Ahaziah, Britney Spears and Being the Pastor of a Boring Church

2 Kings 1 tells us that Israel’s king Ahaziah fell through a lattice on the top story of his palace. He got pretty sick due to the fall and sent messengers to Ekron to enquire of their god, Baalzebub, to see if he would get better.

God tells Elijah to intercept the messengers and tell them, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?”

Oh, that’s beautiful.


I have been told many times that my job as a pastor is to “get the people in.” Pastoral work has become marketing and sales. That being the case, I am supposed to put on a show, do a song and dance routine to attract a crowd. As we know, if there is a crowd, something important must be going on (that was sarcasm).

I have tried to veer as far away from this stuff as possible, admittedly maybe even too far. I have actually tried to create a horrible church experience to keep all pretenders away. I am the reverse of a seeker sensitive church.

I an probably a seeker-insensitive church, as this helps me know who is really seeking.

You really have to do some seeking to even know we exist. We do not market our church. The extent of our marketing is that we have a web site, the main function of which is to share sermon audio.

I would guess the vast majority of our church members can’t even tell you what the web address is. The web site is pretty cheesy, it looks dorky and is clunky. I spent no money creating it. I used a free Yahoo application to make it and it has looked the same for many years.

We do no Christmas pageants, no Easter cantatas, no VBS, no youth ministry or anything else. I have never once played a Britney Spears or a U2 song in church. I have never shown movie clips or had skits or interpretive dance during a church service.

Others may, I cannot.

I understand that most pastors and all church growth materials disagree with everything I am saying. I know. I’m aware. I’m willing to play the odds that if I do the exact opposite of what the “experts” say on building a church, I’m probably right.

I have been told that our chairs are some of the most uncomfortable chairs in the world.

We sing hymns. From a hymn book. With a piano as the only instrument.

I am not trying to impress you or sell you something; I am literally trying to shave away all distractions from the Word of God to see who really wants it. (This does not imply that everyone in my church wants the Word, I don’t presume to know why everyone is there, but I do my part to limit the possible answers.)

Since we do things this way, and the board and I are in agreement on this approach, few people come to church and I don’t get paid much. This is a result of our approach and I am willing to live with the results.

There is a reason I do it this way.


I can’t see doing anything else in church than centering everything on preaching the Word. Judgment Day is always in sight.

I can’t imagine standing before God and hearing Him say, “Jeff, I gave you people’s time, I gave you one precious hour a week, and you played games with it? Is there not a god in the Church that you had to go play Britney Spears’ songs instead of preaching My Word?”

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