“A Collection Of Funny Church Moments”

Brooksyne and I have had many humorous experiences through our years of ministry.  We would like to share some with our readers! If you have a humorous church story please consider sharing it using the “Leave a Comment” link above.

“A time to laugh” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). “A cheerful heart is good medicine”  (Proverbs 17:22).

We recall:

* A little girl had a role in a children’s church drama many years ago. As she stepped up to the microphone for her small speaking part the only words that she bellowed out were, “I gotta P” as she took off down the middle aisle, holding herself the entire way!

* The elderly man offering a prayer request for a male friend of his. “Pray for my friend Jim. He had a hysterectomy and is in a whole lot of pain.”  His wife went right along with him, nodding in agreement and weeping.  (This was a hard request to follow-up on with a serious prayer.)

* The man from a rough gang background who had come to the altar to accept Christ. After we prayed together he looked up at me and expressed with great joy, “I feel a h*** of a lot better.”

* When Ester was little I often carried her on my shoulders.  She frequently sang songs she learned in church.  Rather than singing the correct words of the Twila Paris’ song, “He is exalted, the King is exalted…” Ester, with great enthusiasm, would sing, “He is exhausted, the King is exhausted…”

* A baptism in a mountain stream in Northern Pennsylvania. It was winter runoff and the water was ice cold. I was baptizing a large, rather simple-minded, man. Although baptisms are joyful I still like to keep a certain dignity about the service. As we stepped out into the icy water he said in a slow drawl, “This ain’t gonna take very long is it Reverend?” (Believe me, it didn’t!)

*A young boy who testified about his deliverance.  During a Sunday evening service in New England a guest musician led us in the hymn, “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.”  He told the  congregational members that we would pause after singing each verse and chorus to give an opportunity for congregational members to share about the change Jesus brought into their lives after they got saved. After singing the second verse five year old Kyle, who had already developed a sense of humor, raised his hand.  When the song leader called on him he asked, “Young man, what has God delivered You from?”  Kyle answered “Drugs!” Imagine how red his mother’s face turned as she realized what had just came out of her son’s mouth.

*That’s my seat!  The majority of us who attend church have a pew or chair that we consider to be our own as if our name was attached.  We expect to sit in that same spot for every service unless we’ve been bumped by someone else.  Usually that someone else will be a visitor who doesn’t know better or who doesn’t have their name on another seat.  One Sunday Sandra, who has downs syndrome , came in late for the service.  She always took the seat closest to the middle aisle on the second pew from the front.  She was flat footed so you could hear her entrance every Sunday even though the middle aisle was carpeted.  Expecting to take her usual seat she made her way up the aisle and headed for her pew until she realized a man and woman were sitting in her place.  From the aisle she just stood there looking at them in disbelief.  Then she gave a very exasperated huff as she crossed her arms Indian style and informed the visiting couple that they were sitting in her seat.  It was a very humorous and embarrassing moment for onlookers.  A board member quickly came to the rescue, but you’ve probably already guessed it, the couple chose to sit elsewhere.  I’m sure they understood!

*You can’t sit there!!  A very dedicated elderly woman attended our church for many years.  She had to bring her oxygen with her each Sunday since she suffered from emphysema.  She eventually died and the congregation loved her so much that Brooksyne decided to make an arrangement of silk flowers and tape them to the upper back of the pew along with a dedicatory sign remembering Mary who faithfully sat in that very seat for many years.   We kept it on the pew for about a month and finally knew it was time to remove it. But no one could bring themselves to sit in that seat even after the flowers and sign were removed.  A friend of ours was visiting for the first time and he chose to sit in that “hallowed” spot.   He must have seen a strange expression on my face because he looked up at me and asked, “What did I do?  Have I done something wrong?”  Up to that point I thought it was the congregation who needed to move on and sit in this “hallowed” spot, but when our friend saw my look of horror I realized it was me,  Brooksyne, that had to let go.  Tom helped us to quit “saving” that spot and we blessed him for being the one who would finally break in that seat for others to sit in.

