Brothers, abandon the green room

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Every so often, I’ll be reading a book by a pastor and see mention of a green room at the church. For those who don’t know, a green room is one in which in which performers can relax when they are not performing (typically, they’re found in a theaters, concert halls, and studios).

Which, of course, is one of the goofiest things ever.

Now, I get it: I am not a natural “crowd” person. My favorite time at a party is when it’s time to go home. Most pastors (at least, most of the pastors I know) tend to have a more introverted temperament.

And while I get that, I hope we all realize that the green room runs completely contrary to the gospel.

No matter how we over-spiritualize it—whether we say that area is used for pre-service prayer, or yet another review of our sermon notes—it represents more of a detriment to our spiritual well-being than we might realize, both those of us in the congregation and those who preach. The green room is about isolation, about creating barriers between the shepherd and the sheep.

The green room is a place to hide.

The gospel, however, refuses to let us remain isolated. It connects us to God through Christ; but it also connects us to others. That whole “body” metaphor Paul kept using? Yep. The vine and branches analogy Jesus used? Ditto.

No matter how much we believe, “No one knows what it’s like to feel these feelings,” autonomous Christianity doesn’t work. Ever.

If a pastor does not feel that he can be present with the congregation while waiting to preach, there is something dreadfully wrong, internally. And if there’s a lesson for all of us—both congregation members and pastors alike—it’s that. Pastors cannot be disconnected from congregations. When they cease to be connected, they cease to truly be pastors. They become something else entirely. And this should never be.

Brothers, abandon the green room. Do not hide from the congregation; do not perpetuate the leadership is lonely garbage. Worship with the congregation, seeing your place in the body so you might experience the ministry of the body.

Posted by Aaron Armstrong

Aaron is the author of several books for adults and children, as well as multiple documentaries and Bible studies. His latest book, I'm a Christian—Now What?: A Guide to Your New Life with Christ is available now.

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7 Replies to “Brothers, abandon the green room”

  1. I would be interested to know if your article would be the same if you replaced the word “green room”, with it’s connotations of celebrity, with the word “vestry” – a part of ecclesial history and architecture that pre-dates green rooms by a few hundred years…..

    1. It would be substantially the same, yes. It all comes back to its use—if it’s being used to avoid the congregation (which is all too common with the modern green room), then a corrective is required.

  2. I’m not for folk hiding away from the congregation, but the 15-20 minutes that I spend in prayer in one of our unused classrooms before the gathering begins is pretty essential for my soul and my preaching.

    1. And that I totally agree with. Whenever I preach, I spend several minutes either alone or with the church’s elders praying for the service. Then we go and join it.

  3. Willie Harris, Jr. August 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Double amen! I know pastors that don’t have a “green room” but hide away in their office and don’t come out until it’s time to preach! I don’t know what their motives are but that kind of behavior makes them appear like they are just coming to do a job or perform. I personally love and NEED the time of worshiping with the church prior to my time to preach.

  4. I like this, Aaron. Well done!

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