A Plea to the MC: Careful of Careless Closure

Perhaps an MC will read this post.  Perhaps a worship leader.  Perhaps one Sunday you will not preach, but will “chair” the service (as they say in England), for a visiting speaker.  I have a plea.  Please, please, please be careful what you say after the sermon.  Most of the time, it might be best to say nothing.  There’s nothing worse than a good sermon well preached, then the moment trashed by a jovial comment or mood-breaking notice.  Actually, there is something worse.

It’s worse when someone stands up after a sermon and tries to add a helpful comment.  Perhaps a summary of what the speaker has said.  Perhaps even an attempted exhortation in light of what the speaker has said.  As someone involved in missions work I am afraid only one example is spinning in my head, but it is the example par excellence for missions speakers down through the years.  Let me quote from an email I received last week:

One of my early attempts to share my passion for unreached nations took place in a small country church some years ago. I gave them my best . . . The pastor then felt it necessary to mitigate my remarks and blunt my passion for the unreached by assuring his flock, “We’re all missionaries to our neighborhoods and workplaces!” I was thoroughly deflated.

I have experienced it and I have seen it.  A preacher makes a strong case for missions to the unreached from God’s Word, then all that work is undermined by a well-intentioned, but horribly misplaced comment in closing.

I’ve learned that, whenever possible, if I see a way my message could be undermined, I make plans to avoid it.  If possible I will ask if I can close the service.  Sometimes I’d rather not be the one to pray and wrap things up.  I’m certainly not the best at it.  But at least I won’t undermine the whole thing.

This happens regularly to missions messages.  What other kind of message have you seen undermined by careless closure?

One thought on “A Plea to the MC: Careful of Careless Closure

  1. About eight years ago, I was visiting a church that had the teenagers lead the service. They did everything–music, prayer, Lord’s Supper, etc. One of the teens preached, and I think it was his first sermon… and a pretty good first effort. The church’s preacher then got up to close the service immediately after the young man had preached… and proceded to tell the congregation to pray for a local man who was injured in a farming accident–in graphic detail. The mood of the entire place, which was so upbeat, went completely flat…

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