Least favorite things overheard in church…


We don’t want to set a precedent. I’m pretty sure that means, we don’t ever want to do anything different. Ever. Because doesn’t everything you do set a precedent? And why are we so afraid of precedents anyways? They’re not, like, legally binding in our churches.

We don’t have the money. Sometimes it’s true. But this gets dicey when it’s the answer to every idea. My response is usually, “We don’t have the money in the bank, but we have it in the pews.” My thought is, as long as you have people who are willing to show up on Sunday morning, and if they’re willing to support the idea, then the church will have the money.

Another weird thing about this: when a church pulls off a really big project, something they never thought they’d have the money for, there’s usually a general thrill. And, it’s counter-intuitive, but there’s often an increase in budgetary giving the next year.

Think “outside of the box.” I love the idea. It’s just time to think outside of that particular cliché. Anyone got a new one?

We’ve tried that before. Yeah. I know. We’ve all heard that before too.

What does she do? This is difficult when it’s asked about a visitor, and it’s not said in a way that conveys, “I’m interested in her life.” Instead it’s more like, “Is she good enough to be here?” or “Is she going to be able to contribute to our budget?” For some really odd reason, many churches have not figured out that they’re not the social club that everyone’s dying to get into.

Somebody stole the tablecloths. Okay. Let’s get something straight. Right here and now. There is no black market economy for ten-year-old church tablecloths, or dishtowels for that matter. If they’re missing, then probably some good-hearted soul took them home to wash them, and they got lost. Actually…chances are, the towels probably in my laundry pile somewhere….

And my least of the least favorite?

They don’t even know what it means to be Presbyterian! Right. In fact, they couldn’t spell it if their life depended upon it. A full 18 percent of college students have never stepped foot in a church before. Out of adults from the age of twenty-one through forty-five, 45 percent report that they have attended a religious service only once or less in the last year. Things have changed. We can’t just accept those who are fully catechized into our denominations. And why did we ever have that attitude?

So, it’s your turn to rant. What’s the least favorite thing you’ve overheard in church?

the photo’s by quaint handmade

13 thoughts on “Least favorite things overheard in church…

  1. I banned “because we have always done it that way” at my last church.

    Every time I tried to nudge a change – “we can’t have the annual youth fundraiser because the sanctuary is being rebuilt, let’s think of something different” – I was met with my least favorite phrase. I put an end to it’s use and it really opened things up for everyone.

    I was sure to keep traditions, but was also sure to question the reasons behind some things that were incredibly trivial.

  2. I love this list too.

    I would add:

    “That’s politics. We can’t talk about that.” I’m not sure when poverty, homelessness and hunger became political issues. There are probably others I could add to that.

    “She looks as old as the children.” This is said about me almost every Sunday. I’ll be your minister. Yup. That’s right.

  3. How about “You just don’t understand how things are done around here.” The assumption is that they are functioning is some way that is completely different from every other homogenous church in the world.

  4. How about these…

    “What’s this world coming to?” “The kids these days are so disrespectful” “If we want to get families in this church we gotta get the kids coming. Kids will bring their parents.” The same lady who used the last quote said to me when I tried to offer a different point of view, “I don’t care what people say today, that’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it is!” I mean, what about all those people who don’t have kids, never had kids, or whose kids are grown and gone, are they going to come when we offer children programs?

  5. Unfortuately, as I get older, I am the one who is parroting my least favorite phrases. And the one I hate hearing myself say the most is, “That won’t work. I tried it.”

    Many years ago, two young women came to me wanting to know how to do a speghetti dinner so they could go on a missions trip. The first thing out of my mouth was “That won’t work. I’ve tried it.”

    They insisted and I told them how to do a spheghetti dinner. Because they wouldn’t listen and did their stupid speghetti dinner anyway, they raised enough money to go on their missions trip.

    You would think I would learn but I still hear those dreaded words coming from my own mouth, “That won’t work. I’ve tried it.”

  6. I refuse to say “I think someone should” anymore, unless I’m willing to be the one to spearhead it. I said “I think someone should upgrade our website and put some time into making it great.” I gladly took that role upon myself.

    As an Elder I hear from folks all the time “I think somoene should…” and I ask when they would be available to help get things going.

    Worse that that is “I think someone should _____, but I am not that person! I have too much going on right now.” Don’t we all?

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