Worship Matters: “The Most…” – Embarrassing Moments

Tabors-039_1_2This week I am doing a series of blogs entitled “The Most…” It will focus on different kinds of experiences we have all had. I hope that you will take a minute to share your experiences each day in the comment section. Today’s topic: “The Most Embarrassing Moments.” The rest of the week we’ll look at “The Most: powerful experiences, frustrating experiences, etc….”

I have been leading worship for almost 20 years. During that time I have had some pretty interesting experiences. I have had a mischievous organist get back at me by changing keys into ranges that I couldn’t sing, all the while smiling and laughing. I have mistakenly led an entire set with my zipper down. I have forgotten or sang incorrect lyrics. One time, during a concert in Eaton, OH, Kim and I started laughing uncontrollably during our marriage duet, to the point that neither of us could even sing. We just stood there the entire time laughing. 

But, there are 2 stories that take the cake for me in terms of most embarrassing moments. Remember, the deal is that if I share mine, you have to share yours in the comment section!

1. It was Easter season and we were doing a Good Friday service called “Dark Friday” that was completely focused on the cross and the events of the cross. The entire team of musicians dressed in black. The goal was to put people in the mindset to really reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus. The service would end with a dramatic portrayal of the crucifixion. At the end, we would take Jesus’ body down, wrap it and carry it out the center aisle, asking people to leave in complete silence. It is extremely moving when it works! We came to that part of the portrayal when Jesus dies and as his head drops the tech guys are supposed to roll a CD of a massive thunderstorm and the lighting guy is supposed to do flashes of lightning. We had rehearsed this moment at length. When the time came for the storm, they pushed play. Due to some kind of mix-up we did not hear a massive thunderstorm but instead a hand clapping, toe tapping a cappella song. Quickly they hit stop. Then they hit play again. Then they hit stop. Then they hit play again – all while Jesus is hanging on the cross. I stood and gave them the “cut” sign from the platform. Moment ruined!

2. Secondly, a moment that is without a doubt my most embarrassing moment in ministry. This was back in 1997. Our youth pastor was preaching while our senior pastor was away. He was speaking on friendship and how powerful it can be when friends are committed to one another. He asked me to find a movie clip that would really illustrate this concept. So I looked and found a clip from the movie “Forrest Gump.” The clip came from the scene in the movie where Forrest and his friend Bubba are serving in Vietnam. Bubba gets shot and with gunfire and explosions all around him, Forrest goes back into the jungle, carrying injured soldier after injured soldier out as he searches for Bubba. A great illustration of friendship. If you have seen this movie you know that there is a pretty profane character named Lt. Dan Taylor. In the movie, just before the clip we wanted to use, Lt. Dan goes on one of his profanity laced tirades as he is yelling at Forrest. It was a pretty tricky cue but I just knew that if we were careful we could nail this cue and illustrate the point. Some of you can already see this coming…..remember that I was young and immature. At this time in my life I still believed that eggs had no expiration date!

So the youth guy is preaching and in the middle of his sermon he says “I want you to watch this movie clip that perfectly illustrates what I am trying to say about friendship.” Roll clip. I had gone up to the booth to make sure that it went smoothly. What happened next was like an out-of-body experience. We rolled the clip and the VHS player had backed up a few seconds. Blaring over the sound system in our sanctuary was that profanity laced tirade we had been trying to avoid. We heard Lt. Dan saying, “you blankety blank, #*@!… The soundman fell backwards onto the floor. Children’s heads popped up all around the sanctuary. Parents gasped. The youth pastors head dropped as he had to get up and finish his sermon after the clip finished. 

Fortunately, everybody gave us the benefit of the doubt knowing that this would be inappropriate even in the most contemporary worship setting! But, at least to this point, it gave me the story of my absolutely most embarrassing moment!

Ok, so we had a deal right? Those are mine. Please share yours in the comment section.

Comments
8 Responses to “Worship Matters: “The Most…” – Embarrassing Moments”
  1. Susan says:

    It is interesting that both of these most embarrassing moments have to do with sound/technical stuff… That is why Scott Hoke is a keeper, huh? He’s not going to take you down.

  2. Nathan Stewart says:

    I am glad the time you guys came to Eaton made the list! It didn’t come across bad at all, it was received. I’ll have to think hard about embarassing moments- those missed track cues that spoil the moment are priceless. I did have one time during the Christmas Celebration somehow the tracks got out of order and they sound guy played a different song that was coming later. The teenage soloist in announced to everyone with a sassy tone “wrong song.” I can still hear those words ringing in my ears. It was embarrassing and I had a talk with her and her mother about etiquette.

