I have some memories about the first Sunday in August.
Growing up as a preachers kid in Georgia, this particular Sunday signaled the beginning of a new church year in our church organization. Six times while I was living at home, this was our first Sunday at a new church. Meeting people I had never met before and being guarded about what I did and what I said. It was a fish bowl existence for me and probably the main reason I have an introverted personality today. Even now, it takes me a while to warm up to new people or a new place. I am also careful to not open up too much too soon.
There are some things we learned about these experiences.
- The first person to tell you all the problems of a church was always the one that was the troublemaker. I remember at one church we had barely got moved into the parsonage before someone came and told us about the problems of the church. That was the person who turned out to be the problem.
- You learn to be very observant and know the motives of people. Just watch and it doesn’t take long until their true colors come out. You would assume that you shouldn’t have to think about these things with church people but the reality can be very sobering.
- People who bragged on themselves and what they did in the church were usually the ones that you couldn’t get to do anything after the “honeymoon period” was over. Some people just simply resist submitting to authority. They don’t want a pastor to lead them.
I know it sounds negative but I’m just telling you the experience I had with this. Opinions will vary depending on who you ask but I know other preacher’s kids who had very similar experiences. It just always amazed me how things developed from that first Sunday. God – and people – work in mysterious ways.
If I can be totally transparent with you, I would have to admit the worst first Sunday experience was in a tiny community church in Axson, Georgia. Man, those folks were tough and the kids my age didn’t cut me any slack at all. They made fun of me and keep me as the outsider. On the other end of the first Sunday in August was the first Sunday in Villa Rica. The kids there accepted me from the first time we met. Both of those experiences have stayed with me even today. I look at some fondly and others not so much.
Thankfully I don’t have to deal with the first Sunday of August the same anymore.