There was this time when I was an after-dinner speaker at a church function honoring graduating seniors. One grad- a young lady- sang as a part of the program. Afterwards I congratulated the grandmother for having such a talented granddaughter. Only the woman was her mother! I’ll never forget that look.
While I was in college I visited a church, preached and then went home to eat with a hospitable family. After lunch I was asked to explain the trouble with the doctrine of premillennialism. Full of myself, I gave an impressive sounding discourse. Once finished, this dainty little sister congratulated me on my knowledge of the subject. Then she stated rather emphatically, “that is exactly what I believe..” She then begin to tell what troubled her about me! Looking back and recalling the grins around the table, I think I was set up.
More recently, while preaching a revival meeting at a church a beaming young woman warmly greeted me and began chatting like we were old friends. Eventually the fact that I did not recognize her became evident. She reacted, “You don’t know who I am, do you?” I admitted that I did not. “You baptized me at camp! I can’t believe you do not remember!” she exclaimed disappointedly as she walked away. I thought about reminding her that the apostle Paul couldn’t remember everyone he had baptized either (1 Corinthians 1:16), but decided not to speak where the Bible speaks at that moment.
Awkward ministry moments don’t just belong to me. I recall a friend sharing the story of baptizing an older gentleman while a wedding rehearsal was going on in the church building. They decided to do it quietly behind the curtain to not disturb the rehearsal. As the man stepped into the baptistery he exclaimed loudly enough for everyone to hear, “D%@# this water is cold as h@&#!”
My most awkward baptism moment occurred when- while visiting a church- I had to dip a petrified rat from their baptistery before a baptism. I asked the guy if he still wanted to be baptized and he did. I encouraged him to be sure to tightly hold his nose and not open his mouth.
As long as we are around awkward ministry moments will happen!
Perhaps you have some to share.