14 Things I Seldom Hear in Church

Many of us could write blog posts about surprising things we’ve heard in church. Here, though, are 14 things I’ve seldom heard in church in my 40+ years as a believer:

  1. “I planned to fall morally.” I’ve never met anybody who set out to fall into sin. I have, though, known people who fell. 
  2. “Looking back, I really regret serving God.” I’ve never heard those words from someone who truly gave his or her life to God.
  3. “I got married with the intent of getting divorced.” Nobody I know has walked the marriage aisle assuming he or she would someday end the marriage. I do know many, however, who still got divorced.
  4. “I love singing songs I don’t know.” Regardless of one’s preferred worship style, I’ve not met many people who enjoy singing new hymns or choruses. Most of us prefer to worship with familiarity.
  5. “We love you enough to remove you from membership.” I’ve heard this one occasionally, but likely not enough if congregations are truly being New Testament churches.  
  6. “We can start small group early since everyone’s here on time.” It’s funny, you know – churches are often deeply concerned about ending on time, but they don’t worry much about starting on time.
  7. “I don’t mind it when your boring preaching is also long.” I’m sure you hear two points here. I’ve never heard anyone appreciate boring preaching, and I’ve certainly never heard anyone affirm long boring preaching.
  8. “I hope we send out more people than we keep here.” Some younger leaders are beginning to speak this language, but not many.
  9. “I want my pastor to speak more about money.” If anyone says this, it’s usually the church treasurer….
  10. “I’m praying that the Lord will call my children and grandchildren to the mission field.” It’s one thing to dedicate a baby to the Lord when he’s in your arms; it’s another matter to let him go when he’s grown up.
  11. “To free up room for guests, I’ll sit on the front row.” Many people would rather stand than sit in the front.
  12. “I pray regularly that the enemy will not win in the lives of our pastors.” Too many church members recognize the reality of spiritual warfare in their pastors’ lives only after a pastor has fallen.  
  13. “I grieve when we don’t see people saved through our church’s ministry.” We may rejoice when people do get saved, but we don’t match our rejoicing with grief when nobody’s getting saved.
  14. “I really don’t like baptisms.” I don’t know anybody who doesn’t get excited (even a little) when a new believer illustrates his or her faith by baptism.

What would you add to this list?

2 Comments

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Why don’t people sit in the front row? James White, the Methodist liturologist, studied how where we sit in the sanctuary affects how we participate in the front. He identified a specific zone in the front of the church where close proximity to the sanctuary’s liturgical centers encouraged congregational participation. One of the results of his study and the studies of others was that sanctuaries were redesigned so that congregations sat closer to the liturgical centers and could see each others’ faces. But in churches where the band does the singing and the praying and the pastor the preaching and the only thing the congregation does is put money in the plate, the space in the front is seen in a different light. People sitting there feel conspicuous. It is like sitting in front of the classroom, They are also too close to the speakers and in churches were the sound team cranks up the volume of the band, this is not a desirable place to sit. It can cause damage to people’s eardrums. I sit in the front of the sanctuary of the church which I attend. I go to a service in which there is a relatively high level of congregational participation . I have served as service leader on and off over the years and I am in the habit of modeling for other congregants active participation in the service. In a church I used to attend, I sat in the back and eventually in the lobby. The volume of the band was far too loud and cause pain in my ears. There was not much to do in the service except put money in the plate when they passed it. The songs were to a large extent performance music and if one sang along with the band, one could not hear oneself or other members of the congregation singing due to the loudness of the band. If we really want people to sit in the front, we need to give them things to do in the service and rope off the seating in the back of the sanctuary and only open up that seating after the front has filled up. We also need to turn down the volume of the band and use more songs that people can easily learn and sing. In other words, we need to give the worship back to the congregation.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    “… how where we sit in the sanctuary affects how we participate in the front” should read “… how where we sit in the sanctuary affects how we participate in the service.” I proof read but I still miss errors like this one. I may not detect them until hours after I posted a comment.

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