Oakley United Methodist Church
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Bringing Joy to God and Our Neighbors
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Pastor's Page

                                      “Shaking Hands”

            No one has ever explained to me why pastors stand in doorways and shake hands with worshipers following worship.  I just know that it should be done.  I believe this ritual of shaking hands is indispensable because it is an intensely concentrated time of interaction.

            As a pastor, you learn a lot about what is going on in people’s lives by simply shaking hands after worship – or, in my case – before worship.  Because of Oakley’s parking situation, many people enter and leave by the downstairs door and not the sanctuary door.  There are only five parking spaces near the sanctuary door; thus most of our congregants enter through the doors downstairs.

            I love to seize that moment of one-on-one interaction with visitors and members of this wonderful church.        I try my best to greet EVERYONE prior to the service – but that’s not always possible.  Sometimes I get into a long conversation; or sometimes someone shows up at 10:59 and there’s just no time to get to them.  If that’s the case, I will do my best to speak with them after the service.

            When preachers greet their congregants and shake hands – it’s a reminder that the pastor is not a performer and the congregation is merely an audience.  Rather, in worship we are all performers before the true audience of worship – that is, God.  Thus the practice of greeting one another and shaking hands is one way to reach across a divide, either real or imagined, that may have developed between pulpit and pew, between worship leader and worshiper.  It is a way of saying, "We may play different roles this morning, but we are part of the same company of players in this drama."

            I like to sit with the rest of the congregation during worship because it makes me feel like “one of the congregation” and not some “hired, highly trained professional.”  Trust me, in spite of my highly expensive education – I learn more about God from people like those in the congregation every day...for FREE!  If I have the chance to greet you on Sunday morning please take that time to say a word about what’s going on in your life, take the time to offer a “mini-testimony” because I truly care about you! 

            As far as I am concerned, the ritual of shaking hands is indispensable and one of the most important elements of Sunday morning.  There are so many of you, only one of me, and so little time.  But I promise to make every effort – whether it is before worship or after – to shake your hand, to hear your testimony, and to get a glimpse into your life.


Blessings, Peace, and Love!  Pastor Vic