Stuff Christians Like: Getting Dragged Out of Service

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Getting Dragged Out of Service When Your Kids Get Kicked Out of Sunday School

When you hear your name called on the television game show The Price Is Right, that’s a good thing. It means you’re about to go bid on fantastic prizes and possibly spin a giant wheel to win a motor home and a Corvette or a croquet set and three lawn chairs. Jumping up and down and yelling with excitement is an appropriate response. But you shouldn’t do that if you’re getting called out in the middle of church to go pick up your kid from Sunday school.

At most churches they won’t call out your name during the service. If the church is small enough, they’ll send a Sunday school volunteer to come find you and let you know that you’ve won a screaming, inconsolable child. At my church, they flash a number up on a screen that corresponds with the laminated tag you got when you dropped off your child. There, in the middle of the sermon, in two-foot-high type, you’ll see, “Child #413 in Room #218.”

I have to admit, as soon as I see a number called on screen, I do two things immediately. I look at my own cards to make sure it’s not my kids. Then, with a sense of relief at finding out it’s not, I scan the room to see who just got the hook. Even with thousands of people in the crowd, I anxiously scrutinize the seated heads, watching for that one person who stands up. Oh, there you are. You lost the kid lottery. But how are you going to handle the walk of shame?

I think there are two appropriate ways to pull it off successfully.

Denial

Pretend you got a cell phone call. As soon as you see your number come up on the screen, put your cell phone against your ear, point to it, and make that face that says, “Excuse me, I need to take this call. Very important call, very important call. Has nothing to do with the screaming kid in room #218. Weird coincidence. That kid must be some sort of monster. Probably has horrible parents.” If you want to go an extra step, actually pretend you’re having a conversation on the phone, whispering things like, “You need me to volunteer at the homeless shelter again? Right now? Okay. I’m on my way.” In addition to tricking people into thinking it’s not your kid, you can earn some extra holy points as well.

The Double-Arm Shrug

This move has been perfected by parents with screaming kids on airplanes the world over. As soon as you see your number come up, you stand and do a double-arm shrug as if to say, “Kids will be kids.” Smile and point to your watch. “It’s like clockwork. Same time every Sunday.” It works even better if you have a little audio file on your cell phone that plays that “waaaa whaaaa” defeated trumpet sound they play in cartoons when the Road Runner drops an anvil on the Coyote.

I haven’t been called out of church (yet) to pick up one of my kids from Sunday school, but my day is coming. My daughter L.E. recently got her first stitches— in the chin of course—my daughter McRae inspired that phone call to Poison Control, and we had our first homework sent back incomplete from the teacher. It’s a magical time of firsts at the Acuff house right now. And when my number does come up, please expect to see me walking briskly through the aisles during service whispering into my cupped hand, “How many orphans? Of course. I’ll be right there.”

Watch the Stuff Christians Like Video

Excerpted with permission from Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

‘Fess up. Have you gotten dragged out of church when your kid was kicked out of Sunday School? Which did you choose — Denials or The Double Arm Shrug? Leave a comment on our blog!

 

Jon Acuff used to be a Serial Quitter. He had eight jobs in eight years, constantly hoping the next one would be different. From writing advertising for The Home Depot to branding for companies like Bose and Staples, he's no stranger to the cubicle. In 2010, Jon closed the gap between his day job and his dream job when he joined the Dave Ramsey team to become a full-time author. He has contributed to CNN.com, speaks nationally on a variety of subjects, and is the author of Start; Quitter; Gazelles, Baby Steps And 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt; and Stuff Christians Like. He lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife and two daughters.

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