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.
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  • Jonathan Hanna says on

    Yes, many criticisms that parishners offer are silly, implausible, and immoral.

    However, some comments from pastors make little to no sense.

    For example:

    “If a majority of Southern Baptists believe that pickles have souls, that is what they should teach at convention seminaries.” Adrian Rogers

    This makes little to no sense. A majority of SBC members hold to a particular doctrine does not make it sound to hold. The merits of the case primarily matters, not what Rogers stated.

    For a half-way defense of what Rogers stated, see Allen’s post below:

  • Andrew Smith says on

    Thom, thanks for sharing these. We all get these and it’s helpful to know that others are getting criticized for similar things. I call it “crazy-checking.” Checking with others to say, “This is crazy, right?”

    I seem to get these right when I’m feeling good about the ministry I’m doing or after a message I feel particularly good about. So we know where these things come from, they are the “flaming darts” of the evil one. I’ve been in leadership positions outside the church as well and criticism doesn’t seem to have as much sting as from it is inside the family. My personal feeling is that because so much of ourselves is wrapped up in ministry, we are more vulnerable to these attacks.

  • Wes Covington says on

    Was told by an elder music minister that I should use do much Greek and big words in my sermons and that eventhough he understood me “those people” don’t.

  • After the first sermon I ever preached, an elder caught me before I even stepped down from the stage and told me his only criticism was that I used too much scripture.

  • In an anonymous survey intended for questions about an unrelated topic of Scripture, in regard to the youth pastor (me): “I’ve seen better.”

    Um…so have I. Thanks?

  • If you’ve been the recipient of #15, consider yourself blessed. Some of us pastors would be grateful to HAVE hair. 😉

  • A woman was asking around the church if anyone had seen my diploma, implying that I was some sort of fraud.

  • “Pastor, you are taking this way too personally,” committee member told me following several hurtful, hateful comments.

  • Tracy Wright says on

    I had an elder tell me one time, “You only want us to read the Bible so we will do things your way!”

  • Hi, Thom, I was criticized for not loving people because I didn’t visit enough in homes. Really? All I was doing was because I loved people.

  • Thanks for the thoughts today. Enjoyed sharing them with my family. My own favorite, “Are you going to stay here very long, my son is a Pastor you know.” Merry Christmas to you and your family Thom.

  • Tim Hickman says on

    My favorite was an older gentleman that complained that he couldn’t hear me preach because I wouldn’t stand still behind the pulpit. I tried to explain that I had a wireless microphone, he didn’t hear me. He refused to wear his hearing aids.