*Brooksyne has taught children since she committed her life to Christ in Junior High School. That’s over 35 years and she’s stored up many funny memories.  Once she was teaching on Elijah and in describing Elijah she told the children that he was a “bold man.”  Making sure that she was not talking over their heads, she asked her preschoolers what the word “bold” meant. Little three year old Mandy quickly raised her hand and with much confidence answered, “He didn’t have no hair.”

* Many years ago we had a musical drama called “Little Christmas Lamb” which had a part about a poor orphan girl with ragged attire and worn-out shoes.  In fact the shoes were so worn that the soles flopped up and down as the girl walked around the stage.   Ester was only about 4 at the time and was so upset at the pitiful shoes that she spontaneously ran up to the platform at the end of the musical and turned to the congregation and shook her finger at the congregation to scold them for laughing at this poor girl.   Brooksyne took Ester to the shoe store the next day and bought Cleusa (the young actress) a new pair of shoes.  Ester gave them to her for Christmas and it served as a wonderful lesson for her to see the proper Christian response to a person in need.

* One Sunday morning I was sharing the story about the three Hebrew boys that were thrown into the fiery furnace (as recorded in Daniel). I asked the congregation if they could remember the names of the three Hebrew boys. A little boy in the church excitedly raised his hand and said, “Rack, Shack and Bennie!” (These are the names given to them on a “Veggie Tales” song.)  The congregation laughed so heartily that this sensitive child began to cry as he didn’t know what was funny about his answer.

* A funny memory the folks in our last church had before our arrival was that of an elderly lady who would testify by holding a microphone to her ear. I had always smiled as I heard this, but was still a little skeptical of such a story. In a final service we had prior to moving on from that church people were testifying concerning our ministry years and sure enough, this dear lady came up, took the microphone and placed it to her ear and began to share from her heart.  Have you ever looked at an entire congregation who is respectfully trying to listen while holding back a roaring laughter that is upwelling inside?  Of course the children had more difficulty containing the laugher than the adults.  The Lord has a wonderful sense of humor (and He saved this one for our last Sunday with these wonderful people).

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Humorous Stories submitted by Daily Encouragement Net readers:

The following are humorous experiences submitted by Daily Encouragement Net readers. If you have a humorous story please share it! I will add them to this list. Email me

When our son was in kindergarten at a Catholic school, he told us one night at supper that he had learned in religion class about 2 armies who were going into battle the next day. One was a very large, well-equipped army (the “bad” guys) and the other was a much smaller army who had few weapons. The leader of the small army prayed to God to help his army the next day. God spoke to him and told him to have each man in the army paint a cross on their shield and trust in God. If they did that, they would win the battle. The men in the small army did just that and sure enough, they won the battle. My husband asked our son if he remembered any names associated with this event. Johnny responded, “The only one I can remember is the leader of the bad army – his name was Conscious Pilot.”

Linda, West Virginia

Your funny story about the little boy remembering the Veggie Tales names cracked me up and reminded of a very similar incident this year at VBS (Vacation Bible School). The children were listening to the Story of Daniel and the Lions den, 1/2 way through the reader asked the children if they knew what happened at the point where Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s Den. My son was the only child to raise his hand, he starts “they threw Daniel into the Lion’s den with the Lions…” my pride swelling, realizing that my little guy had remembered the story, then he adds …” and they had pizza!” hahaha! We still laugh about this now and again.

Tami, Massachusetts

One day at preschool, another young boy saw my son coming down the hall to class and got very excited. The young boy , although close in age was much bigger and he came running down the hall to give my son a hug. When he did he knocked him down and he hit the floor pretty hard. Although he was physically ok, he started to cry and stated that his friend broke his heart open and Jesus has fallen out and he did not know how to get him back inside. He was very distraught and it was so hard not to laugh. It took me quite a few days to convince him that Jesus did not fall out and that no matter what happens he will always be there with him.

