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The most insignificant person before any wedding is the groom. As long as he shows up, that's all that counts. The most insignificant person after a wedding is the minister, especially if the ceremony is for a couple only distantly related to the church.

"Thank you, Pastor, for a lovely service," you'll hear. Or, "That was such a beautiful prayer, Reverend." Then these people hurry to the punch bowl as if eager to talk to anyone but the parson.

Early in my ministry, once the niceties were out of the way, I found myself parked off in a corner. After a few awkward minutes, I would wish the bride and groom well and retreat out the door to some activity-any activity where I wasn't the parson on display.

Then I started thinking: I'm always looking for ways to reach unchurched people. A wedding reception bulges with people who otherwise wouldn't come to church on a bet, yet here I am, bolting out the door at the first opportunity because I feel socially uncomfortable. The challenge of the evangelistic ...

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