Pastor Billy meant well, he really did. That was one of the reasons he was always talking about sports. He was a fan himself, but he also knew it was a great conversation starter. And he knew that being a good conversationalist was key to establishing a rapport with his congregation. And he knew another key was delivering sermons in this conversational style, ones to which the church members could relate, and sports came in handy for that.
What Pastor Billy was not so good at was thinking things through.
And that is how what later came to be known in the church as “The Sermon” happened. It started innocently enough. Pastor Billy had a great idea for the Sunday message. It was an extended illustration involving not one sport, but just about all of them–specifically, how the equipment used in various sports related to one’s Christian walk.
But an embarrassing-in-hindsight-after-being-photographed-and-shared-worldwide-via-the-Internet church sign, a message filled with awkward silences punctuated only by the giggles of the congregation’s teenage boys, an even more awkward meeting with Pastor Billy hurriedly convened by the church Elders the afternoon following the message, and a red-faced apology from the Pastor the following Sunday later, and it occurred to Pastor Billy far too late that a sermon entitled “What Your Balls Say About You” probably gave people the wrong idea, unintentional as it may have been.
But that had been over a month ago. Pastor Billy had gone out of his way to be far more careful with his word choice, and the congregation was nothing if not forgiving–not a word had been spoken about “The Sermon” since Billy’s apology. It was like it had never happened.
In fact, the self-consciousness which had plagued Billy in the aftermath of “The Sermon” had dissipated to the point that the pastor was ready to make sports part of his Sunday message again.
He had come up with a great idea incorporating his favorite sporting goods store, and as he pulled into the church’s parking lot that Wednesday before the message, he took a look at the church’s sign and felt a surge of excitement as he read the title: ALL ABOUT DICK’S.
He parked his car and got out, heading into his office, beaming. He couldn’t wait until Sunday.