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:
- 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!
- 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 . . ..
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 . . ..
- 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.