Home > Fundamentalism, Mallinak > Welcome to the Good-Ole’-Boy Network. Here’s Your Lapel Pin

Welcome to the Good-Ole’-Boy Network. Here’s Your Lapel Pin

November 21, 2008

Say you are just coming in to the ranks of Fundamentalism, having chosen the Sword branch as your particular nesting place.  And, say that you are wondering how one goes about getting his name highlighted in the Fundamentalist Hall of Fame, and perhaps getting his very own personal invitation to the Good-Ole’-Boy Ball.  You might need some pointers as to how you can get yourself into the “rising star” category.

We are here for you.  We wouldn’t want you spending too much of your time in wasted effort when it comes to such worthy pursuits.  So, let us help.

Never mind that we JackHammers have not ourselves yet gotten our Invitations.  We are sure that they are in the mail even as we type.  And in the meantime, we have been sitting back and watching — have even looked over some rather broad shoulders and watched them open up their very own envelopes.  We think we know how they got them.  So should you.

First, Invite the Big Name Preachers to preach at your church.  They like this, and if you provide them with a decent enough show (and, of course, that show is accompanied by a check of significant proportions), you have a very good chance of making a great impression.  You will, of course, want to make sure that you really build up Dr. Big Shot before he comes, so that your people are adequately prepared beforehand to be impressed, yea even dazzled.  When you introduce him, be sure to sprinkle your introduction generously with a variety of superlatives, like “most” and “best” and “greatest.”  And be sure that he doesn’t leave without an invitation to return (make sure you include a few dates with your invitation, and that those dates are within the next calendar year).

Second, be sure to be well-traveled in the Dr. Big Shot circuit.  That would include (as a minimum) attendance at every Major Conference.  Minimum attendance requirements will include (of course) the National Sword of the Lord Conference, The Leadership Conference, and at least two of the Regional Sword Conferences.  You should also keep an eye on the conferences advertised in the Sword of the Lord.  Though you will not be required to attend every one, you must be sure to attend one or two of the ones that include Shelton Smith and at least two of the other Important Preachers and Rising Stars who annually preach at the National Conference.

Third, when on vacation, you must visit one of the churches prominently advertised in the Sword of the Lord “church directory.”  Attendance at a non-prominently advertised church is permissible in extreme circumstances, however, this should be the exception and not the rule, and should only be done as a charitable effort to “be a blessing” to a struggling church.  In general, however, it is unacceptable to go on a vacation in an area where there isn’t one of these Important Churches (i.e. – churches prominently featured in the Sword Church Directory).

Fourth, advertise in the Sword.  Buy the most expensive advertisement that you can.  If you want to fish, you’ll need to bring some bait.  Put it in your Missions Budget if you need to.  But you’ll never see one of those guys with the teeny-weenie ads up on the stage at the National Convention.  So, you’re gonna need to drop some coin on this one.

Fifth, get some sugar-sticks and preach them.  Regularly.  Every week.  Throw out the bad ones, and laminate the keepers.  There are several very important reasons to do this.  First, you never know when Dr. Big Shot might have a member on vacation in your town.  You’ll need to always be prepared.  Secondly, you’ll need to have a big crowd (i.e., a “packed” auditorium) at all times, and that will require a year’s supply of sugar-sticks.  Thirdly, you’ll need to be in practice for when you get your Invitation.  When you come to the Big Dance, you’ll be needin’ to know the steps.

Sixth, preach only from those texts that everyone agrees with.  This is essential.  Understand, there are entire books of the Bible that have no place in these kinds of churches.  If, for instance, you were to say, “Turn in your Bibles to Romans chapter 9,” or, worse yet, to Amos, you could be voted off the Island.  Immediately.  Find those passages with the texts that everybody likes, and stick with them.  For that matter, you’ll need a minimum of five messages on David and Goliath.  That way, when you get your invitation, you’ll have a sermon ready-made for publication.  The only other topic you’ll need to cover will be Soul Winning.  Really, every message that isn’t on salvation or on David and Goliath will need to be on Soul Winning.

Seventh, throw away any expository messages that you might have.  You won’t want to be caught with anything like that.

