Twelve Weird Items in Church Bylaws

Sometimes reading a church’s bylaws is like taking a trip to the twilight zone.

Some are lengthy, very lengthy. Some are irrelevant. Some are unreadable.

And others are weird, really weird.

Knowing that I would get some incredible responses from my Twitter followers, I simply asked them if they were a part of a church with some weird bylaw provisions. Keep in mind, these are provisions in bylaws, not in a policy manual.

Here are my twelve favorites:

  1. No one can bring a colored drink to church, especially red Kool-Aid. I wonder how many church members were sneaking that stuff in their flasks.
  2. An active member is defined as one who gives at least one penny a year. Oh my. That would cut the Baptist church rolls in half.
  3. There will be very specific guidelines regarding the church van (but the church doesn’t own a van). The new bylaws amendment will be called “the Uber amendment.”
  4. Men serving communion are required to wear a coat and tie. I am totally flabbergasted they don’t have to wear pants.
  5. The church has to have a minimum of five deacons (but the church only has 20 members). It may get complicated if one of the available deacon candidates is a preschooler.
  6. No one can sell cassettes on church grounds. But 8-track tapes and vinyl records are fine.
  7. No one is allowed to bring glitter to church. I am definitely boycotting this church!
  8. No church member can be a part of a secret society. I wonder if that includes Democrats and Republicans.
  9. No church member can drink alcohol except during the Lord’s Supper. So that’s why the Lord’s Supper day is always such a high attendance day!
  10. No one can sell paintings on church grounds. This issue is indeed a pervasive sin in many churches.
  11. No one can come to church with diarrhea. That’s okay. They probably wouldn’t pay much attention to the preaching anyway.
  12. Members cannot have assigned pews. But you are allowed to bring your own personal chair.

I know you readers have some good ones to add to this list! If not, give me your prayerful insights into these twelve issues.

It should be fun.

Posted on May 2, 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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  • Number 8 is in the Wesleyan Discipline.

    “To demonstrate a positive social witness by . . . refraining from membership in
    secret societies and lodges which are oath bound, believing that the quasireligious
    nature of such organizations divides the Christian’s loyalty, their
    secret nature contravenes the Christian’s open witness and the secret nature of
    their oaths is repugnant to the Christian conscience.”

    Honestly, I can easily see how all of them could come to a church and then sit in the bylaws until the original purpose is forgotten. None of them seem particularly weird to me.

  • I know that it’s late but after many years of helping churches through revitalization I have seen a lot of crazy by-laws but the one that sticks out most was one that the church didn’t know was on the books.

    Women are not permitted to wear pants in the Sanctuary…

  • I just wish more Christians & church members would stop worrying about by-laws and just concentrate on God’s commandments & The Gospel

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