It’s not a boring vocation.
If you serve as a pastor or church staff member, there is rarely a boring moment. A few years ago, I began polling pastors and church staff and collecting some really weird things church members said to them.
Here is my current top 25. I modified some to fit into a direct quote, but the essence remains. The words in italics are my own commentaries.
- “Will you bless me divorcing my husband so I can marry a convicted murder? God told me to do it”. Yes, I am sure that’s exactly what God said.
- Said to a pastor in his ordination council: “What is your view on Christian missions in space?” Space the final frontier . . . to boldly go where no man has gone before.
- After the church member had surgery: “Pastor, will you pray for me to pass gas.” Maybe there was a spontaneous answer to that prayer.
- “I want you to come see my display of nude art.” I’m still trying to find out what the pastor decided.
- During the offertory: “Pastor, do you have change for a twenty?” Probably a deacon.
- To a worship pastor after the service: “Here’s the bulletin. I graded each song based on how worshipful it was.” Thank you. We will be sending you your grades on how much the church staff likes you.
- “Can we put the children’s moment back in the bulletin? I know we don’t have any children but the old folks like it.” Yes, we will alternate it every week with the senior moment.
- “I use to be a warlock.” Was that before or after you became a deacon?
- Just before the service began: “Pastor, there’s no toilet tissue in the women’s restroom.” Makes you wonder what she would have said if the pastor was in the women’s restroom replacing toilet tissue.
- “Thank you for shaving your facial hair, because the Bible forbids it.” You’re right. It’s right there in the Bible at Hezekiah 3:16.
- “My husband’s ashes are in two different places. Will Jesus be able find him? It’s amazing what your husband did to get away from you.
- “Pastor, help me cut this Coke can. I need an ashtray for the fellowship hall.” Yes, things go better with Coke.
- In the middle of the service, a woman asks: “Pastor, aliens visited me. Is God okay with that?” You are mistaken. They were Jehovah Witnesses, not aliens.
- “Pastor, I need you to come get rid of the secret agents spying on me from my attic.” The pastor remembers learning how to deal with this situation from his seminary training.
- “Is it okay for me to lie if I ask for forgiveness in advance?” Definitely a Southern Baptist.
- “Will you come to my house and help get my husband off the toilet?” Ma’am, all husbands like to spend extended time there. Have him take two aspirins and call me tomorrow.
- Church member: “Pastor, will you pray for my son? He’s wild and out of control.” Pastor: “Sure, what’s his name?” Church member: “Maverick.” I guess we should be thankful his name is not “Homicide.”
- “I have the spiritual gift of extortion.” Another Southern Baptist.
- “Preacher, I have some moonshine for your cough. Feel free to stop by the house.” That’s one pastoral visit he made that week.
- “Will you play George Jones songs in the service today?” I’m sorry, we’re doing all Bee Gees today.”
- “The guitars sound like two cats mating.” I don’t thing that’s a compliment.
- “I want you to know if this church fails, it’s not your fault.” Gotta love those church members with the gift of encouragement.
- To the pastor in the men’s restroom: “So, pastors have to go too, huh? And what did you think before this moment?
- “Pastor, I have some extra Vicodin. Would you like some?” Probably not, but thank you for thinking of him.
- “Pastor, pray for me. I’m going to Vegas.” I bet double or nothing he didn’t pray for her.
Yes, church members say the darnedest things. Do you have any to add?
Posted on April 12, 2017
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
More from Thom
Pastor, please stop calling the children “kids” because they will be confused at the end of days. A “Kid” is a baby goat and we wouldn’t want them to go to the wrong side when Jesus separates the sheep from the goats.
Pastor, can you do something about the music? It’s so loud I have to turn my hearing aid off every Sunday.
I wasn’t sure how to answer since she already had a solution to the problem.
After my Dad’s sermon a lady said, “Thank you for that sermon, I feel considerably chastised.”
My thoughts: Someone is finally getting it!!!
“Pastor, I need you to come get rid of the secret agents spying on me from my attic.”
As a former nurse, this remark concerns me. It is highly likely this person has a serious psychological disorder and needs expert psychiatric intervention. It may be amusing on the surface, but I can assure you that it is not funny for this parishioner or his/her loved ones.
I had a church member call me to ask if I would come over to her house and shoot her sick horse! I’ve been asked to do some strange things but I’m sure this was not in my job discription.
A church member once asked me if I ever had to go to the bathroom while I was preaching! It was a man, only a guy would think to ask that.
The young folks may laugh at that, but when you get older, that becomes a very real fear. 😉 That’s why I always go before I preach!
20+ years ago, I was just a few months into serving my first church where I was the sole pastor and preached every Sunday when a pastor friend asked me to preach a revival at his church. It seemed to go well, but at the end of the week one of the older ladies, who was shaking my hand at the end of the last service, said “Don’t worry. You’ll get better.”
My cross to bear is my “snakeish” temper. At one “going away” dinner, the Pastor Parish Relations Chair read a poem that he had written. I remember it was mostly “snarky” and ended with a line “Get Out!”. I got “steamed!” When my time to speak came I thanked everyone graciously and then addressed the PPRC fellow “and you, [name], may pay close attention to the mistletoe attached to my coat-tails as I leave.” At first there was silence, followed by a few titters and eventually by a general roar! I may not be remembered there for my pastorate, but be assured everyone remembers my closing remarks! (My Supervising Pastor congratulated me on saying something he had always wanted to say but lacked the courage.) 😀
I am pastoring my first church. At the traditional pot-luck dinner the night before they called me, a deacon’s wife introduced herself and told me with a big smile, “I am going to be your biggest critic!” She then asked if I thought I had the stuff to stay here for twenty years…
The strangest story I ever heard happened to a friend of mine. He was preaching a funeral, and the service was just about to start when a woman suddenly barged in and demanded that it be stopped. She was a relative of the deceased person, and she wanted an autopsy to be done on his body (I’m no doctor, but I suspect it was a little late for that). My friend heard her out, and then he asked her who was going to pay for it. She thought the state paid for it, but my friend told her that the state only paid for an autopsy if it was a suspected homicide. As you probably guessed, the woman suddenly decided the autopsy wasn’t so important after all.
My story seems kind of dull in comparison to the ones I’ve read, but here goes. I was presiding over a church business meeting, and we needed to buy a new heater for our baptistery. As we were discussing different options one lady said, “But we don’t use the baptistery that much.” I felt like beating my head on the podium! Fortunately one of our men replied, “Well, we want that to change, don’t we?”
Here in south Louisiana, a favorite homemade treat is pralines, a sugary light brown candy with embedded dark brown pecans. One Sunday morning, our mischievous chairman of deacons handed me a small plastic container and said, “Brother Mark, last night Mrs. Lorraine couldn’t sleep at all because she had the bad diarrhea, so she made you this batch of pralines.”
I like pralines, but after reading this comment, I may never touch ’em again!