- Make eye contact with me. It's imortant. When I see eyes wandering I'm fairly certain I've lost you.
- You're body language is big. A smile or nod can go a long way in communicating, "I'm with ya preacher. I'm feeling ya. This is good stuff."
- Save the chat session for later. Of course there are exceptions, but when I see chatter taking place I know you're not listening to me.
- Leave Junior in the nursery. This is my pet peeve and you may not agree with me [my wife never did on this particular issue]. But if you don't agree with me, I would venture to say that you've never stood in front of an audience and tried to hold their full attention with a baby [or two...or three...or four] in the house. I understand there is a transition time after junior is born in which mom doesn't want him around other babies and in a nursery type environment. That's fine. A baby who sleeps in a carrier is not the problem. It's when junior gets active and wants to jump around on mom's lap that a problem arises. Please understand, he can be completely silent and still make quite a disturbance. Again, if you could only see what I see.
- Ignore the baby in front of you. If mom and dad fail to observe the above rule, try your best not to make faces at Junior. This just makes things worse and tells me that you're totally distracted. I know the baby is stinkin' cute but I'm sure mom would let you hold it after service if you asked nicely.
- Potty before we get started. Again, there are legit emergencies and I would never want you to wet yourself, but come on. Most of us have better bladder control than that.
- Stay with me until the very end. So often, people sense the message is coming to an end and they are putting their bible away, reaching for their purse, etc. Hang with me.
I may add to this list in the futre but thanks for listening. I feel better now. And to all my fellow preachers - feel free to add to this list.