Mentionable Ministry Mishaps

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by Carole Brewer

Putting yourself out there has its risks. The heart is pumped with excitement, the brain is focused, and then, wham! The unexpected attention-grabber turns a well-prepared message into a comedy routine!

Laugh with me as I share some hilarious experiences.

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” ~Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Many of my mishaps occurred when I was a monthly guest on Christian television programs. If you’ve ever sung on camera, you’ll agree that there’s nothing like it! When the red light comes on, tag – you’re it! A cold drafty studio combined with edgy nerves already sets up the singer for a less-than-perfect, teeth-chattering solo. Even the most carefully placed stance on the appointed floor spot cannot avert the bloopers waiting to happen.

With cameras rolling, I’ve had sparkly earrings drop, moths upstage me in front of the lens, and a large set backdrop crash to the floor. During one of my tender-hearted ballads, viewers were distracted by my fluorescent red tongue; the result of finishing a cherry cough drop just before going on. At a smaller studio, I decided to try cue cards for a song not memorized. The assistant was late in displaying the first verse so I made up my own lyrics on the spot. When the card came up, I tweaked those lyrics to rhyme with whatever I had just sung.

Maybe a mishap on TV isn’t really so bad. It could be that half the audience has left for a snack anyway. Since you can’t actually see them, you’re fine as long as you don’t watch the re-runs.

There’s nothing like singing and speaking for a live event either! In contrast to being on camera, there is immediate feedback galore! I was always amazed how little kids could sleep on the front row while I was cranking out a dynamic anthem in my soprano range.

Once, when singing for a church located next to a fire station, the sound system mixed a distress call in with my solo. Another time, an event planner introduced me ten minutes before scheduled so I heard the huge welcoming applause over a remote speaker while seated in the rest room. In less than a minute, the congregation saw me bolt through the side door with paper towel in hand chirping, “Yoo hoo, I’m here!”

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a short flight on one of those really cool little turbo jets. Having the window seat in a two-seat row and feeling especially blessed, I was ready to share my faith with whomever God would place next to me. A man showed up with a pleasant expression and belted himself in. We took off and he proceeded to retrieve a small book out of his case. While I enjoyed the view, I did notice him reading a few lines, closing the book, looking up, and repeating the process. What was he studying? Now my curiosity got the best of me and I strained see the cover. Even with a napkin next to the book, I determined that the title was Rules of God. Rules of God? What was that about? Was this man a pastor, an elder? What church? Hmmm. Oh good, here’s my chance!

When the beverage service came, he handed over to me the peanuts and my cup of tea. I said, “Thank you.” and waited about 30 seconds for my overture. “That little book you’re reading intrigues me. What’s it about?” He lit up and enthusiastically lifted into full view the book titled Rules of Golf! For the remaining 20 minutes of our flight, this professional golfer explained to me, with numerous photos and diagrams, a variety of lesser-known details that especially apply to the St. Andrews course in Scotland. How educational for me!

Such mentionable mishaps can only be rivaled by my close encounters with critters.

During a Sunday morning service, a ground squirrel tore straight across the sanctuary carpet to the front pew where I was seated. Jetting my feet straight out, I voiced “Whee” as the petrified fuzzy ran directly under my seat. Somehow, the dignified introduction that I’d just received had lost its credibility.

Aviating bugs lodged in my teeth at a Fourth of July concert in the park. At a formal concert, a fly darted in as my jaw dropped for the magnificent high note. It briefly buzzed around and zoomed out. Was that a critique?

Cows on the other hand, love my singing! At a small country church surrounded by a large field, the local herd gathered just outside the open windows. Contented and seeming to sway to my music, they were obviously mooooved.

At one of my most memorable Sunday services, I had just finished the last note of a very sensitive and meditative song of worship. My eyes were closed and the congregation softly voiced an appreciative “Mmmm.” That serene and reflective moment was suddenly disrupted by a POP! Stunned by the interruption, I realized that I had just received a big smack on my rear and immediately looked to my left. A deacon was alternately bowing and backing off with a rolled up church bulletin in his hand. I skittishly turned forward to the motionless dropped-jaw congregation and rather dazed myself, turned back to the deacon. He continued to bow and back away apologetically explaining that he wanted to protect me from that bee! My timid voice responded, “Oh, thank you……I think.” The congregation, still half shocked, slightly tittered. Considering for a couple of breaths what had just happened, I slowly rotated forward and proclaimed with my loudest voice, “All I can say is…..I BEE–LIEVE!” The entire church, except for the swatter, broke into uproarious laughter that lasted for several minutes. I, the swattee, upon exiting the platform noticed many dead bees on the floor in the choir loft. It made me wonder if, at a previous service, the entire choir had been rear-ended.

I have yet to hear a dog howl in one of my concerts but since I’ve set some off in rehearsals, it’s always a possibility.

Crashing sets, earlier-than-scheduled introductions, misread book titles, or misguided squirrels can’t fully prepare me for whatever may smack me next. Putting yourself out there does have its risks but I’ve found the attention-grabbing mishaps to be great blessings that add immensely to the entire adventure of serving God through ministry.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”

The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Psalm 126:2, 3 NRSV

Originally posted in ll: Praise Notes :ll, on online newsletter by Carole Brewer, Copyright © 2009 Carole Brewer Ministries wwww.carolebrewer.com Portions reprinted in ll: Praise Notes :ll © November 2014 and LivingBetter50 © February 2015.

With effervescence, Carole has shared her love for the Lord on television and radio programs, for regional and national conferences, and for church ministries worldwide. As a speaker, Carole seamlessly presents both the message and the music for “The King and I”; a four-session retreat for women. Learn more about this life-transforming weekend away at www.carolebrewer.com Carole’s stories have been featured in a variety of online magazines and book compilations including Kisses of Sunshine for Teachersand Conversations on Purpose for Women (Zondervan). A soloist, pianist and songwriter, Carole sings God’s praises on four dynamic solo CD’s and teaches others through her popular voice manual, Cookin’ Up a Song.She also serves as National Networks Director USA for Christian Women in Media Association. Carole’s newest adventure is to host “Bible Chicks”, an upbeat internet radio program on PureWorshipRadio.com. Visit www.BibleChicks.com for details and schedule.