8 Crazy Things I Never Thought I’d Do as a Pastor

If you’re a pastor, you know we could write books about ministry experiences that would almost seem to be fiction. As I begin preparing to teach a class on pastoral ministry in the fall through Southeastern Seminary, I’ve been thinking today about some of my crazy pastoral experiences I’m not sure my students would believe:

  1. Singing hymns in a cistern. We needed to clean out the church cistern a bit, and my worship leader and I took on the task. When we heard the acoustics in the cistern, we broke out in song. I have no idea what it sounded like above the ground, but it sure sounded cool underground!
  2. Chopping off the head of a chicken. My church members knew I love fried chicken, so they planned that meal for Sunday afternoon. What they didn’t tell me was that I had to catch the chicken, cut off its head, and help prepare the lunch. Let’s just say that my lack of experience didn’t help the chicken any . . ..
  3. Going with my deacons to a professional wrestling match. We’d all grown up watching this stuff (long before it turned raunchy), and some of our heroes were coming to town. If you want to see a different side of deacons, watch them razz wrestling villains!
  4. Playing the kazoo with the children’s choir. Actually, I didn’t know I was going to do it until my music leader handed me the “instrument” just before the kids started singing in the service. My job was to play it whenever he pointed at me during the song. I think I was good.
  5. Going on several blind dates as a single pastor. Church members tried to set me up with potential spouses, and I felt obligated to check out their options. I could tell several stories, but suffice to say that one of those matches actually did work: Pam and I were fixed up by two church secretaries!
  6. Driving a hearse. I was interim pastor in Kentucky, and I had ridden to the cemetery with the funeral director. To my great surprise, he said to me at the end of the graveside service, “Brother Chuck, you need to drive the car back to the home. I have some things to do here.” I did it, but I don’t think I parked the car very well when we got to the funeral home.
  7. Preaching in overalls, boots, and a cowboy hat. That’s not really who I am, but it was the annual, outdoor, “down home” homecoming service for a church I loved. I think my attire may have distracted people from hearing my message . . ..
  8. Playing “Steve Urkel” of Family Matters in a youth skit. The teens were raising funds for a mission trip, and they sponsored a dinner and variety show. My role was to be the nerd with hitched up pants, oversized glasses, and a nasally-sounding voice. I don’t remember for sure, but I fear I actually fit the role back then.

Crazy stuff. And, you know what? I wouldn’t trade these experiences with God’s people.

Let’s have some fun today, pastors. Tell us what things you’ve done that you never thought you’d do. 


  • Mike Young says:

    Pastor Chuck, one of my favorite memories of your time with us at Parkway was the fact that you went to the ice rink and played ‘broom hockey’ with the youth. I didn’t attend, but my oldest son was there. Your willingness to get on the ice and mix it up with the students left an impression on him and many others. I fear you paid a price with some soreness in the following days. But, your bruises endeared Pastor Chuck to many. Thanks for being willing to do crazy things for Kingdom advancement!

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Your assessment of my soreness is correct. As I recall, Pam had to help me out of the car the next day! I would do it again, though.

  • I have said, You must be prepared to do anything that no-one else wants to do. And it works until the Lord provides someone who sees how much you love what you get to do.
    I have had the privilege of mowing 20 acres of grass at our retreat center. I was allowed to get really dirty doing Disaster Relief cleanup work. And I have been allowed to witness to school kids in El Salvador. Each challenge had its unique reward. thanks Chuck

  • Billy Chidester says:

    I never imagined kissing a pig (which I did at the end of VBS when the kids reached their giving goal for missions). This was especially difficult here in Razorback country as a UGA Dawgs fan.
    I never imagined picking up a scared woman on the side of the road with her angry boyfriend nude running back to the trailer (long story!).

  • Steve Miller says:

    I never imagined I would need to saw a piece of a tractor tire off so a kid could get his head unstuck.

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