Should We Leave Visitors in the Dark?

What’s the purpose of the task and the job description of the person who turns off lights after worship?

  1. Save as much electricity as possible? “We don’t need to waste the Lord’s money.”
  2. Leave quickly to eat or watch TV? “I need to go and I can’t leave before I turn out the lights because that’s my job.”
  3. Encourage good communication between brethren and others? “It’s good to see people talking. We’ll leave the lights on as long as two people are talking. There’s no hurry.”

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31, NKJV).

Two illustrations:

  1. During a series of special services, I was talking with visitors in the middle of our auditorium. They weren’t Christians. During our productive conversation, the light turner-offer left us in the dark. It didn’t help our communication. It was embarrassing. The visitors immediately said it was time to leave. That’s how I’d feel if I were visiting in someone’s home and they started turning off lights in their den. I’d think it was time to leave.
  2. I’ve noticed in times of conflict in a church, most people leave immediately after the end of services. There’s a lack of trust. People they loved and trusted have left and are saying unkind things about them. “Perhaps people here are like that and I just don’t know it. They may be part of the opposition.” Encouraging — not discouraging — interaction is essential to rebuilding trust.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t turn off the lights when people are talking!” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

What can we do about the lights? Possibilities:

  • Leave the lights on! I’d rather pay the electric bill for them to stay on twenty-four hours a day than discourage anyone from having a good conversation.
  • Remember our mission. It’s not to get our job done and get on to doing something we enjoy. It’s to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourself. It’s to make disciples. It’s to treat others as we’d like to be treated. I don’t want someone turning the lights out on me. Therefore, I don’t turn lights out on others.
  • Have a clear agreement with the person turning off lights. He or she doesn’t have to stay until everyone goes home. Get someone else to turn off lights or leave them on. Don’t turn out lights when people are talking.
  • Install motion detector light switches.
  • Install lights with timers.
  • Think about the implications of all actions before doing them.
[bctt tweet=”Please leave lights on. Don’t say to visitors, “Let’s go to bed. These people may want to go home.”” username=”@JerrieWBarber”]

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

What do you suggest to encourage people to effectively communicate?


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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

2 Responses to “Should We Leave Visitors in the Dark?

  • gjcocus
    6 years ago

    Last one out can turn off the lights and lock up. Everyone can stay as long as they want. This is likely when the most productive conversations will happen. Also, on the other end, the first person to arrive can unlock and turn everything on, before any visitors might arrive.

  • Roger Leonard
    6 years ago

    This article raises some good questions and things to think about. It would be an excellent discussion for an elders, deacons, and preachers meeting. Some good points for a sermon on how we treat visitors.

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