3 things you can only do in church.


Years ago, my friends Tripp and Tyler did a video about the things you can’t do when you’re not in a pool. It was a hilarious look at those two guys spitting water at people on the sidewalk, making absurd underwater faces and in general being perfectly silly.

It made me think though, are there some things you can only do in church? Are there some weird things we take for granted that if you did other places would seem ridiculous?

I think there are and here are the three I came up with:

3 things you can only do in church.

1. Ask a stranger to scoot in to the middle.
If you’re late to church one morning, it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask a complete stranger sitting on the aisle to scoot in to the middle. You might not think that’s a weird thing, but try that same thing the next time you fly Southwest. If you’re in the B boarding group, walk onto the plane and find someone from the A group who has claimed an aisle seat. Walk up to them and say, “Excuse me, will you scoot in to the middle so I can sit in the aisle?” Let me know how the rest of the flight goes.

2. Hug people you don’t really know.
Your church might not do this, but I’ve been at plenty of churches where the pastor said, “Turn to the person next to you, give them a big hug and let them know you’re glad that they’re here!” (Cue collective introvert shudder.) Try this one at Starbucks today. As you wait in line, just turn to the person next to you, embrace them in a full frontal hug (no leg wrap please) and say, “I am so glad you are at Starbucks!” Please do not mention this blog post in the arrest report.

3. Shout phrases of encouragement when someone says something good.
I love when people shout “Amen!” when I am speaking at a church. I also like “That’s the truth!” I find both of those things encouraging. But next time you’re in a meeting at work, try that. When your boss reads off the plans for a new client, just scream from the back of the room, “That’s the truth!” Or better yet, scream out, “Devil is a lie!” Then email me and I’ll help you figure out what it feels like to be unemployed. (Technically you can yell at concerts but I don’t cotton to sitting near the guy who screams “Jesusssssss!!!!” directly in your ear canal all night.)

There are a lot of things you can only do in church.

Those are my 3, what do you think is something you can only do in church?

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  1. says

    Sing at the top of your lungs, even though you’ve been told your whole life, you have no singing voice, because it’s worship. I take that back, you can also do this at American Idol auditions.

  2. Josh says

    I have been to a camp where a group of guys from – what I can only guess is some form of charismatic Church – kept calling out “That’s good!” when we were doing orientation. To their credit, it is a Christian camp and orientation was covering Christian teaching.

  3. Paul Pennington says

    Try passing a bucket around the office asking people for 10% of their paycheck and let me know how that goes.

  4. Rachel says

    Great post!!! But I’m trying to figure out what “I don’t cotton sitting near the guy…” means. Did I miss something somewhere or are you just being “aloe” Jon? :)

  5. says

    With regard to point #3, church would be absolutely hilarious if people felt they could express their disagreement as freely and loudly as they express their agreement.

    • KMR says

      This happened one time at the small church I grew up in. Not nearly as funny as you would think even when the jerk in the pulpit deserves it. The only thing I remember was the desire to duck under my pew and crawl commando style under the rest till I reached the exit.

      • says

        It may be uncomfortable to see someone break the rules, but there’s a passive-aggressive nature to the way church people normally respond to someone they dislike at the pulpit. No one will dare breath a word of criticism while he’s preaching; they’ll just quietly talk about him behind his back in the church foyer afterwards. It would be nice if it were more open.

        • Kristen says

          I wouldn’t criticize anyone while they’re giving a prepared speech no matter if it’s church or a timeshare presentation. If I choose to go to it then I knew what it was about to begin with. And if I don’t like or agree with it I can 1) leave quietly 2) wait till the end of the speech and if appropriate ask questions or 3) approach the presenter when the speech is over and talk to them about what I disagree with. That’s what I normally see people do, what I’ve done, and what seems to work out better than yelling out “boo!”

        • Jessie says

          People may not shout their disapproval out loud, but they aren’t afraid to send the pastor emails or write it on their communication card under “prayer requests” and put it in the offering. Trust me.

  6. says

    #4: Talk to people about the voices in your head!

    Only in church can you have an entire conversation with someone about what the voices in your head are telling to do or not to do, and they won’t have you committed as a menace to yourself or society, but rather pray with you for clarity over what the voices are saying, or partner with you in standing against a voice of the enemy…. Damn voices! I just wish the ‘still quiet’ one, would SPEAK UP!!

  7. Nicki says

    I’m not sure how I would do in the job market if I could justify leaving my last company because I felt like I “wasn’t being fed.” Hmm…

  8. says

    At our church the acolyte brings in the light of Christ at the beginning of service. I think if I slowly walked into my office holding a lit candle and praying to Jesus, there’d be a pretty big kerfuffle soon after.

  9. says

    1. Side hug.

    2. Eat bread that has been torn from a loaf by hand by someone who, only 1/2 hour before, was shaking hands with everyone who walks up to him.

    3. Doodle.

  10. Ron says

    Jon, first of all, amazing job at YPS!!! I pooped my pants every time I saw your name on the schedule. You owe me a pack of underwear (preferably one with 2 bonus pairs, A.K.A. any pack of underwear).

    Along with that I’ll add to #3 there was a person that continuously yelled throughout the conference, “COME ON!” I couldn’t figure out if he was saying it with irritation (i.e. spilling coffee on your shirt and yelling “COME ON!”) or to encourage.

    I also challenge you to follow up this article with “20 things you can only do at Rock the Universe / Night of Joy” (i.e. chant “we love Jesus, yes we do…”, demand high fives from strangers, etc…). I’m fairly certain there are at least 20 things.

  11. Prophet Ezequiel says

    Getting baptized in the Holy Ghost. Try that in public, and they send you directly to the emergency room

    • Chandre De Wet says

      There’s a revival happening in a small town in South Africa called East London… It’s sweeping across the churches. During worship, someone in the choir at a Methodist Church fell over (from the Holy Spirit) and because no one knew what that was they called the Ambulance… :)

  12. says

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  13. Josiah Coleman says

    Puppet shows. Speaking in tongues. Dance groups made solely of white kids who listen to (sorta) rock music.


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