The word came to me during the singing of “All Because Of Jesus” at yesterday’s 8:30 service: “George is here.”
Immediately, I got nervous.
“George,” you see, is my boss. In Methodist parlance, he is my District Superintendent — the pastor/boss to the roughly 50 or so UM pastors serving in the Charlotte District.
He shows up at Good Shepherd, unannounced, a couple of times a year. Always at 8:30. And I always get a knot in my stomach.
“Will he like the music?” “Am I doing or saying anything too radical today?” “Will he be disappointed I’m not in a robe?” “Why doesn’t he ever come at 10 when it’s so full or at 11:30 when it’s so international?
But it was fine yesterday. In fact, I wasn’t even preaching — and he got to hear John Pavlovitz, our Student Ministries Pastor, deliver an excellent message in the unChristian series.
He also got to see us celebrate the baptism-by-immersion of an adult follower of Christ — an unusual-but-certainly-allowed sacrament in Methodism. We even received new members into the church at 8:30, and they all made the universally Methodist vow to support the church with their “prayers, presence, gifts, and service.”
So at the end, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Yet my anxiety at my boss’ presence in worship got me thinking: shouldn’t I be that nervous every week?
Because isn’t my true authority, my ultimate superintendent, in the middle of our worship gathering Sunday after Sunday?