I have to confess something. I went to Oklahoma City last week hoping that I would become an instant Christian thousandaire after speaking at the MinistryCOM conference, be given the keys to an international ministry named “Side Huggery” or at the bare minimum, be recruited as a breakdancer for their new NBA team. Although none of those things happened, I am happy to report that I did successfully avoid using a “double greeting” in my speech.
The double greeting is a pretty common illness that infects ministers at the very beginning of sermons. Here’s what it looks like:
(Sensing that the crowd’s volume or enthusiasm did not meet his expectation, he decides to shame everyone into a more adequate response.)
“I said ‘Good Morning!'”
(A little embarrassed or annoyed that their good morning failed to meet some unspoken expectation, the crowd raises their voice and repeats.)
(Assessing the new “good morning” and finding it satisfactory, he releases the crowd from this circular greeting torture and grades the response.)
“That’s more like it.”
Although I was able to navigate my way around using a double greeting when I spoke, I still have three questions about this pivotal issue.
1. When a minister does this, is the goal based on volume level or percent of crowd participation? For instance, if the guy that always screams “JESUS!!” at concerts is attending that Sunday and yells “GOOD MORNING,” can we avoid the double greeting? Or do we need at least 51% of the crowd on board?
2. Have you ever had a minister blame the double greeting on Jesus? That’s fun. After you give a loud enough “Good Morning” he’ll say something like “That’s better, that’s the kind of good morning Jesus deserves.” Does Jesus agree with that? Is he pro double greeting or anti double greeting? Does he high five Enoch when it happens or feel thrown under the bus and want to say, “whoa, whoa, whoa, I never asked for the double greeting.”
3. Is there a world record for the most consecutive rounds of greeting? Theoretically, if the minister has really high standards or the crowd doesn’t ever fully participate, it could go on for eternity. Just good morning, after good morning, after good morning.
Even though I dodged a bullet and managed to get out of Oklahoma City without dropping a double greeting, the temptation remains. If you ever hear me do a double greeting please immediately come up on stage and confiscate one of the white Pumas I will inevitably wearing. It will be hard for me to speak while only wearing one shoe but it’s the only way I’ll learn.