Over my years of ministry, I’ve been surprised by things that church people have noted about me (especially during preaching) and pointed out. I write about them today not because I was ultimately offended, but because I’m probably a better gospel minister today in some ways because these folks were so honest with me. Here are some of those things:
- My shoes needed polishing. Like, desperately so. I’m not sure I had ever polished my Sunday shoes until a deacon I deeply respected (and a former military guy) pointed out how bad they looked.
- I wasn’t wearing my wedding band. I had taken it off for some reason prior to church that Sunday, and I inadvertently left the house without it. In a church with more than 1000 attenders, one wife in the room noted from her screen view that I was not wearing the band. I’ve never forgotten it since then.
- My shirt needed ironing. To be honest, I hadn’t ironed my shirts any more than I had shined my shoes. I didn’t realize how wrinkled they were until I started ironing them.
- I had preached the text before. It wasn’t the same sermon, but it was the same text. A church member (more than one, actually, I would learn later) noted in her Bible every Sunday what text I preached. Over the years, I began pointing out when I knew I had preached the same text in a church.
- It was always a good thing to keep breath mints in my pocket. I was offended at first when this church member talked to me, but I grew to understand how much he loved me as his pastor. He was just being honest.
- I talked too fast when preaching. This was early in my ministry, and any pause in my words felt like an eternity. I had not yet learned that strategic pauses can, in fact, be helpful.
- You’re not supposed to button the third button on a three-button suitcoat. I admit this was a long time ago (like, when such a suitcoat was in style…). You can tell from this post, though, that I still remember this rule.
- I used the word “irregardless” a lot. I prided myself on my use of the English language, but I also loved this word – a word that is, in fact, not the best English. I just didn’t know about that problem at the time.
Preachers, what surprising things have others pointed out about you?