Connie, Pennsylvania

We send our 2 young daughters to a private religious school.  We drive past several public schools to get there and my 6 year old asked why she didn’t go to a public school.  I explained that we wanted her to be tought about God and Jesus, etc.  She thought for a minute and  asked “Does the public school teach about the Devil?”  I had to wonder how much truth there might be in that statement given given the current state of our public schools in

MaryAnn, California

We had a humerous moment occur while we were attending one of our churches here in Maine.  There was a baptism that was incorporated into the regular worship service.  The girl being baptized was probably 4 years old at the time and she went through the entire procedure (baptism by pouring, in that there was no baptistry in this church) and was solemn throughout the prayer and welcome that the pastor did.  Her mother picked her up and as she was being carried back to her seat, she looked up at the pastor, waved and yelled out, “Thank you mister.”  It brought the house down with laughter, but it sure was a moment for reflection as well.

Another time many years ago, a little boy (about three) had been acting up throughout the service and would not settle down.  Finally the father had had enough, picked him and carrying him over his shoulder strode firmly down the center aisle of the church.  As he reached the end of the aisle we heard this clear loud 3 year old voice pleading, “Pray for me folks, I’m gonna get it!”

Ken, Maine

My son was asked in kindergarten one day why we said the pledge of allegiance.  He quickly shot up his hand and to the call of the teacher exclaimed, “If we don’t we’re going to h***.” I wonder sometimes what they are teaching him in Sunday School.

Wes, Missouri

My husband is a dentist and we recall a bright 5 yr old dental patient coming in. He is given the patient information form and my husband greeted him, “So, you’re Seth.”  Seth says, “Yes, I am and I know my phone number.”

“Well, what is it?” Seth give the correct number.

“Do you know your address?” Seth give that information correctly also.

“When is your birthday?” Seth says “March 19th”

“What year?” Seth snorts, “Well, EVERY year!!”

Georgia, Wisconsin

When my son was 5 years old a missionary from Mexico came to our church. This missionary ministered to Indians, so he gave everyone a baby food jar to fill with dimes. He would be back the next year and we would give him the jars filled with dimes. So we took our jar home and started putting dimes in our jar. One day I came home from work and the jar was empty. I asked the two older children about it, they told me they didn’t know any thing about it, so I asked my youngest son. He said yes I took them because you said they were for Indians and I’m Indian.

Marie, Missouri

While traveling on business I purchased a stuffed doll for my daughter.  She asked me where I got it from and I told her Miami (FL).  The next day while she was playing with a friend I overheard her tell her friend, “look at my new doll, my daddy got it from “His-Ami”.

Ray, Chicago

I have a funny story that happened quite a few years ago when my children were younger.  We were asking our children questions about the Christmas story, and asked what gifts the wise men brought baby Jesus. Our then 8yo son said “Frankenstein” and our 10yo daughter said “Merchandise” !!

Kerryn, Melbourne, Australia

My husband Kent & I recall the little girl who had a role in our church Christmas program 25 plus years ago.  As she read her part of the Christmas story, she said “Mary was EXPOSED with child.”  This memory still brings a smile, if not laughter when we read the Christmas story.

Cathy, Nevada

My funny experience happened about 11 years ago in Bloomington, IL at a Christian Missionary and Alliance Church.  My son was recently graduated from college and he and I both worked at the local rescue mission.  During church services he played the piano and I played my flute, sitting on a folding chair next to the piano bench.  As with many church plantings, this body of believers met in an old building of the Soldiers and Sailors Children’s Home and our “altar” was a big platform about six steps up from the auditorium floor.  There was a space of about 2 feet between the back of the platform and a brick wall.  (You can see this coming, can’t you?)  Sure enough, one Sunday morning the congregation was standing, ready to sing and as I adjusted my chair (and to this day I don’t know how this happened) the back leg of the chair first fell into the opening, then SOMEHOW the chair folded up under me and I fell, posterior first, into the abyss.  My first thought, as I seemed to be falling in slow motion, was to hand Eric my flute, heaven forbid if anything would happen to it!  The final result was my hind end wedged between wall and platform….I was stuck, clear up to my armpits…..arms spread, legs spread eagle (wearing a skirt)…..the congregation standing, mouths agape, my son leaping to his feet and yelling “Mom!” and our pastor jumping to the platform to try to rescue me.  My life flashed before me………actually what flashed before me was the fact that I was stuck and it would probably take 8 fireman and the jaws of life to free me from my bondage.  My son wanted to “pull” me up and I said, “Eric, I don’t think you can, I’m STUCK!”  Finally, after an eternity, I asked him to take a hold of my hands and somehow I managed to get my legs under me and crawl out from behind the platform.  My jacket was torn from sliding down the brick wall, but my pride was damaged much worse than my jacket and my bleeding arm.  I was shaking, but determined to climb back to my perch and play during worship.  The best part was after the service when innumerable women came up to me and said, “I’m SOOO glad that was you and NOT me!!!”  From what I understand, people still talk about the event, to this day. 🙂

