(Okay, so the google image market for "Sermon Participation" or similar searches is almost non-existent. Since awkwardness is the secondary theme of this post, I hope the above picture will suffice)
I think we have all seen this at least once in our lives...The preacher is preaching towards a climax complete with marching half way down the aisles, and at some point without clear organizational precision, the preacher glances down at a particular person sitting near the front, usually in the youth section...
And just as quick as you can think "I hope the guy sitting down was paying attention," the preacher picks the young man up via the preacher's arm slipping through the half open arm slot of the folded arms of the young man, and POOF, we're in....
And by "we're in" what I really mean is we will find ourselves in concerned admiration and worry for the next 15-90 seconds as we enter the Awkward Zone.....
The awkward zone during sermons is most notably entered when someone is called out for talking or passing notes during the sermon by the preacher himself....But the Awkward Zone can also be entered by the preacher picking up a random individual from the crowd and making the individual a participant in the sermon through having that individual walk step by step with the preacher as he sermonizes....usually this incorporation of individual has some reference in the sermon itself (such as needing the support of the brother in weakness) or something similar. However, the exact reasoning for the audience pull is unclear at best or abstract at worst.
Now the awkwardness is not so much in the preacher but in the reaction of the participant himself. What is he supposed to do?
-Smile awkwardly at the preacher?
-Smile awkwardly at the audience
-Wonder if the girl who likes him in the crowd thinks he is cool or think he is a loser for being picked out?
-Start praying with arms lifted looking towards heaven?
-Start praying with eyes opened but lips moving
-Does he dance if the preacher starts dancing?
Now of course all of this happens under the close watch of curious eyes....but the most awkward moment in the whole series of rapid events is when the preacher lets go of the individual while maintaining preaching without giving instruction on what the participant is supposed to do....Does he wait there at the altar? Does he still follow the speaker? Does he creepily lurch back to his seat hoping the preacher doesn't notice? Or most common is the fast-paced plunge back to the seat