  3. Bob Tabor says:

    Okay, after more than 30 years of church music ministry, there are more ’embarassing moments’ than I could count but two in particular come to mind.

    1. It was the big ‘rolling the stone’ in front of Jesus’ tomb during our Easter passion play scene. It took all four soldiers…grunting and heaving the huge ‘fake stone’ we had created. It looked great from the outside but over and over I reminded them that the thing was top heavy and it was incredibly important for them to make sure the stone was LEANING against the tomb. Well, they got it placed and walked away and just as the last soldier left the stage, the rock fell over forward!!! What did the last guy do? Single handedly picked up the stone and put it back in place. So much for acting!

    2. One year during our presentation of ‘The Gospel According to Scrooge’ we thought it would be a good idea to bus in nursing home patients so they too could enjoy the presentation. Right near the end of the production ‘Scrooge’ was praying in the cemetery…this is a really tender moment. I was in the balcony calling lighting and sound cues when from the main floor I hear, (in the deepest voice and woman could have) ‘Somebody get me outta here!’ Lesson learned.

  4. Rob Doyle says:

    so, one time i was leading worship with the young adult group at church, and someone’s cell phone went off. it was irritating. what was even worse, is they wouldn’t shut it off. then, halfway through the song, i realized it was mine. embarrassing, distracting, and i couldn’t do a darn thing about it because i was playing and singing. lovely…

  5. Dennis Weiler says:

    When my son was two years old I was amusing him one Saturday night by placing the suction cups from one of his toys on my forehead and making them stick. I was enjoying his laughter and apparently left them on my face a little too long. I had two large purplish red circles (almost 2 inches each!) on my forehead. When I got up Sunday morning they were still there!! I had to use some of my wife’s make-up to try to cover them up, but it didn’t work very well. I was SO embarrassed to lead worship with these two giant “hickies!”

  6. Shari Turpen says:

    My husband, Jerry, and I have four dogs. We had taken them to the vet’s office for grooming and since it was cold outside I told Jerry to go ahead and take them inside while I picked up after them. I walked over the dumpster area to throw the bag away and the door locked behind me. Frantic, I was unable to open the door from the inside. Fortunately, I had my cell phone in my pocket and could call for help.

  7. Shari Turpen says:

    Jerry thought this story was funnier, so I’ll share it as well.

    One day in high school typing class I leaned over my typewriter to pick something up. When I did, I accidentally hit the return key. I had long hair and somehow got my hair caught in the typewriter. I had the not so smart idea to hit the return key again, thinking that I could pull my hair back out. Not satisfied with the failure (and not learning my lesson) I hit the return key several more times until my hair was so tightly wound that my head was resting on the typewriter. I was too embarrassed to say anything, but eventually the teacher noticed and used scissors to cut me loose.

  8. Becki Dunaway says:

    Hey Brian — LOL! So much fun to laugh at your expense! So in honoring your request, here is one on me. This happened when I was in High School. As you know, I played trumpet in band (concert band, pep band, marching band, concert orchestra, etc). We were the Mt. Miguel Matadors – so imagine the spanish theme here. My sophomore and junior year, during parade shows I marched as part of our ID unit as the “Trumpeteer”; a role I auditioned for.

    The ID Unit consisted of Bandarettes who carried big Fans with “Mt. Miguel” spelled out on one side and “Matadors” on the other side; Banderillas who twirled capes, a Matador with a sword and red cape and the Trumpeteer — we all marched in the front of the band. When the band stepped off, they played a “Fanfare” and I answered with a “Trumpet call” and directly after, the band would go right into whatever “March” we were playing that year. This was always very cool and exciting to hear and see; and always added points for school spirit.

    My uniform was different than the rest of the band. It matched the Bandarettes and Bandarillas. It was a red velvet jacket and white pants (which flared at the bottom) and 2-inch heeled black boots and a wide brimed black hat. First time in the uniform, we dressed before bording our buses for a short drive to this parade competition. I was drinking an orange juice (with my left hand) when someone asked me what time it was. You see where this is going. Yes, not thinking, I turned my left wrist to see the face of my watch and dumping orange juice on myself – yes, before competition! Fortunately, I did wear a cover-up over those pants to protect them; so most of the juice was on those and not the uniform. But, naturally everyone laughed at how dumb I was. Lesson learned: don’t drink orange juice when wearing white pants (or don’t wear your watch)!

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