10 Bizarre Things That Have Been Said To Me

I have been a pastor for almost 15 years. In that time, some funny and relatively bizarre things have been said to me. Don’t get the idea that anything here makes me mad, or that I’m frustrated with being a pastor. I love my congregation and have a lot of patience. Plus, I’ve said some dumb things too! (When are you expecting?)

These are just a few notable (and funny) things that have been said to me.

“I’m pretty sure the communion bread in the Bible was gluten-free.”

This was after a conversation on whether or not our communion bread was, in fact, gluten-free (we use pita bread). I’m not sure they even knew what gluten was back then. Truth is, I only learned about it a couple years ago.

“That was a great sermon, I agreed with most of it”

I love getting feedback from the congregation. Most of the time it’s helpful. I did follow up and ask him which parts he disagreed with. He declined to answer.

“Hey, you’re finally a real pastor now!”

When I first became ordained in 2003, my title was “Worship Pastor.” When I became the lead pastor in 2007 I guess my powers were upgraded or something.

“Wow Pastor, you’ve really put on some weight!”

This very observant lady hadn’t been to church in a while. When she came back she kindly reminded me that I was fat! The problem was…she was right! I had gained 20 pounds while she was gone. My wife and I went on a diet after that.

“But he sold me bad drugs”

When one parishioner complains about receiving a bad batch of drugs from another parishioner you’ve got trouble. I really didn’t know what to say so I asked, “how do you know they were bad?” He said, “I didn’t get high.”

“I saw [a] Halloween pumpkin from the entrance of sanctuary… Who they are [sic] serving?”

Ok, this wasn’t said to me but was posted as a review on Google along with one star. ONE STAR! Never mind the fact that the pumpkins were carved by the youth group as a game, and that it was a scripture reference that was carved into them! Galatians 2:20

“It’s clear you have abdicated your responsibility to the church”

After I looked up the word “abdicated” (who says that?) I realized that it was not a compliment. This gentleman was upset because I would not implement his plan to upgrade the stage, lighting, and sound in our sanctuary. By the way, abdicate means, “to abandon, give up, or disown.” Wow!

“Tell me the next time you’re preaching so I can bring my friend”

Ok, no pressure. So if I didn’t preach or if I got hit by a bus you would never bring a friend? In truth, I think this individual meant it as a compliment. So, thank you!

“So, what do you do for a real job?”

This has actually been said to me a few times. It kind of blows me away. Once I said, “well, this is my job” to which the man replied, “I know you’re the pastor, but what do you do to make money.” Where does he think his tithe money goes? In fairness, it only seems like pastors work for 30 minutes each week.

“Please pray for my pet hamster, he died this week.”

A little kid said this to me so, yes, it’s cute. I didn’t know what to say. Is there hamster purgatory? Does this explain that strange Bible passage about the baptism of the dead? (1 Cor 15:29) You know what I did? I prayed for the hamster!

If you’re in ministry, what funny or crazy things have been said to you. Or, what have you said that you wish you could take back. Let me know in the comments section!

 

3 Mistakes Ministry Leaders Make

As a professional ministry leader for the past 25 years, I have made many, many mistakes. Some of them I have learned from and some I am still learning to overcome.

Here are three early challenges that I faced in ministry. Perhaps, you can relate:

Mistake 1: A Congregational Constituency?

The church is not a nation, town, or a city, but sometimes pastors fall into the trap of treating their congregation like voters. Rather than teaching the truth of the scripture and proclaiming the gospel of Christ, ministry leaders often make decisions based on trying to gain the acceptance of the church body. It’s the pastor as a politician. In becoming a politician the leader is more interested in maintaining an “approval rating” over bold leadership.

The word pastor means shepherd. As in, the shepherd of a flock of sheep. Remember, God’s people are often described as sheep in the Bible (Is 53:6). Remember when Jesus asked Peter to “feed his sheep?” The pastor’s mission is to care for God’s people.

I can’t imagine a world where any shepherd would need to manage the approval rating from his sheep! Instead, the shepherd knows what’s best for his sheep–even when it’s something that doesn’t seem best at the time.

Of course, I’m not saying that there’s no democracy within a church congregation. I’m pointing out that a pastor should lead God’s people to the truth, even when it’s difficult or unpopular.

My motto: Please God first, if the congregation is happy too–all the better!

Please God first, if the congregation is happy–all the better.Click To Tweet

Mistake 2: Sacrificing The Sabbath

Simply stated: pastors and ministry leaders must learn to take a day off. Too many of us have gone down burnout lane just because we fail to see the value in time away from our congregations.

Being a pastor is hard work and it’s often frustrating work too. Without a weekly recharge of our mind, body, and spirit, it’s not possible to continue to run at a break-neck spiritual pace. Still, many pastors and ministry leaders work non-stop. This always surprises me because taking a Sabbath is clearly regarded as an important part of God’s expectation of all people (Ex 20:8-11).

Remember, it is not critical which day you take off as a minister. But it is important to set ONE day aside each week. Turn off your phone, disregard email, ignore text messages, and leave social media alone. I preached about this very topic in detail…listen here.

After more than 25 years in ministry, I have learned that the church won’t fall apart in a single day. There are very few emergencies that can’t wait 24 hours.

And besides, if God rested on the seventh day, shouldn’t we?

Mistake 3: The Jack of All Trades

The problem with being a new pastor in a new church is that you sort of have to do it all. A small church pastor is often the preacher, the song leader, the media guru, the web designer, the carpet vacuumer, and more.

But eventually, as the congregation grows and as the church matures, more people can and should fill those roles.

Often young ministry leaders fail to give up some basic tasks because they feel they won’t be done well enough. The problem with that thinking is that it’s not sustainable. At some point, the new pastor needs to concentrate on bigger issues.

Andy Stanley says, “Only do what only you can do.” That’s a great mantra. What he means is that the ministry leader should concentrate on doing what they are uniquely gifted to do. This is not always possible in the beginning but it should be the target on the bullseye for every ministry leader.

Follow up questions:

  1. Where are your big challenges in ministry?
  2. Have you made these mistakes in the past?
  3. What mistakes have you learned from and how did you overcome them?

Consider leaving a comment and let me know about your experience as a ministry leader or pastor.