Twenty Really Weird Criticisms Pastors Receive (Merry Christmas!)

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.

  1. “You didn’t send me a thank you note for my thank you note.” Thank you.
  2. “You are too happy!” I’ll make a point of being a total grump around you.
  3. “I will leave the church if you don’t put tissue seat covers in the bathrooms!” Please flush on the way out.
  4. “I would be happy to take your wife to the store to help her select some appropriate clothes.” Please do, but don’t return.
  5. “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.
  6. “Every sermon you preach is better than the next one.” Thank you . . . no, wait.
  7. “Why do we have to follow something an apostle wrote 2,000 years ago?” Yep, that Bible is overrated.
  8. “The VBS hot dogs are too cheap.” What? We got them at LifeWay!
  9. “You don’t tell enough jokes when you preach.” Yes, I do. I mentioned your name in my last sermon.
  10. “You need to stop talking about making disciples.” Yes, that criticism came from an elder.
  11. “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.
  12. “You didn’t give good advice about the family vacuum.” Now, that’s important.
  13. “I heard you are going to cancel Christmas.” Yes, I consulted with the Grinch.
  14. “I don’t like the color of your beard hair.” Thank you. I plan to dye it pink.
  15. “Your hair color is too dark for someone in your profession.” Don’t worry. The more I hear from you, the grayer it gets.
  16. “Just because it’s in the Bible, you don’t have to talk about it.” I try to be selective.
  17. “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.
  18. “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.
  19. “You ended a sentence with a preposition in your sermon.” What is this criticism good for?
  20. “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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Oh that’s nice, people at other churches actually tell the pastor what they’re complaining about? It would be good to be able to respond to them. ????????‍♂️

    “You get your sermons online” – no I don’t

    “You don’t talk to me long enough Sunday mornings right before you preach” – I have prior commitments Sunday mornings

    “You should have at least printed the new logo in the bulletin before we voted on it, many of us were surprised you rammed this through by congregational vote” – I did print it in the bulletin, for 3-weeks, and published a video in the church e-newsletter 3-weeks prior and had a link to the video in the bulletin for 3-weeks, to the extent I got comments from other pastors in the community To the effect of “wow, you really went overboard selling this logo switch”

  • Nice funny post about the life of ministry…Good to keep your sense of humor, keep toilet seat covered…Hope you all have a blessed and peaceful Christmas

  • I was chewed out because our church phone number had “666” in it. I held my tongue but wanted to suggest that we rip out page 666 out of the Bible and all the hymnals.

    • Laughed at this one. Our church number is 1356 626666. I love it and if in the right mood I answer… The Beast… I’m 195cm and 145kg with a beard… So Yes I am big enough to be a beast… LOL

    • Then we also need to remove John 6:66 from the Bible (where many former followers of Christ left never to return; of course nowadays we simply promote them to deacon or elder to keep them — or more likely their donations — in the fold).

  • Dana Brown says on

    We’ve heard some of these, along with:

    “No one from the family should have to call you if someone goes to the hospital, you should just know.” (That came from an elder.)

    “Some people are upset that you don’t sanitize your hands before breaking the bread.” — Fast forward a few Sundays…. — “Some people are distracted by you wringing your hands as you pray over Communion.”

    “Some people are distracted when you drink from your water bottle. You need to use a glass instead.”

    “That baby (our infant daughter) shouldn’t be here. She distracts you from your work.”

    “You need to better control your wife.”

  • Sometimes I wish one of the requirements for church membership was that each person had to serve in some type of leadership position for at least one year so they might be exposed to the types of criticisms that only God’s people can dish out.

  • Larry K Inman says on

    My wife was told by a church member one time, that she hated her. Then I was told when I had a combo position, that I was a pretty good Minister of Education but as a youth minister, I wasn’t much. There have a been many other comments that I have chosen to forget. I’m glad God gave us two ears and one mouth, instead of the other way around.

  • I was once told, “I love your preaching but I can’t take you seriously because you don’t tie your tie in a double windsor knot.”

  • My favorite two criticisms I have ever received in my 18 years of pastoral ministry were: “You preach too much Bible!” and “We don’t have any red in the church at Christmas!” I wear the first as a badge of honor, and the second gives me a good laugh. Unfortunately, neither was meant to be funny or as a compliment.

  • Crawford Paul says on

    I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry reading this. As an elder I have had some “interesting” conversations with people about what they don’t like. Thick skin is a necessity for a church leader.

  • Theodore W. Johnson says on

    It appears that only male pastors receive weird criticisms about their spouses. What protects female pastors from weird criticisms about their spouses?

    I would have shared this on Facebook, but I do not want to perpetuate your misogyny. What a sad statement about the church of Christ at the Christmas season.

    • Aaahahaha! Can we add this ^ to the list…So good.

    • Theodore,

      Thom asked for these comments on Twitter. Perhaps no female pastors responded.

    • Marguerite Colson says on

      Theodore –

      Calling Thom Rainer a misogynist is both absurd and a reflection of your own ignorant prejudices. You obviously do not know him, and you likely don’t have the character to apologize to him.

    • Karen Terry says on


      As I read this awful and unwarranted criticism of you, it reminded me that you too are the recipient of ignorant barbs. Through the years I’ve noticed you publish them and don’t try to defend yourself. Well, this time I am here to defend you, my friend. Theodore’s comment is despicable.

      Have a Merry Christmas, Thom.

    • Craig Giddens says on

      It’s not misogynistic to believe that only men are called to be pastors unless you’re calling God, who inspired the scriptures, misogynistic.

    • Daniel Tucker says on

      Nothing worse than misogyny…well unless you take arrogance, ignorance and lack of a Greek text of the New Testament into consideration. Eggnog anyone? Merry Christmas Thom, thanks for your service to our King!

    • Dr. Rainer is a Southern Baptist, as I am, and we don’t believe it’s scriptural for women to serve as pastors. You are within your rights to disagree, but since this is Dr. Rainer’s blog, it seems to me you should respect his convictions instead of demanding that he respect yours.

  • Andrew Fouts says on

    The weirdest one I heard either was my accent was not Christlike or the slight limp that I have from a baseball injury makes me walk unprofessionally for a Pastor.

  • Barry Ballard says on

    I was once pulled aside and told by a pastor emeritus at my church, “You talk about Jesus too much!”

1 2 3 4