About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Pauline Greene Whisnant Mother's Day 2012

6 Things Mom Taught Me About Church
Charles e. Whisnant May 13, 2012

I’m a preacher’s kid, my dad and mom in Lynchburg and Roanoke Virginia had churches,   so growing up, I sat on a church pew every time the doors were open (and they were hard wooden things back then.)  Mom was pretty strict about attending church, and I’ve sat through about a million worship services, weddings, funerals, vacation Bible schools, Sunday school classes, revivals, youth rallies, and more.  Along the way, my mom had some pretty tough rules that have mostly fallen out of fashion since those days.  But after a few decades, I’m wondering if they weren’t so bad after all.  Let me know if you think my mom was nuts or maybe on to something: 

1.  Dress Up

 My mom felt that church was about honoring God, and looking right was a big part of that honor.  Mom  made sure I was dressed up before I left the house.  Today, even pastors preach in jeans and t-shirts, and the truth is, I  no not really love being casual.  But attorneys and other professions have learned that how you dress impacts your attitude and perception. 
As my mom said, it shouldn’t be about pride, it should be about honor.  Looking around the congregation these days, I just wonder if we could use an occasional dose of my mom’s advice.

 2.  Pay Attention

 I got slapped a lot in church for not paying attention.  Even as kids, my mom wouldn’t let us lay down on the church pew, draw in coloring books, or scribble on paper.  We had to pay attention.  But looking back, it taught me discipline and a remarkable amount of Bible teaching.

3.  Send the Babies to the Nursery 

Back in those days, we didn’t have “children’s church.”  All we had was a nursery for the babies, and my mom thought they should go.  To her, there was nothing more rude than parents allowing a screaming baby to interrupt the worship of the congregation.  She knew babies weren’t getting anything out of the sermon, so get them out where they could have a little fun!  Please, leave us to worship in peace and quiet.  I thought about my mom last Sunday, sitting behind a young couple with a screaming baby  Even to this day, I have a hard time with babies in the services when I am teaching or just visiting a service.

4.  If You Show Up Late, Sit in the Back

Top of Form
Bottom of Form
Mom thought church wasn’t the same as a movie, concert, or classroom.  It was holy, and we needed to respect that.  Although 99% of the time, our family sat on the front row, Mom played the piano and thus sat on the front row, and that is where we went when she was finishing playing.  but if we showed up late for any reason at another service, we sat in the back.  She would never distract anyone from my dad’s message by walking down the aisle after the service had started

5.  Bring Your Bible

My mom’s motto was “Buy a Bible, read it, and underline it.”  She never understood how people could come to church without their Bible.  To her, it was like showing up at a baseball game without a bat.  While I am trying to use my Kindle Fire to read the Bible in the morning, I can’t get my mom’s rule out of my head, so I bring the real thing – marked up and all.

6.  Sunday School Matters

Remarkably few churches have Sunday school programs anymore, and I’m often surprised at the number of church members who think a weekly sermon is enough.  Mom felt that we needed to go deeper, and Sunday school was that place.  Obviously, that was before many churches started to encourage small groups – although most small groups I’ve attended are more about “reflection,” “what’s new in my life,” and “sharing.”  My mom would probably puke.
At the time, I thought I’d been switched at birth, and my mom was an evil witch, but now, I’m starting to see she might have been pretty smart.