Jan, Mississippi

When my little sister, Ruth, was about three years old, she was standing on the table studying the picture of the last supper on the wall.  After she looked at the picture for some time, she said, “Eat your cookies, boys, and drink your Kool-Aid”.

Theresa

It happened during one of those children’s sermons, when the pastor has all the little ones come down front and sit at his feet for two minutes of condensed kiddie Gospel.  The pastor asked the children to reflect on “what God wants from us.”  Without hesitating, a little boy piped up: “He wants flowers!”  Plenty of laughter.  In an effort to recoup, the pastor rephrased the question with a “Well yes, but…” and the same little boy pre-empted his peers’ responses with another emphatic: “He wants flowers!”  The pastor made one final attempt to drive home his point, but was again outplayed as the little boy insisted at the top of his lungs: “BUT HE REALLY WANTS FLOWERS!”  Brought the house down.

Pam

My 4-yr-old granddaughter was playing hairdresser with my hair, and in her combing and pretend clipping at the back of my head, she says “Grandma, your hair is turning black back here”.     Ha ha.  I thanked her!

Joan, New Brunswick, Canada

The pastor’s wife was asking for song requests and one boy said, can we sing “He is exhausted”. We all stood there at the altar in shock and finally it sunk in and we began to laugh, the boy not knowing why he was about 12. Of course the song was requesting was “He is Exalted.”

Stephen, Pennsylvania

I was very shy and a fairly new single mom. I was involved with a large singles ministry and was up on stage for the first time giving announcements. I breathed a sigh of relief as I finished and promptly fell down the stairs…My shoe flew in the air everyone (400+) stood up and yelled “OH!” my sister yelled “THAT”S my SISTER!” I slipped away to the kitchen area beet red but giggling. I went on to do much public speaking from there…

Dori, California

I was about 12 when I was mistaken for a porcupine while camping!  I was doing a sketch of Lake of the Clouds up in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan and only the top of my head was sticking up over the rocks… I heard these people behind me saying things like, “Do you think that is an animal?”, (so I looked around, just moving my head) then I heard ..”Oh it just moved!  and they kept right on talking about if it (the animal) would stay were it was and not to get to close cause it might bite. I had no idea what they were talking about.. Until one finally said, “OH, It’s a GIRL!”

Pat, Wisconsin

I was officiating at a graveside service and just as I finished saying, “And someday the Lord is going to call us all home….” my beeper went off!

Lou, New Jersey

We go to a VERY small country church (and I do mean country) close to our town, which is called Ackerman, but I aptly call Mayberry.  We go to a little PCA church where my husband is an elder and where he and I, in our mid-50s, are two of the younger part of the congregation.  I play the piano for each service and figure I’m about a step up from singing acapella.  Since our church is so small, our pastor has to have another full-time job and he is a Christian announcer on the local Christian radio station.  Anyway, he does not have an office in the church and we only meet on Sunday mornings, so the building is vacant most of the week.  Suffice it to say………on occasion mice frequent our church.  I know, they’ve left me a “gift” on the piano.  One Sunday, nearing the end of the sermon, I was sitting on the front pew with my husband and daughter, waiting to go back to the piano and play the last hymn.  Sure enough, Erin and I spotted the little fellow running to and fro from piano to stairs under the altar.  Back and forth, back and forth.  I did not hear the end of the sermon, but when Brother Dave was ready for me to play the hymn, I refused!  I told him we would have to sing that one acapella and if the elders wanted me to play the following Sunday, they’d best plug the hole under the stairs.  My vision (and I’m pretty sure this was from the Lord) was of me playing Blessed Assurance and having that varmit run up my panty hose.  I don’t know about you, but any living creature that can jump, hop, crawl, or wiggle it’s way onto my body (and is not one of our domesticated pets) is not a welcomed guest!  We sang acapella to close that service.  :)  I think sometimes God likes to use me for comic relief.