Eighth, forget any Greek or Hebrew you might have learned in college.  Can you tell me how to order a pizza in Greek?  I didn’t think so.

Ninth, start a quote book immediately.  Any time you preach, you will need a variety of quotes from the other Important Preachers in the Network.  When you go back and revise any message, you will need to be sure to add in both the famous saying and the Famous Sayer (e.g., “ole’ Dr. Bob used to say, ‘do right ’til the stars fall.”).  Don’t forget to name the guy who said it.  And, it is vital that you not mix the speaker and the quote.  Remember that most of your audience (at least when you hit the National Stage) will have every Really Famous Quote memorized by heart, and could say it in his sleep.  You won’t want to mess it up.

Tenth, you’ll need to get yourself a very large (and, I might add, expensive) mirror.  This is for several reasons.

  • First, you’ll need it for your preaching.  Practice preaching in the mirror.  Remember that style always trumps substance, so don’t worry about having any more than three points and a poem.  Just leave lots of space between each point, and make the majority of your notes read like a prompter… “shout here,” “stomp here,” “Billy Sunday pose here,” “pull out hanky and wave here,” “pull out crisp $100 bill here,” and etc.  Remember that the majority of your audience at these kinds of Conferences are in The Club, and hence are veritable connoisseurs of “preachin’.”  You’ll need to be sure that all your poses are performed flawlessly.  This is why the mirror is so essential.
  • Secondly, you’ll need to work on that hair-do.  Your couple of squirts of hairspray ain’t gonna cut it.  Get yourself a stylist.  You’ll also be needing a blow-dryer.  Get some professional advice on the style that is best for you.  If you are under thirty, the wet look will probably be the most appropriate.  If you are over forty, practice your comb-over.  Either that, or shave it to the skin every day.
  • Thirdly, you’ll need it to check yourself out on a regular basis.  You are going to be in the Big Time, Brother.  You’ll need to practice everything… your walk, your handshake, how you hold your Bible (high and tight usually works best), and especially crossing your legs while sitting on the platform.  Do not underestimate the importance of appearances.  Especially if you’re going to get your Invitation to the National Stage.

Eleventh, get yourself a large Bible, with large margins.  Write in it.  Mark all over it.  Practice chucking it across the platform.  Practice pounding it.  Practice waving it in the air.  Practice beating people over the head with it.  Remember, practice makes better… perfect practice makes perfect.

Twelfth, learn to pause at appropriate places in your preaching, so the audience has a chance to “Amen!” you.  If the audience is a little slow, learn a few insults that you can use to sorta ‘prime the pump’ a little.  Practice getting that incredulous look on your face that says it all for you, so that your audience will know that you really can’t believe that they missed such a golden opportunity.  Learn to cup your hand to your ear, lean forward, and kick your opposite foot back.  You will need to come down out of the pulpit and “Amen!” yourself at least once every message, so that your audience will know that no matter how much they “Amen!” it is still inadequate (though you will want to say “Thank you” very emphatically a couple of times during the message, so that your audience will know that you appreciate their feeble efforts).

Thirteenth, practice preaching in a microphone.  Note that I did not say “with” a microphone.  You will need to get into that microphone.  Learn to talk with your mouth right on it.  Practice that husky, intimate voice.  Work on bombast.  Learn to scream into it so loud that you hurt your own ears.  Be ambidextrous (screaming and stomping or else screaming and spitting simultaneously).

Fourteenth, do not stand still.  If you need to know why, refer back to point #7, 8, and 10.  You will need to step on every square foot of carpet on the platform as well as on the altar and the first four pews while you preach.  Consider yourself to be like Joshua (Joshua 1:3).  You want that mountain, it belongs to you.  While you are at it, you will need to learn how to walk on pews while preaching.  If your balance is good enough, you will need to learn how to walk on the backs of the pews, too.

Fifteenth, learn how to flatter.

