I set out here with a certain amount of trepidation or apprehension. Publicly criticizing one’s own church is a rather bold move and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy to criticize and it’s easy to whine but quite often it’s inappropriate. So if you’re going to stick your neck out to such a degree you’d better be right and it better be important.

I am and it is.

Our ushers ignore anyone seated up front behind the pulpit. Whether passing out papers or taking up the offering, if you’re up front on the platform you might as well forget it. No papers for you, and just keep your money.

I grew up being trained by example that as an usher you always courteously extend the plate to the service participants seated on the platform before you begin harvesting from the congregation. That’s just good, right, polite, and proper. The gents on stage are people too, and they also have contributions for the church coffers!

You may say, if someone is going to be up on the platform when the offering is taken he can just give his tithe to his wife to put in the basket. That may be an occasional solution, but this morning I was attending services alone! My wife wasn’t there! Now what?! (She worked last night.)

And the time before I did give it to her but she isn’t completely used to being married yet evidently. She put it in my Bible which I then carried up front! Oops! The money counters had a good laugh at us after church.

This is a real concern. Preachers, song leaders, and Sunday school superintendents could theoretically just get tired of being ignored by the ushers and decide that you know what, I guess they don’t want my tithe! They never want to take it from me so maybe I’ll just leave it at home!

And what would happen to the church if the leadership were forced to such an attitude?! Leadership by example; soon the offerings would plummet, financial ruin would ensue, dissolution would be imminant! All because of improperly trained ushers!

Maybe we should institute an Usher Training Progam and ramrod all our ushers and potential ushers through it. Come next business meeting I think I’ll propose establishing a committee to study the feasibility of authorizing the development of a council to look into commissioning a board to fashion a suitable training program. Once our conference would see the incredible success of this solution to our widespread problem, I’m sure we could get the UTP’s in our sister churches and our Bible schools and put an end to this epidemic.

But as for now if you ever visit my church and want to avoid the collection plate, come on up and sit behind the pulpit!