Jan, Mississippi

Our Grandson David at age 3 loved to sing and his favourite was “Rejoice in the lord always and again I say rejoice”, only he sang “Be joyce in the Lord always”

Same child at age 6 was still a great singer (as he still is at 18). One time his father was teaching him to snorkel and as they were going along the father wondered what was the funny noise he could hear, it turned out to be David singing into his snorkel, my did he have sore gums after wards from the movement of his mouth on the snorkel!

Judy in Australia

When my twin daughters were 2, Julie (younger by 5 minutes) stuck her head through a wrought iron porch railing…after much pulling by well meaning neighbors, the firemen arrived (with a hook and ladder truck), sawed the railing off and got her out…When her father arrived home he was greeted by my 4 year old son with ” Daddy, Julie got her head stuck and they had to cut it off!”

Pat, Wisconsin

My family has a gospel bluegrass band: during one of our singings, my husband was introducing us and when he came to me he said, “and this is my wife,______” he absolutely could not think of my name, haha, (stage fright?)

Jan, Ohio

My 3 year old was inquiring during mass “how much longer?”  Then she looked up at the altar and said in a voice heard by everyone nearby, “look, he’s pouring the drinks” as the priest was readying the communion wine.  A little comic relief during a long service.

MaryAnn, California

While we were home on home assignment, we were sharing in a school to first graders explaining what we did and where Venezuela was on the globe compared to where the USA was. So afterwards, we asked if there were any questions and this boy says, “You must have to get up very early in the morning to make there on time.”

Howard, NTM of Venezuela

Johnny had been enthralled in watching the winter Olympics in Calgary. He asked his daddy where Calgary was and my husband got the Atlas and pointed out to Johnny the exact location. On Saturday night, we went to Mass during which our priest read a letter from the Bishop, encouraging us to prepare for Lent which would begin the following Wednesday. The letter ended with “Remember to do something to make someone’s world a little better, a little easier during this blessed season. Remember what Christ did for you when He died on Calvary.” At that point, Johnny said in his loudest voice, “Mommy, you never told me Jesus died in Canada.”

Today’s word reminded me of my nephew, when he was a little fellow of about 3 or 4. He must have been taught the Scriptures, because one day he came running into the house and shouted, Mommy, mommy, come and see–“the heavens are declaring!” She joined him outside to worship as they viewed a lovely sunset.

The above humorous experiences were submitted by Daily Encouragement Net readers. If you have a humorous church story please consider sharing it using the comment link above.

Pastor Discovers New Church Growth Method

Got Faith Community Church
Pastor Chip Smith has served as  pastor of the “Got Faith” Community Church in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania since 2004. Barnesboro is a small rural village located near Altoona, but since it is situated off the beaten path and has a declining population the church has  difficulty attracting new members.

The church was known for many years as Faith Community Church but Pastor Chip’s predecessor changed the name reckoning that a new, cool sounding name might attract more people.  But many in the area choose instead to drive to Horseshoe Curve Christian Center, a large mega church, on the outskirts of Altoona.

Computerized training babiesThe church growth idea began innocently enough but in retrospect Pastor Chip feels it was a sign from the Lord.  It was on a Sunday morning that  Mandy, a high school student, brought a computerized baby to the Morning Worship service as part of a parenting class weekend assignment. The “baby” was programmed to cry at specified times, intending to remind the student of the rigors of parental responsibilities.

The small congregation warmly welcomed the new baby. They refered to the baby as “it” since it was gender neutral from its external appearance giving passersby no indication of whether it was a he or she.  Mandy generally sat in a pew with her parents and grandparents, but the addition of a new baby made for an even warmer sight.

Mandy and family with babyFollowing the service many photos were snapped of the smiling  four generation family.  An older member quipped that it was refreshing to hear a baby cry (even if it was during the congregational Scripture reading).  He welcomed more of the same as he looked from one side to the other of adults gathered in the sanctuary.