Sixteenth, get a big church.  Remember those immortal words of John R. Rice, “It is not a sin for a church to start small.  It is a sin for a church to stay small.”  I’m sure that he had a chapter and verse on that one.  But he doesn’t need one.  He, after all, had a big church.  Make sure you do not sin so against the Lord.  Three to Four hundred will not do.  As Dr. Rice reminded us, the church at Jerusalem had thousands.  We don’t know about any of the others, like Corinth or Ephesus, but we can assume that they did too.  Otherwise, they would have been in sin, and since Paul never rebuked them for being small, they must not have been.  Because Paul would have rebuked them if they had been small.  Because it is a sin (Rice 13:2) to stay small.  So, get big.  If you can’t get big (say you are in a town of 300 people), then move to a big church, and make it bigger.  Mediocre pastors have no place on the platform of the Sword of the Lord.  Period.

I am very confident that if you perfect these sixteen little points, you will find that your Invitation to the Big Dance will be on its way in short order.  So, stay by the stuff.

Oh, and if you struggle with that last one, then get yourself a tent, go up in the woods somewhere, and write “1000” in the dirt 1000 times.  That should cure you of your mediocrity.

Categories: Fundamentalism, Mallinak
  1. DT
    November 21, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Very, very funny. . . and very, very true!
    If I could, here’s an amendment to #4 – make sure your advertisement prominently features, you, the pastor as the star of the show. If you have co-pastors or elders, don’t mention them. Oh, and forget about the church members. Just a big ol’ portrait of you in your best suit will do. After all, it IS about you, right?

    Anywho. . who in the world are you still linked with the “IFB 1000”?

  2. November 21, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I have to admit. I laughed hard about 7 or 8 times. I didn’t laugh more because people in the office would have been concerned and it would have affected my health. Someone may have to do one of those lung ventilation thingies for a collapsed lung. It’s gross. You’re also in trouble. And with this post, you have worked your fellowship down to at least half of what it was—from four people to two. Draw a circle around yourself–that’s now your fellowship. Did I say fellowship? Is being in that club really fellowship?

    Can I psychoanalyze you?
    1. I sense bitterness.
    2. Two words: sour grapes.
    3. Since you can’t be big, you have to tear down everyone who is.
    4. You’re not worth my time to comment.

  3. Gary Johnson
    November 21, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Just by commenting here that I appreciate this post seals my doom to never be invited to the dance.

    Concerning #4, in that ad, make sure you have that catchy phrase. “Fastest growing church in …. county” or “where the shout has not died out” or “home of …. college”. Never mind the college enrollment may only be 3, it looks impressive to have a college in the ad.

  4. artdunham
    November 21, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Brother Dave,

    This may be the single most concise and insightful piece of information about this subject I have ever read.

    I laughed so hard that one of the deacons who was doing some work upstairs came down to check on me.

    I forwarded this to a few preacher friends and missionaries that I thought would appreciate it.

  5. November 21, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Funny. I Have about 2 vquestions more if I think of them.
    1. What’s the deal with the book of Amos ? I get the whole Romans but not Amos
    2. Were you at Hyles when Jim VineYard was there what’s he like and his church which his son’ Tom now Pastors.

    P.S. We support some missionarries from there they are very nice. not arrogant like the FBCH crowd.

  6. Travis Burke
    November 21, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    Usually I find Mallinak sarcasm very annoying, but this one is great! Nice piece!

  7. jtr
    November 22, 2008 at 7:49 am

    LOL, funny stuff. Thanks for showing us the seedy side of fundamentalism. I guess focusing on that stuff gives ppl something to do other than the REAL WORK.

  8. Sam
    November 23, 2008 at 1:16 am

    Sad to say, this is an extremely accurate picture of modern Fundamentalism.

    Has anyone noticed BJU’s website volte face concerning race? We get a “black” president and suddenly they remember that their racial discrimination was not based on Scripture after all. Sharper Iron are ecstatic as it nows means they can be accepted at John Piper’s conferences.

    Did anyone mention dollars and influence?

  9. Phil
    November 25, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Just wondering if somebody, anybody, could answer my questions

    1. Why does the sword crowd not like to deal with Amos?
    2. What do you know about Jim Vineyard of Windsor Hills Baptist Church and
    Oklahoma Baptist College?

