Sixteen Really Strange and Funny Things Pastors Have Been Asked to Do

“Pastor, I have a rat in my house. Please come get it!”

It’s a true story. I was the pastor. And I was over 30 minutes away from the senior adult who made the “request.” I tried to call several other church members on the phone to get them to help.

I could find no one. Strange.

I chased a rat in the senior adult’s home for over an hour.

I love pastors and church staff. I love hearing their stories. And, on occasion, I like to provide a bit of levity. Such has been my theme this week.

Today, I let these pastors and church staff persons speak for themselves. I made minor modifications to a few so the story does not inadvertently reveal the church members. I don’t want the pastor to get fired. No comments on my part are necessary.

  1. “A church member asked, during the Lord’s Supper, if we could have a prayer for her dog that had died earlier in the week.”
  2. “A church member called, telling me her neighbors sheep were out in the road. Of course, I was supposed to help since I was her shepherd.”
  3. “I officiated a funeral where the family did the wave and hit beach balls during the service.”
  4. “A lady called me to let me know her son-in-law wasn’t praying long enough before his bed time. She felt I needed to counsel him.”
  5. “A church member was a funeral home director. He called me frequently to help him pick up just-deceased bodies.”
  6. “A church member called to request I euthanize an injured rabbit.”
  7. “I was asked by a church member to bury a dog.”
  8. “I got a call from a church member asking me to inform a lady she has grandkids she didn’t know about.”
  9. “I was asked to baptize a body at a funeral.”
  10. “A lady brought a chirping bird into a worship service and asked me to ignore it.”
  11. “I was visiting a member of our church in the hospital. He insisted I hold his kidney stone. I was young, so I did.”
  12. “A church member asked me to do a funeral for his horse.”
  13. “A deacon, after checking on a clogged toilet in the men’s room, told the pastor, ‘You need to go to the men’s room with me. You’ve got to see this!’”
  14. “A church member asked me to put her mother’s funeral on my calendar. She wasn’t dead.”
  15. “I was asked to wear a crushed velvet hat for a wedding.”
  16. “A church member asked me to do an imitation of a character from The Princess Bride during the wedding ceremony.”

I have no doubt these stories are true. I’ve had many weird requests made of me as well.

Let me hear from you.

Posted on May 4, 2016

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.
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  • Ken Overturf says on

    Was called by church member whose cow was having difficulty delivering a calf. Her husband was at work. Having been raised on a dairy farm, I had a particular skill set that others might not. Took a staff member, who had been raised in the city, with me. When I got there I immediately recognized the problem – nothing to do but roll up my sleeve and go after it. While I am arm length deep attempting to turn the calf’s head, my staff member is being supportive by throwing up a short distance away. I was the subject of discussion at the local cafe at lunch, having gained instant credibility among the farmers and ranchers in the area. My staff member – not so much.

  • Cory Matlock says on

    Had a man in my congregation who had went through some serious medical issues in his mid 30’s and it ended with him being partially paralyzed on one side of his body. He had been doing well at the nursing home in his recovery and had said that he was doing well enough that he could leave and almost function normally apart from his walker. So we picked him up and brought him back to town for Church and a fun day of hanging out. The part he didn’t mention was that he couldn’t wipe after using the restroom…. Long story short, now I can actually claim that as part of my experience as a pastor…. ????

  • Dafydd says on

    The most awkward request I had was from a lady who insisted I visit her late at night to help her as she was in a real difficulty. I arrived at her home at 11pm, duly armed with my Bible to she what was wrong. Her request? “Please help me, I’m constipated.” They didn’t prepare m for that one in Bible College!”

  • Phone rings. I answer. I’m asked if I officiate weddings. I said, “yes”. But that we’d need to schedule some counseling sessions prior. Lady who called said that wouldn’t work. She was needing someone to marry her and her fiance during his visiting hours……… prison………that afternoon. I quickly gave her the number of a colleague…..who hasn’t called me to play golf in quite some time. 🙂

  • Wait. Are we not supposed to do Princess Bride imitations at every wedding? I may have a lot of apologies to make. “Wuv, twu wuv, is what bwings us together today.”

  • Delta D says on

    I was asked to go help a parishioner collect the guns from his suicidal ex-son-in-law’s home. While the SIL was there, threatening to do himself in.
    We went. We prayed together in the front hall, then left. We had to go back for the guns. We drove away with guns and ammo in the trunk. Never found out what happened to guns.

  • OluSunday says on

    A church member called to tell me he had a dream. In his dream, rapture took place and I didn’t make it. It got me thinking initially but after a heart-check, I realized the inner witness that I’m still a child of God had not left

  • Mike VonMoss says on

    Got a call after midnight from a distraught lady. Her husband George worked nights. She always packed him a lunch and put his false teeth in the bag but this time had forgotten his the teeth. She wanted me to take his teeth to him at work which was about 30 minutes away. I told her George would have to gum that night.

  • These stories are great, but may I make a serious point? Don’t be too quick to decline if a member asks you to assist in some menial task. True, it’s not realistic to grant every request (I’ve read some of the some things you were asked to do, and believe me, I’d refuse some of them in a hurry!). Still, I’ve found that people in rural and working class communities will respect a preacher that’s willing to get his hands dirty with a little manual labor. You’ll be surprised at the doors it will open.

  • Not a church member story but equally as crazy…. My husband’s ex and mother of his son asked me to officiate her wedding for her current marriage. In her living room. With the groom’s mother on Skype. Extreme grace or extreme stupidity.

  • Jeffrey S. Robison says on

    It was a Tuesday. The phone rang. It was a recently widowed senior adult lady. She asked, “What are you doing right now preacher?” I responded, “Studying.” She said, “I need you to come see me now.” the phone line went dead.

    I pulled up in the driveway and this senior lady leaned out from behind the screen door and yelled, “Preacher! Do you have a gun?!!!” I answered, “Not with me!” She replied, “Well, you can use mine!”

    An large alligator had made her backyard pond its new home and it was trying to eat her grand daughter’s dog. She wanted me to rectify the situation by eliminating the alligator.

    I will plead the 5th Amendment with regard to rest of this story. The question was the about the request and not the fulfillment.

    I have always thought it was a strange request for a pastor… There are many, many others.

  • Seth Johnson says on

    5:30 am call to the scene of an accident on icy I95 in Maine. Prayed the whole way only to find out the wrecked truck had potatoes that could be salvaged so a farmer in our church was called to empty the truck for his cattle. I was just the muscle for a few dozen pallets of spuds.

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