The idea later hit Pastor Chip when he observed the offering and attendance slip prepared by the ushers. It stated the number of people in attendance and just below that number the ushers also added, “Computer Baby”.

“It was like a light that came on” chimed Pastor Chip when interviewed by our ALFN reporter. He had agonized over the slumping church attendance and then began to wonder if he might count the baby as part of the attendance.  After all, it did use the nursery services and it was publicly welcomed during the opening exercise. Then it hit him; why not invite more of the babies to church as a supplement to attendance?

TeacherHe called the local school and spoke to Ms. Frackville, the teacher of the parenting class. She was pleased to allow the babies to be used by the church during the summer vacation. She assumed the church would likewise use them for parenting classes. That summer the church had a sudden spike in attendance of 25, doubling the usual summer attendance. This bolstered Pastor Skip’s self-esteem and he was lauded by his pastor peers for the increase in church growth during the usual summer dog days of  church attendance.

But a looming crisis was on the horizon as the date was approaching for the new school year to begin. The babies needed to be returned.

After a bit of brainstorming Pastor Smith  went online but found that computerized babies were very expensive even if purchased “used”. However in a board meeting Frank Davis recalled a baby doll his sister played with as a child. It had a pull spring that uttered phrases such as, “I love you Mommy”;  “I want a drink of milk”; “Hold me Mommy”.  The board determined that this talking baby had enough human-like qualities  to count as a real baby toward church attendance and the good news was that these doll babies were available in both sexes and less expensive than the computerized models.

The church is now running 275 though admittedly a large number are now in the nursery. Buzz about the church’s growth began to spread in the small community about  Got Faith’s growing attendance so that the adult congregation has expanded as well.

The board did vote down a suggestion by Deacon George Zeal to purchase an entire lot of 1,500 beanie babies he found at clearance price on Ebay. They determined that the beanie babies just weren’t real enough to count toward legitimate attendance.

This prompted a church split with George departing to start his own church in  nearby Beantown which now reports an attendance of 1501. He named the new church,  “The Matthew 19:14  Church”.

Our ALF reporter interviewed several concerning this new innovative church growth method. Charles Harris, a long time professor of Bible, declared, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”

But James Logan of the Emerging Church Network lauded the concept as a creative way to see church growth. He referred to the Great Commission where it states, “Go into all the world” and asked, “What part of ‘all the world’ do you not understand?”

Pastor Chip is now in demand as a church growth specialist and has had the opportunity to speak at several large church growth conferences.

Mr. WonderfulAsked concerning future plans he said they are considering another means of growth; a life-like “Mr. Wonderful” his wife gave him  for Valentine’s Day several years ago. “Mr. Wonderful” is handsome with a big smile (big feet also.) When you press his cloth hand, in his distinguished deep male voice, he utters phrases like, “Honey, take all the time you want.  I don’t mind waiting for you one bit.” Or “You’re perfect JUST the way you are; I wouldn’t change ONE thing.”

Pastor Smith considers how having some Mr. Wonderfuls around might just prompt the men in the church to tend better to their marriages.  And who knows; perhaps taking couples to the next level will include the addition of a few Mrs. Wonderfuls who are known for such thoughtful expressions as, “Here Dear, you take the remote control.  Whatever you choose we’ll watch together.”

At the conclusion of the interview with our ALFN reporter Pastor Chip stated, “These are exciting times at Got Faith. It’s almost like we have a revival.”

Too Much Information: “Second Opinion”

Note: Some readers may find the following true story amusing (one of those stories where you cup your hand over your mouth as you quietly chuckle under your breath) . I witnessed this in a church in North America.

Children in front of churchWe have a children’s sermon, a short message especially geared to the children, although presented to the entire congregation. We call the children up front and various members of our congregation take turns and often use an object lesson to illustrate their point.

An older retired minister in our church volunteered to take a turn. In his late eighties, he is very much loved and esteemed by our small congregation. He and his wife have such an earnest servant’s heart and willingness to serve wherever needed. He had used children’s messages in a previous pastorate so we looked forward to his message.

333He showed the children a card with three 3’s on it (333) and asked what they saw. Next he turned the card so that it appeared to be 3 M’s and shared a short point on “Meandering”. As I recall he then turned it so that it formed 3 E’s, then turned it once again so that it formed 3 W’s, each time suggesting a new meaning and a Scriptural principle.  So far so good.

