Back by popular demand, here are the latest really weird criticisms pastors have received, with special thanks to the responses at Church Answers and on social media.
- “You didn’t send me a thank you note for my thank you note.” Thank you.
- “You are too happy!” I’ll make a point of being a total grump around you.
- “I will leave the church if you don’t put tissue seat covers in the bathrooms!” Please flush on the way out.
- “I would be happy to take your wife to the store to help her select some appropriate clothes.” Please do, but don’t return.
- “I guess I have to die to get you to wear a suit and tie to church again.” The pastor did so the next Sunday. He’s waiting on the member to hold up his end of the deal.
- “Every sermon you preach is better than the next one.” Thank you . . . no, wait.
- “Why do we have to follow something an apostle wrote 2,000 years ago?” Yep, that Bible is overrated.
- “The VBS hot dogs are too cheap.” What? We got them at LifeWay!
- “You don’t tell enough jokes when you preach.” Yes, I do. I mentioned your name in my last sermon.
- “You need to stop talking about making disciples.” Yes, that criticism came from an elder.
- “When you changed the name from Sunday school to small groups, you took Jesus and the Bible out of the church!” I agree. Read Hezekiah 4:11.
- “You didn’t give good advice about the family vacuum.” Now, that’s important.
- “I heard you are going to cancel Christmas.” Yes, I consulted with the Grinch.
- “I don’t like the color of your beard hair.” Thank you. I plan to dye it pink.
- “Your hair color is too dark for someone in your profession.” Don’t worry. The more I hear from you, the grayer it gets.
- “Just because it’s in the Bible, you don’t have to talk about it.” I try to be selective.
- “Your wife used the wrong spoon in the coleslaw at the church social.” Thank you. She has agreed to be in timeout from church for one year.
- “We need to throw out the guitar to the streets. The piano is the only instrument that belongs in the church.” Yep, that’s what the Apostle Paul said.
- “You ended a sentence with a preposition in your sermon.” What is this criticism good for?
- “Your pregnant wife is faking morning sickness.” I would be happy for you to watch her throw up.
Some funny. Some sad. Some angry.
All of them are reminders of the challenges of pastoral ministry.
Please tell your pastors how much you love them and appreciate them.
And to all you readers, thank you and Merry Christmas. You bring joy to my life!
Posted on December 24, 2018
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
Mr. Rainer–It could be worse. Actually in your case, it is — apparently you are so disliked by the owner/moderator of Pulpit & Pen (who hates all things SBC) that he literally named you “The Worst Christian of 2018” (over such people as Internet “preacher” Greg Locke, who divorced his wife to marry his church secretary and has abandoned his biological children).
NOTE: I do not agree in most cases with that site as it is the rantings of a man who worships John Calvin and not God.
Oh my apologies to all affected by foot in mouth disease among those you serve!
Fiery darts can go in two directions unfortunately. Some of the less than helpful statements I have heard pastors make:
1. Don’t tell me the sermon was good. (ok, can be arranged, should I say it was bad??)
2. Thank you for visiting us but you are not our target demographic. (Pretty sure that wasn’t what the church growth leaders had in mind.)
3. It isn’t your job to listen to God. You listen to me and I listen to God. (Rather the opposite of what the Bereans did.)
4. Thank you for playing the piano for us today. Next time remember we do everything with excellence for God’s glory. (Guess who was singing to a cd instead of live music the next Sunday?)
5. Or the worst, when trying to explain costly love of the unsaved, encouraged us to be willing to drive backward full speed down a mountain with a drunk driver if we really were the driver’s friend. (Oh man, parents were working overtime deleting that sermon from teen’s ears and minds!)
6. The sharknado sermon. Don’t ask. Just say it wasn’t on a par with the Wizard of Oz sermon.
Hopefully we can all behave with more grace in the coming year!
This was actually offered as a compliment. But it revealed some unspoken crazy criticism. Shortly after beginning my first ministry call, one member called me on the phone to say, “Good service today. You got us out of there on time!”
The best one I’ve received was, “We’ve heard enough about unity.” Delivered in a meeting set up to deal with complaining.