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
we recently moved our pulpit from the center of the platform to the side. one man was very upset and said the usual “you’ve taken God right out o f the church!” etc. He was very upset. i tried reasoning with him…until he said “when i was talking to my lawyer…”
Literal quote from a deacon during a deacon’s meeting: “I don’t care what the Bible says. This church has never done it that way before and neither has any other church in this association.” I had suggested that the church have a voice in the selection on new deacons.
My all time favorite criticism that I have received came from an elder during my first ministry. “Just because it’s Biblical doesn’t mean we have to do it.”
In a similar fashion, we had a deacon say “We don’t do everything they did in the early church. In the New Testament, they didn’t even HAVE church!”
(This was exactly why we were meeting, i.e. because we weren’t following the example of the early church and the pastors wanted to change that).
That’s true! One of Jesus’ disciples went out and hung himself rather than repenting and asking for forgiveness.
In my first pastorate my wife was pregnant with our son and was having a difficult pregnancy. My wife also worked and drove 108 miles round trip. As she was driving home one evening, she fell asleep behind the wheel. Praise God that she awoke very quickly when a man driving the other way avoided hitting her and honked his horn. I had a deacons meeting that night. I shared that with my deacons and a female deacon said, “She should have quit working when she found out she was pregnant.” I responded very quickly pointing out that her employment made it possible for me to be their pastor. It is amazing what people say without realizing the hurt that it creates. The hardest part of it all is that most of them do not care.
Criticism always hurts more when it’s directed at your family.
…and no one offered to help raise your salary when you revealed that?! SMH
I have held various leadership positions in the church, retired as a high school Principal, and have been a head boys and girls basketball coach. Its easier for people to criticize than encourage others. I cannot tell you how many crazy criticisms I have received over the years. Serving others has its challenges!
Thank you for serving, Mark.
Thanks for all you do, Thom. Merry Christmas
To you as well, Dennis.
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!
Thom S. Rainer, thank you very much for the empathy. Pastoring a congregation is a blessing, tough at times but a blessing. I enjoy your books, and articles, sometimes indirectly (directly) suggest them to our congregation….wink wink. Thank you for your ministry.
Thank you, Jorge. Merry Christmas!
One of my favorites came from an older, slightly, special needs gentleman, who loudly said from the third row, “You need to hurry up and get finished, the Braves come on in 15 minutes!” This was about halfway through the sermon (I didn’t make an adjustment). I guess I should have checked the Braves schedule lol
Now that’s funny.
My dad was once told that my mom and I did not smile enough at church. And they were probably right, as this was during the middle of one of the most difficult seasons in our church’s life. The gossip and rumors were overflowing. We didn’t know what was in store for my dad (the senior pastor). I admit this was petty of me but one Sunday after I went down to the altar to pray and weep over the situation. As I got up, I turned around and smiled at every section of the church and those in the balcony before making my way back to my seat. I didn’t want to leave anyone out. I hope that made them feel better.
That hurts just to read it, Melody.
Thank you! I can laugh about it now. The church is full of sinners not saints and at times, I have been the chief of them … but for the grace of God. Thank you for your posts! Merry Christmas!
Me too, Melody!
Actual comment about my preaching: “Pastor, I watched [insert name of televangelist] preach this same text this morning on TV, and he did a much better job than you just did with it.”
Yes. Or podcast preacher.
Merry Christmas, Thom. Appreciate all you do for the church.
To you as well, John.
A volunteer would bring in donuts every Sunday, but they were hidden in a place where only the regulars could find them. We moved them so that guests could enjoy them as well. A older man came storming into my office, livid. “My Sunday School class is angry that you moved the donuts!” Even worse, he was upset that poor little old Marie had to fumble with a fork and plate that day because some insenstive lout had brought a different kind of snack. You just can’t make this stuff up.