Then he inexplicably told a joke that his brother had shared with him over the phone and this is where it got very interesting.

Most of us preachers know what it’s like to have an illustrative story or  joke  that we really want to tell and we will try somehow to fit it into a message. We may at times develop a spiritual point that relates to the story so that we can use it. (Not the best sort of sermon prep but I confess to doing it on more than one occasion.) In the case of our daily encouragement ministry, stories from our life often find their way into a message, but that is a different format, similar to a blog.

He proceeded to tell this story to the children and the entire congregation:

His brother had called to tell him he had a prostate exam. During the exam the doctor used two fingers.  His brother said after the exam,  “Doctor, I felt two fingers instead of one. Usually you use one finger.  Why did you use two instead?”   The doctor replied, “I used two just in case you wanted a second opinion.”

Now, for the life of me I’m not sure what he was trying to illustrate that related to his message, perhaps that’s because the TMI illustration overpowered the principle he was trying to teach. I’m afraid the adults will remember the children’s sermon and its illustration much longer than they will remember the adult sermon that day!  I also don’t know whether the parents might have had some questions when they got home.

We have had some funny moments in church but I didn’t think we would ever top the prayer request from early in our ministry but this experience may very well be just as memorable.


Lady discovers her spiritual gift is sending forwarded emails

For many years Mildred Swanson had struggled as she was trying to determine her spiritual gift. Whenever her pastor periodically addressed the topic of discovering and using one’s spiritual gift she felt convicted since she could not identify a specific gift.

However she rejoices in that she has now discovered her spiritual gift; sending email forwards. She collects all the email addresses she can and adds them to her growing email contact list, now numbering in the thousands. She knows very few of them personally, but is certain her emails are a source of blessing and surely people want them.

Several times throughout the day she forwards messages to her growing list of collected addresses, considering her forwards to be uplifting moments in the recipient’s day.

Our ALF reporter, SCW, managed to sit down with her in her modest home in suburban Walla Walla, Washington where she carries on her “ministry” from her home computer. She excitedly told us that she has sent as many as 38 forwards a day and feels she is now reaching millions for Christ as she considers how many of her forwarded messages are in turn forwarded by others ad infinitum.

Her forwarded emails vary but essentially she sends anything that she feels might be of interest to others. She sends inspirational stories, virus warnings and the touching emails she regularly receives from rich widows in Nigeria.

According to our ALF reporter, Ms. Swanson senses a “leading” to forward them.  When asked if she reads the messages prior to sending them, she replied, “O my! I  don’t have time to read all those emails; I’d rather invest my time in forwarding them.” She not only wants to provide opportunities for others to be blessed, but she herself also expects an extra blessing from the chain emails that promise a special blessing if you forward them on.

Our reporter managed to contact Les Longenecker by phone. Les, who is on Mildred’s list stated, “I don’t even know Mildred Swanson and have no idea how she got my email address. Actually after a week of getting her messages I placed her on my spam list so I don’t even see them now, although I guess I’m still on her list. For a week or so before I filtered her, all throughout the day my email would pop up with another “You’ve got mail” and it was from Mildred Swanson!

ALF also interviewed her pastor, Dr. Willard Frankhauser, concerning Mildred’s understanding of spiritual gifts. “Although this [email forwarding] is not listed in the Bible I certainly believe there may be modern gifts that are not specifically mentioned but nevertheless have the essential qualities of spiritual gifts” he responded. When pressed concerning the inevitable frustrations or fury from indisposed recipients of Mildred’s “ministry” he shrugged his shoulders and smilingly demurred: “Mildred is a sweet lady and a long-time member of our church. I am sure she means well and I’m also on her list.  Some of her material is a bit far-out but I expect readers will use discernment and of course there’s always the delete button.”


“Do You See What I See?”

