SIOUX FALLS, SD - Citing a desire to make visitors to Main Street Baptist Church feel welcomed, invited, and loved, Pastor Joseph Randall asked all first-time attendees to stand and be recognized, and to remain standing for the duration of the service Sunday, horrified visitors confirmed.
"If you're new here, we just want to offer you a big Main Street welcome," a smiling Randall said from the stage. "So please stand, and let's give you all a big round of applause just for showing up today."
As the applause died down and the visitors expected to be able to return to the comfort of anonymity, Randall added the terrifying words, "So we can continue to recognize you throughout the sermon, please remain standing the rest of the time with us today."
One visitor attempted to sit down anyway, but Randall cheerfully chided him from the stage. "Hey, I see you in the back there. Stand up, stand up. Don't be shy. Just remain standing so the rest of us can eyeball you the rest of your time here. OK, great, let's dig right into God's Word this morning."
According to church records, three visitors fainted and one had a panic attack during the service.