Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Got a Pet (Peeve?)

Over the past several months I have been in and out of several church worship services, and have been observing what's going on before, during, and after, as well as worshipping. In keeping with the current thread of conversation the last few posts, I wanted to talk about some pet peeves.

Dictionary.com has a couple of definitions: a particular and often continual annoyance; something about which one frequently complains; a personal vexation.

Wikipedia has the following: a minor annoyance that can instill great frustration in a very small group of people, yet is experienced by everyone. It also must be insignificant, so people insulting you is not a pet peeve. For example, if you find that elevator doors closing before you can get in annoys you, but does not annoy all the people around you, it is a pet peeve, as it meets all three criteria: insignificant, experienced by all, and only you and a few others are annoyed by it.

With those definitions in mind, here are a few pet peeves of mine related to the "operations" of a church. Names/circumstances have been changed to protect the guilty!

  • Audiovisual problems - churches that have minor (and major) AVL problems - not equipment related, but operator error. Most of these come down to a lack of training and practice. There's very few operator problems that can't be solved by regular training, rehearsal opportunities, and dedicated techs. This is my number one pet peeve, and one I'm most familiar with. I've been working with church AVL in some way since high school, so I know a little about this. Aside from equipment problems, there's just really no excuse for mics not on, music not cued up, improper mic placement, unfamiliarity with the program content, and on and on.
  • Wasting time - services should be planned to flow smoothly and unrushed, yet there should not be any dead time between the elements of the service. Special music require movement of a group to the stage? Block it out and go over it with the group. Presentation or discussion require handing something out? Make sure there are plenty of ushers with plenty of handouts stationed all over the worship center. You get the picture.
  • Handing out stuff before and during worship - papers tend to stick together. Don't lick your fingers and then hand me a piece of paper. There are plenty of ways to make this easy, but your spit shouldn't be one of them.
  • Inoperable double doors - designers plan on a double set of doors for a reason. Make sure that both work, and that both are used coming and going. It only takes a second to back up traffic flow when people have to use one door instead of two.
  • Chipped paint, pencil marks, smudged windows - like ESPN says, "C'mon, man!" What would it take for your cleaning crew to regularly touch up spots?
  • Out of date promotional items posted around campus - the event is over, take it down that day.
  • Exterior lights not set for time change - most noticeable in the fall, when it gets dark earlier. Note the date on your calendar, and reset timers or programming so the lights come on at least one hour before dusk.
  • Comfortable temperatures - seasonally adjusted as needed. No, you're not going to be able to please everyone. But you should plan to have a temperate climate in your worship center at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the service.

I'll stop while before I get too "preachy"! It's my opinion that these little things matter, and churches should do all they can to make a great first impression on guests (and members). Are these little, nit-picky things? Maybe - and maybe not. If they matter to someone, they should matter to you.

What's on your pet peeve list?

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