About ten years ago I recall a minister’s Christmas party we had in New England where we were encouraged to share humorous or touching Christmas experiences. The funniest experience and one that many of my male friends can identify with happened this way:

A fellow pastor shared that one year he was leading a Christmas Eve Service.  It was a  solemn part of the service and he was singing, “Do you see what I see?” in his powerful and very earnest baritone voice.  As he was singing he tried to make eye contact with the people but noticed many of them with their heads down and others were trying to cover their uncontrollable smiles.  Some were actually laughing out loud in a quiet sort of way. What was possibly so funny about this serious song during a time of worship?  Inside his heart he was a bit miffed by their disrespect.

After he took his seat in the pew he quickly realized that he had failed to properly close (zip up) up a particular item on his trousers. The question he repeated often throughout the song “Do you see what I see?” seemed to bring recurrent attention to the all too visible problem!

No Quarreling on the Sabbath!

Just about every Thanksgiving I share with a school or church group the history of the pilgrims who came from England to the new world in 1620.  This year I spoke on how the pilgrims acknowledged the Sabbath Day.  

Many rules and regulations were imposed upon them for what they were allowed to do or restricted from doing from sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday evening. Some of these rules I read from the old English which requires readers to listen carefully for the New English equivalent. One rule I mentioned was that married couples weren’t allowed to quarrel on the Sabbath. In fact Bradford recorded one couple being fined 40 shekels for doing so.   After I finished my talk Stephen walked down to the fellowship hall with others who were preparing to enjoy a meal together.

Two men approached him and asked, “What did she mean when she said that ‘married couples weren’t allowed to crawl on the Sabbath?'”  With a twinkle in his eye one of the men said, “I’m pretty sure I know what that would mean but just want to make sure.”  

Well, they approached me next and asked the same thing.  When I clarified the word “crawl” to be “quarrel” they had a good laugh as they realized crawl was not a euphemism for marital relations but in fact I was speaking of a couple who were arguing on Sunday.

However based upon our study “marital relations” were indeed also forbidden on the Sabbath!

Worship Pastor fired for not being “cool” enough

Cht Samuels

Chet Samuels

Farmers Branch, Texas – Two years ago Chet Samuels became the worship and arts pastor at the Farmer’s Branch Outreach Center, a large independent church in the burgeoning Dallas suburbs.  He initially felt at home in his new setting and the church seemed to be receptive to his ministry.

His problems started when he began to open the weekly worship practice with a brief devotional based upon the devotional, “Our Daily Bread.” Some of the worship team felt it was a waste of time and they should read it at home on their own if they chose to do so. Some felt it was “legalistic” that he would even bring it up.

But his real problem surfaced when he began to insert a hymn into the 45 minute worship set. The final straw came when he directed the congregation away from the Powerpoint screen and instructed them to turn in their hymnals.  Many did not even know what he meant and began to pass the hymnals up to the front creating chaos in the church.

On Friday he was dismissed from his position.

Senior pastor Sam Smucker explained, “Hymns are generally regarded as ‘not cool’ and in this extremely competitive Dallas church market we just can’t afford to be identified as anything but “cutting edge cool.” The Living Word Community Church over in Grapevine is just killing us and we have lost a steady stream to them. The last thing we need is a hymn to destroy the church. Furthermore, many of our members complain they just can’t ‘get into worship’ if they sing a hymn. Chet is a nice enough fellow but just doesn’t fit around here. With his gifting he would probably be a better fit in a small town in the panhandle.”

A very candid Chip Hopkins who serves on the FBOC board elaborated, “Chet just wasn’t cool enough. We tried to get him to style his hair and wear a Bluetooth ear device at all times (even when he sleeps.)   We wanted him to dress with an open front shirt (preferably Hawaiian) but he had the gall to periodically wear a tie. That is so uncool!”

Pastor Chet does have an Ipod and Iphone but some have noticed he seems to have trouble using them. Hopkins stated, “He just sort of fumbles with the controls and seems unsure of himself. It sure doesn’t do much to instill confidence in his leadership.”

Chet was disappointed at his dismissal and wondered how it would look on his resume but is seeking direction from God. He feels there just must be some place he can serve although he does recognize he is perceived by many as rather old-fashioned.

Note: To avoid any further confusion the custodial staff collected the remaining hymnals in the FBOC sanctuary and will try to donate them to a homeless shelter or nursing home.