  10. Steve B.
    November 25, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    Right out of college (PCC) I joined the pastoral staff of a “Sword Church.” I didn’t know anything about the Sword Church Mentality. You nailed it! This is something I now find amusing! When I joined the pastoral staff (youth pastor) I was continuously reminded that I did not graduate from a Local Church Bible College (code name Sword church Bible College ~ you know, the ones with the Ad). AND YET, we bowed down towards Murfreesboro [A PARA-CHURCH “MINISTRY”]. WHAT??? If “were” so local church…why are we soooo in love with a para-church ministry. We had ONLY the National Sword preachers 5-6 times a year and of course Pope Smith. (By the way, I truly do not have much of an issue with most of these churches or pastors other than those things you have highlighted and their #’s issues: We would have every year 100+ “saved” on our “Big Days,” but we would never see these individuals after the roller skating/Pizza blast outing) It wasn’t until later that I got my Ecclesiology straightened out. In fact, it wasn’t until I got out that I realized the hypocrisy of that Sword Mentality (“WERE LOCAL CHURCH…WERE LOCAL CHURCH…WERE LOCAL CHURCH ~ oh yeah, we love to a fault this para-church ministry.”)

  11. November 26, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Thanks for your insight, Steve. I think the para-church aspects of the Sword need to be highlighted.

    And Phil, sorry that I overlooked your questions. No doubt the Sword preachers could find a text from Amos that would match up with a sermon that they have written. The point is that you will not ever catch them preaching a message in the context of Amos. They don’t preach that way. They have, at any given time, four to five sermons that are wondering through the Bible in search of a text.

    As far as Windsor Hills goes, our church also supported some OBC grads in the past. I have always found them pleasant and congenial. But I have also taken them evangelizing, and found that they consistently preach “easy-believism.” They win souls by the bus load, and retain them by the handful at best. So, I put them more in line with the HAC branch of fundamentalism. Hype, Hyles, and Hype.

  12. November 26, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Thanks for the answer. It seems this whole thread has been either slow or deed

    from activity. In thought Jim Vineyard preached repentance? he’s on Steven L.

    Anderson’s blacklist( at least the last time I checked).

  13. Bobby
    November 28, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Well, I have a Bible with wide margins all around it and I have written all over it–Tons of cross-references, outlines, definitions, etc.

    I also don’t stand still when I preach. So, I must be on the way to being in the GOBNetwork. Or maybe I just don’t get to be in the network of those that don’t have wide-margins and do stand still.

    Or, maybe . . . . I’m just being me and not worrying about being in any of the “clubs.”

  14. December 16, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Great stuff. I have had limited personal exposure to these kinds of things, but have read about other fundamental churches doing these things. I have seen other denominations do some of them – such as the pastors in radical Charismatic churches running up and down the aisles and running on the backs of the seats. Also, many lukewarm churches love to quote their favourite (lost) religious person or New Evangelical such as Mother Theresa, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, etc.

    I guess I should praise the Lord that my IFB church/pastor is not like the ones you are critiquing here!

  15. david whitley
    September 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    you sound exactly like two professors i had in college. precisely why i didnt go back. i found this site quite by accident i assure you.

  16. September 5, 2009 at 9:13 am


    Thanks for drawing attention to it!

  17. September 5, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Pastor Mallinak, I thoroughly enjoyed your post. I remember a guest speaker at my church running across the backs of the pews, bringing in a coffin, busting a TV, and saying that God’s Will is nothing more than an open door while he walked through the open door. He also would jump off the platform and “Amen!” himself while he was at it. He was quite a sight. The last time this man preached at my church he talked about Blooper underwear and how his idea of heaven was to see Darcel McCoy working in the cotton fields around his mansion. What a nut!

  18. September 6, 2009 at 11:21 am

    This post is still funny. Sword of the LORD recently did make some waves by doing

    a review and critique of the book put out by BJU on alchohol. BJU is retracting

    the book to clarify their position.

  19. martin
    September 18, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Wow! I was saved in one of these churches and so was my wife well over 20 years ago. I feel so cheap!

  1. November 28, 2008 at 2:05 am
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