Thursday, December 11, 2008

Top 11 reasons for men to be ushers at church

H/T to the Nihilist in Golf Pants for inspiring the "top 11" lists, of course. This list is inspired by someone who shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty--who argued that the function of greeting those coming to church, handing them a bulletin, and perhaps ushering them to a seat was somehow degrading. Obviously, I disagree, and here are some reasons why.

11. You get to actually meet people in your church outside of potlucks and the obligatory shaking of hands during the service.

10. Your wife might like how you look in a suit and tie. Or a person who could become your wife might like how you look in a suit and tie, if you happen to be single.

9. You are forced to look people in the eye, shake hands, and interact with them. It's a great way to learn to work with people.

8. Learning to be comfortable in a suit and tie will serve you well in your career.

7. It gives you an extra incentive to get to church with enough time to settle your mind on the wonderful time of worship. No more skidding into the parking lot with seconds to spare while urging the kids to get out of the car NOW.

6. Seeing the faces of those people coming to church and interacting with them gives you more reason and ability to pray for them.

5. You get a chance to interact on a closer basis with other men who happen to be ushering as well.

4. You get to model the reality that church isn't just for women. There the men are; greeting, handing out bulletins, taking the offering, and helping people to seats.

3. You have an excuse to upgrade your wardrobe and get some exercise to be ready for Sunday ushering. Did I mention that your wife, or wife to be, just might like how you look in a suit and tie?

2. Worried about how someone might take advantage of churchgoers? You are part of the security team. (consider a carry permit where allowed, or at least pepper spray, just in case)

1. Did I mention that your wife, or wife to be, might think that there is something attractive about a man serving God as an usher while wearing a suit and tie?


Anonymous said...

I've ushered at our church for about 20 years. One of the things I've gained is learning how to pray and flow in the spirit. Our church frequently has altar calls to pray for needs and the ushers attend to each member as the pastos or elders pray for them. Being an usher also is great practice in focusing on and anticipating the needs of others. Ideally, no one should ever have to call for an usher when needed, but will find the usher already close at hand.

And I look darn good in a suit and tie.

Anonymous said...

Many of your reasons operate on the premise that ushers are required/expected to dress in a certain way. Unfortunately, that's rarely the case anymore, even in many quite conservative churches (including one I know and love above all others.)

Still, the argument that it's degrading to help people lost me completely. How is any means of serving others EVER degrading from a Christian point of view?

Bike Bubba said...

There is a delightful irony that my charismatic friend wears suits as an usher, but my Presbyterian friend's church doesn't. Talk about turning stereotypes on their head!

That said, good point, P-mom. I personally think that while it's certainly not a Biblical requirement to wear a tie, I think that it is a good idea to be "especially presentable" when one is serving in this way. I think the logic still works if one would substitute that concept for suit & tie.

Bike Bubba said...

Oh, by the way; the reason given for it being degrading is that it's not sufficiently prominent and manly and all that kind of thing.

Of course, given that not every man is qualified per 1 Timothy to be a deacon or elder, I would have to submit that it's a great role for men. Even for those qualified, but not yet chosen, it's a great starting point.

And a load of fun, too.

Anonymous said...

Manly = prominent just isn't a connection I've ever made. It just completely loses me, and I don't think it's because of a female perspective -- I think it would lose most Christian men I know. Sextons of old weren't manly? Footmen and grooms weren't manly? One might desire a higher position, but it strikes me as fundamentally out of step with biblical thinking to view humble forms of service as degrading or suited only to women.

I pretty much agree with you about dressing up for ushering, I'm just saying that to the average person, in the typical church (good churches of all stripes included), they function as non sequiturs because people don't perceive a logical connection between ushering and suits/ties. Even among those who traditionally dress more formally in my church, I don't think it would ever occur to them that it's a fucntion of whether or not they're ushering. Those who dress casually dress the same as always to usher; those who dress up to usher are going to be dressed up any other day.

FWIW, though, we're not one of those beachwear churches. I mean, besides the difficulties of geography, there does seem to be a tacit minimum, though generally Levi Strauss would fall inside of it provided his clothes were in decent condition.

Anonymous said...

Our ushers typically wear jackets and ties (or suits), but on days when I don't usher I'm usually more casual but never sloppy in case I'm called on to minister in some way (whole 'nother post).

Some may see wearing a suit as a show of authority but for me, when I usher I dress as a show of respect to others; as a sign that they are worth my (perceived) discomfort, that I care what they think and that I am ready to serve.

Jim Peet said...

Thanks .... used over here.

You do look good in a suit and tie!

Jim Peet said...

I do have a bit of a peeve of some ushering (not about you!)

Ushers should say hello and greet people 1st and hand out bulletins 2nd.

Some ushers just kind of stand there and pass a bulletin out.