I recently ran across several articles in which pastors described some of the strangest requests from church attendees. Since I have been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years, I read them and had a wonderful laugh. For the sake of a lighter side, enjoy some of the things people have said to their pastor.
1. Pastor, I have a rat in my house. I need you to come over and get it.
2. Pastor, the toilet paper in the ladies washroom has the paper coming out at the bottom of the role rather than the top. I need you to correct that.
3. Pastor, I developed cancer because you don’t preach from the King James Version.
4. Pastor, why don’t you ever preach on Tim Tebow?
5. Here is a story of a church homecoming, in which the former pastor showed up. Everyone was gushing over him, and telling him how much they missed him. One elderly woman approached the present pastor and said, “Don’t worry, one day you will be our former pastor, and then we will love you too!”
6. Pastor, I have noticed that you don’t look at our side of the worship center very often when you preach.
7. Pastor, do you have a real job, or is this all you do?
Well, I read some of those comments and had a good belly laugh. And then I began to reflect on some of my own rather interesting encounters. I remember once being told that I offended the Lord by not wearing a tie. I could only imagine how the apostle Paul used to offend the Lord that way. I remember one lady telling me that she had told the former pastor’s wife she would be happy to press her husband’s suits for they looked a bit wrinkled. She then told me she didn’t understanding why the pastor’s wife took that comment badly. I remember being asked to bless houses, cars, motorcycles and bank accounts.
But, I also remember some of the things I said and did that must have caused others to laugh about me. I once performed a wedding for a Korean couple, in which the groom had grown up in Canada, but the bride was a more recent immigrant. I did not know that it was a cultural blunder to ask the couple to kiss in front of the entire congregation. And so after I pronounced them husband and wife, I said, “You may kiss the bride.” I watched in some amusement as the groom moved in for the kiss, and the bride almost backed off the end of the stage with a look of horror and disbelief on her face. I guess I should have checked that one at the wedding rehearsal! I have a few more blunders in my mind, but for the sake of my own dignity, have decided not to share them here.
As I reflected on the silly things that have been said to me, and the silly things I have said, I also thanked God for the many years I have been privileged to serve as a pastor. I have very profound memories of some of the men and women I have been able to lead to Christ. I remember some of the regrets, the marriages I was unable to heal and the doubts I was unable to assuage. I remember baptisms, weddings and funerals. I remember hugs and friendships, and the deep abiding friendships I still nurture for more than 25 years. I remember the joy of opening up the text of scripture and watching members of the congregation eagerly open up their Bibles and make notes in the margins.
But more than anything, I remember Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:7. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” To all who are a part of churches with imperfect people who sometimes say and do funny and silly things – let’s celebrate. We may be God’s peculiar people, but we are still God’s people.
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