Church Vacation Weekend Syndrome

by Jon Acuff

I want to let the cat out of the bag about how church is going to be. Consider this your guide to what’s going to happen at your church this summer (if you live in the United States.)

It is a poorly kept secret that the weekend before or after a big holiday, your church is going to do things a little differently than on most Sundays. That is, with a large portion of the congregation out on vacation, they’re going to mix it up a little.

For instance, at a lot of churches, the younger ministers are always asked to preach the day before Memorial Day. Senior pastors know that it’s a lot safer to have some rough-around-the-edges minister saying something crazy to 400 people than 800 people. Same goes with music. Go tomorrow (in the United States) and you’re bound to see some guy who’s always been in the background step forward for a totally unexpected guitar solo. Or a woman that’s always wanted to lead worship will suddenly be behind the mic for the first time.

I call it “Vacation Weekend Syndrome” or VWS. (Not to be confused with DVS)

And because I am a huge dork, I thought I would offer 8 ways your church can spice up tomorrow and avoid VWS:

1. Controversy
Since a lot of folks won’t be in church because they are out on vacation, use this opportunity to address all of the most controversial issues. Talk about politics, popular books, and anything else that otherwise would get the crowd riled up and upset. That way, whenever someone says, “I wish this church was not so seeker-focused and dealt with some of the tough issues,” you can reply, “You must have not been here trumpdrugssex Sunday.”

2. Snakes
Ever thought about incorporating some pit vipers into your service? Why not on the Sunday when everyone is out of town? I don’t know where you can buy a “bag o’ rattlers” but surely someone near you sells poisonous snakes. By the way, I don’t mean to be selfish, but it would really help me out if someone could invite me to a church service where they handled snakes. I’m dying to write about that but won’t unless I’ve actually gone to a service.

3. Church Sumo Wrestling
At every church there are little church politics that no one wants to talk about. The worship minister wants to do more modern songs than the pastor will allow. The elders think the pastor needs to do more Old Testament and less Marvel references. The janitor is still mad at everyone over the “glue incident” of 1978. Get those big blow-up sumo costumes you can rent, a huge tube of bootleg jello (this a church after all), and then have everyone settle their differences. How cool would it be to see the super happy pastor’s wife leg drop the super grumpy elder that is always a jerk to her husband?

4. Skittles
Why not throw Skittles out during the service? Instead of saying, “watch this” or “listen to this” or “are you tracking with me” or another phrase that is designed to get people’s attention, why not throw handfuls of skittles at them? Wouldn’t you love to be hit in the side of the head with a bunch of fruit candy delightfulness? I would.

5. Weird instruments
Ever wondered what an accordion and triangle version of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” would sound like? Got a kid in youth group that is really good at beat box? Do you need more cowbell but are afraid most people would hate it? Well, they’re all on vacation. Get the accordion out. It’s go time.

6. Practice Christmas
Next to Easter, the Christmas service might be the most important one you do. So why not do a dry run in July and make sure everything goes well? Just consider it a practice. Do the candles with kids, hang some holly, sing carols, do the whole thing up. Then, that way, when the real Christmas rolls around, you’ll be ready. Don’t tell anyone it’s a practice. Just do it as if it’s a normal thing to do. The look on the face of your visitors and members who show up and find themselves singing “Oh Holy Night” in the middle of the summer will be worth it.

7. Haikus
Do the entire sermon in haiku. It’s not as hard as you think. Here’s an example: Jesus was so cool (5 syllables) He gave His life for our sins (7 syllables) Let’s be close to him (5 syllables)

8. Have an “SCL Sunday”
Why not throw a “Stuff Christians Like” service? We’ll play old Sandi Patty and Michael W. Smith songs. We’ll take a love offering and interlink our fingers when we hold hands. We’ll get a puppet group, named “Strings of Mercy,” to come do the Noah’s Ark story and then I’ll speak. It will be fantastic.

I would do some pop and lock breakdancing tomorrow in the hallway if Cross Point did any one of these ideas. If they don’t, I’m going to do that mime move where you pretend to be stuck in an invisible box. Mime is the opposite of breakdancing.

p.s. There are two things that go without saying:

1. I can’t promise that your church will use any of these tips.

2. I can promise that the church I start, GracePointeLifeTruthHouseNorthRiverElevate, will use all of them. Used by permission.

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