Floating like a butterfly, Ringgold minister encounters nemesis … again

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RINGGOLD — If nothing else, Billy Christol knew he’d been given a funny story to tell. He just didn’t know he’d get it twice. 

In a video shared on Facebook Christol, youth/associate pastor at Burning Bush Baptist Church in Ringgold, relayed from the pulpit last Sunday, July 30, something that had happened the previous Sunday, July 23. Leading into 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Christol prepared to focus on verse 2 – “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”

The wasp can be seen at the top-right edge of Christol’s head. “It’s in my hair. It’s physically in my hair,” the youth/associate pastor said to a laughing crowd at Burning Bush Baptist Church July 30.

“You never know what’s going to happen in a church service,” Christol tells the crowd on the video. “Last week I could feel it coming. I knew something was up.”

Christol then went into explaining what it’s like delivering a sermon.

The preacher holds a perspective like no one else in the room. You see who’s paying attention. You see who’s already thinking about beating the Methodists to lunch. And yes, you see who’s pretending to following along on their Bible app, but are really texting or checking social media. 

You notice all those things while preaching the gospel. Focus can be a challenge. It becomes tougher when another factor flies in. 

“I knew something was wrong in the room, and then I saw it,” Christol said. “I saw it coming at me.”

“It” was a bee. As he preached, Christol also thought, “There is a bee flying right at me.” A moment later came another realization: “There is a bee. On. My. Nose.”

Second act

At this point, the good people of Burning Bush Baptist Church witnessed something that could only have been planned if you enlisted the help of a wasp … a wasp that could appear and land on cue. 

As Christol told his story – one, mind you, as an example of being prepared for anything as taught in 2 Timothy – a wasp appeared in front of him. Like the bee the week before, it proceeded to fly directly toward Christol and land in the associate pastor’s hair. 

“It’s in my hair. It’s physically in my hair,” a clenched-up Christol said to a laughing audience. Christol finally swatted away the wasp after it climbed down to his forehead. 

“The funny part of the video is that it set up the sermon perfectly,” Christol told The Index. “We’ve been going through 2 Timothy all summer and this week [the study passage] was 2 Timothy 4:1-5. So, my whole introduction was a funny play on ‘you never know what’s going to happen when you preach the word.'”

Christol had been filling in for the last couple of weeks, freeing up Lead Pastor Dennis McNulty for vacation and a young mens retreat. McNulty will preach this Sunday. Christol stresses that despite recent weeks, flying insects aren’t an issue at the church. The one from last Sunday definitely won’t be anymore. 

“It was a very large wasp,” he said. “It was killed by the worship team just after the invitation and before the offering. They were surprisingly proud of the accomplishment.”

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