world today I would say our churches are coming up a little short right now and probably need more people speaking up than remaining quiet!)

Let us be careful that we don't throw the "baby out with the bath water" here. I would tend to be very leery of a pastor who looks at criticism as Mr Noble seems to be putting forth here. Yes, he might be right about the motives of some of these examples, but I would have never mentioned these openly in fear that now my members might feel as if I am now unapproachable. If I read this and I was a member of Perry's church I would have to wonder if he could ever be approached about any form of rebuke or reproach or would he categorize all rebuke or reproach in one of his 4 categories???

Dean Lusk said...


Here, as in other situations, context is critical. If these statements came from people who obviously love Christ and are genuinely concerned, they would be received as helpful. Personally, I think that before we dismiss any criticism, we need to ask God if the person is correct.

So in that respect I guess I agree with Christy and Preston.

But... I search myself daily, as Christy stated, to know this. It does not take harsh criticism like these items to help me with introspection.

My guess is that most people have not been on the receiving end of these comments or sentiments.

The one statement I agree with you on was this one: "I want a church that is more focused on discipleship." That one usually has validity.

I stand by my enjoyment of the humor in these, and their general accuracy -- these things are evidently given from experience, not from a jerk pastor who just wants to dismiss opinions and trumpet his opinions as correct.

Jan said...

thanks Tony. I appreciate it. Very much.

As a church leader, let me say that I take EVERY COMMENT very seriously. No one desires for me to obey and honor God more than I do! I do not think I am arrogant in saying that. I will say that if you have never been in ministry you really cannot understand the stress that these kinds of comments bring - and from those we love so much. It sort of reminds me of not being able to understand being a parent before you are one, or being able to fully appreciate your own parents until you parent your children.

I don't mind talking to people. I do mind being bashed. That is not cool ever. We're on the same team!!!!

Believe me, these situations do happen. Every day.

beth said...

It's always great to wake up to a day of ministry with a little Perry Noble...

Great post.

I did wonder about what part of Alabama you lived in if you were traveling west to ATL...thanks, Jan, for the clarification...

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