Friday, March 14, 2008

Career Choices

One year from now, I make my transition to another full-time career. That is exciting, but with so many choices how do you choose? I am attempting to keep an open mind and look at areas that I had not considered before. On a website my brother alerted me to, (larknews.com) I discovered the following possibility. What do you think?


"GRAND RAPIDS — On Saturday night Jim Kendall swivels on his bar stool at the Belly Up Tavern, snuffs out his cigarette and says, "Gotta go, guys. I'm gigging tomorrow." The next morning at 10 a.m. Kendall, dressed in ironed Dockers and a Polo shirt, sings with gusto in the third row at Neighborhood Christian Center. "Praise God!" he shouts, lifting his hands and prompting others to chime in with "amen" and "glory." His infectious enthusiasm is just what the pastor ordered. Kendall isn't a Christian, but he and hundreds of other people across the U.S. are getting paid as much as $12 an hour by temp placement agencies to pretend to be exuberant worshipers. "Praise decoy work is great," says one worshiper for hire who has lent his skills to more than 50 church services. He doesn't mind sitting through services, and considers the praise movements "good stretching exercise, like Tai Chi." In the past five years, the worshiper-for-hire industry has flourished as pastors try to goose the energy level in dwindling churches. Temp agencies train decoys to clap, laugh and make affirmative noises during the sermon. Most prized is the ability to appear authentically engaged, but not overly so. "It's a subtle art," says William Talbot, 67, who has temped as a worshiper since his retirement nest egg petered out. Talbot, a Jew by birth, says he writes grocery lists and the week's tasks while pretending to take sermon notes. Pastors hire worshipers for various reasons, but most often to avoid the humiliation of empty pews. "I did it to encourage the flock," says a pastor who wished not to give his name. "Membership had slipped so instead of dropping a service, this gave us an interim solution until the staff and I figured out what to do." The worshipers for hire so enlivened his church that he hired them on a semi-permanent basis. Decoy crews rotate so the church's real members don't become suspicious. Back at the Belly Up on Sunday afternoon, Kendall is proud of his morning praise performance, and says he'll ask his agency for a raise based on his improved emulation of sincere worship. "I'd like to make a side career of it," he says, finishing his beer. "

How does that sound? Keep in mind--it is from the website LARKNEWS.com.

4 comments:

wanna said...

Sounds like a great topic for Rick 'n' Bubba! It's really sad, though, to think worship leaders feel the need to be so deceptive!!! Satan's alive and kickin'!!!

Lerra said...

Yeah...that's just weird. Obviously the members at those churches don't meet & greet very well or they'd figure out what was going on!

Roxy Wishum said...

Don't be angry with me if you have taken this too seriously. An attempt was made to stress that the website is LARKnews.com, indicating that the stories are not real, but made up to poke fun at real situations. SATIRE is one of the references at the bottom. It is a silly idea, but presented in a realistic fashion so that, in our culture, it is very believable. And maybe something Brad should consider.

Lerra said...

I kept in mind that this story was from LARKnews.com, but that didn't help me much considering that I am not familiar with LARKnews.com. :-)

Now I know!