By Philip Conley
“This hilarious satire describes the different types of members that can possibly exist on your church roll. Though hilarious, it is sobering to consider in which category we may fall. If nothing else, I’m sure you will get a good laugh.” -Editor’s Note
Article from the March 16, 2014 daily devotion, Morning Thoughts.
Recently, I was posed with the question at work during a training session, “What if everyone at work was an employee just like you? What type of work environment would it be?” Being interested in how natural examples and illustrations can map – to some extent – into matters of the kingdom of God’s church, I began to wonder, “What if everyone at church was a member just like you? What type of church would it be?” With that in mind, I came to some interesting groupings for church members. So, in the vein and fashion of our dear Dave Montgomery’s PB Adventures/PB Lingo, here are some findings. Since the 1st group can’t speak for themselves and the last group won’t speak for themselves, I’ll give commentary on them and let the groups in between speak for themselves:
MINOs (my’-knows) – Members In Name Only. Most of these members are those that the church forgets are members as they come so sparsely or perhaps not at all. MINOs are still on the books, but rarely darken the door. When MINOs come, the home folks are so glad to see visitors that they give them the standard, “We’re so glad to have you with us today. Hope you’ll visit again soon!” When MINOs pass away, most of the church looks at the paper’s obituary and smacks their forehead saying, “They were a member here? Wow!”
CEMOs (see’-moes) – Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day Only. Since Christ was born on Christmas and rose again on Easter, these two worship days are the only ones really that HAVE to be attended. Because Mom gave birth to us, we’ll go on her day to church as a bonus. Extra credit to us for that! We might come to communion too, but only if communion falls on Christmas or Easter or Mother’s Day. Extra credit to the church if it does!
RIROs (ree’-rows) – Rush In Rush Out. Church service should not last any more than 1.5 hours. That means you get roughly half an hour of singing, and an hour to have prayers, prayer requests, preaching, and handshaking (if we have to shake hands at all). We cannot stay one minute past 1.5 hours, and sometimes even 1.5 hours is just too much. Therefore, we must come in no earlier than the first note of the first song, and we oftentimes have to leave before the final stanza, refrain, or last “amen” is uttered. Unless the preacher is Superman doubling as Clark Kent in his suit, he won’t catch us to talk. Ready preacher, on your mark, get set,….
WINEHs (why’-nees) – Worship If Nothing Else Happens. Since church is great and all, we plan to be there, provided nothing else comes up. The term “providentially hindered” is our watchword, for providence seems to just not want us to worship sometimes! After all, some of the best gardening weather happens on Sunday. Most of our recreation like sports and hunting has its best weather, times, and events on meeting day. Since our families are “so busy,” we generally have to plan any family get together or reunion on Sunday too. It’s just so hard sometimes to get there! We hope to be there this Sunday, but…
SSSCs (ess-ess-ess-sees) – Semi Super Serious Christians. We are the heart and soul of the church. Don’t believe it? Just ask us! Though we have never kept track or stock of our attendance and spiritual service, we have “got to be” some of the church’s top performers. What? Haven’t been there half the time? Surely, you must be mistaken! If there were services that we didn’t attend, there must have been some good reason for it, and no one is busier than we are at the church.
DHATs (dee’-hats) – Die Hard Always There. DHATs really are the heart and soul of the church. Sickness? One will always feel better if they can get their sick bones to the house of the Great Physician. Busy? It’s a small sacrifice. Bad preaching? It’s still better than I deserve. DHATs cannot be killed in service, though many a “sing songin’” dry and dusty afternoon preacher has tried. Most DHATs arrive early and stay late. There’s not an annual meeting that they don’t give 1,000% all weekend to make it the “best meeting ever.” When DHATs talk, church seems like the place where everybody should go. The Deacon Deluxe is the President/Chairman/CEO of the DHATs, and the Deacon Deluxe In Training (DDIT) is the Vice President.
DHATs rarely miss an opportunity to visit a sister church’s service if they can. They also sometimes will load up and drive hundreds of miles across states to visit other meetings if they can. DHATs generally know most of the other DHATs across the country (they see each other at everybody’s meetings after all). You can’t kill ‘em or their zeal. SSSCs think they are DHATs and would make somebody rue the day who claimed they weren’t. WINEHs think DHATs “run the church,” whereas RIROs, CEMOs, and MINOs think that DHATs are just “too pious,” “too boring,” and “have no life.”
Honorable mention goes to the Drylanders, who technically don’t qualify since they aren’t members. Interestingly, a lot of Drylanders share much in common with DHATs, but that 1st step and very important concept of baptism has been lost on them. For a full description of the “Drylander” see our dear Brother David’s PB Glossary for the description of them.
Friends, much of the above is meant in satirical humor, though I believe that the descriptions ring true from observation of what occurs within churches across the land. Simple point: how does a church really function? It functions because the Lord smiles upon Zion, and the efforts of the DHATs are what effectively keeps consistent and regular worship in motion. If a church body had no DHATs, there could – and I think conceivably would – be times when the church simply wouldn’t meet! With nothing but MINOs, CEMOs, RIROs, WINEHs, and SSSCs, a meeting day would come and no one would show up! Well, the Drylander would, but as a non-member, he doesn’t have a key to open the building!
As struggling people, let us examine ourselves closely to see what kind of church member we are. The greatest thing about DHATs is that they don’t see themselves as DHATs. They constantly think that their efforts could be better, and nothing they have ever given is enough for the Lord. May He bless this poor boy to not act like the sparsely servicing MINOs and CEMOs of the world. May He bless my time so that I would redeem it unlike the RIROs. May He bless me to put so much emphasis on His service that I don’t act like a worldly WINEH, and may He bless my spirit to be humble like the DHAT so that I don’t become a SSSC, Pharisaically thinking that I’m a DHAT when I’m not. As a dear uncle of mine would say about faithful DHATs, “May their tribe increase…”