In one way or another, we all have targets painted on us. Whether it be for criticism or practical jokes, at some point someone is going to grab a handful of darts and start a game.
Pastors have it the worst. They get up every week and tell people how to be like Jesus and are expected to practice what they preach, even if we would never expect that of ourselves. They become the target of our own feelings of insecurities, failures, and judgementalism. After all, it's easier to blame the pastor.
One tool people will use to throw darts at the pastor is criticizing the sermon. And so, to help all you pastors out there, I've compiled a list of 5 things you should never say from the pulpit, all of which I have heard said.
1. If you can't see because the overhead light that illuminates your notes is not on, do NOT say, "Can I get a light?" Someone might bring you a cigarette and a lighter and that could seriously cause some darts to start flying after church!
2. Unintentional potty jokes. DON'T double the word, "do" as in, "We don't do bad things, but we DO do good things." The "do do" part will make all the children make that laugh in the back of their throat. This will make me laugh, too because I just can't resist. This goes hand-in-hand with putting a dramatic pause right after an enunciated, "BUT..." Your dramatic pause will be wasted. Try, "However..." instead.
3. I'm not sure I should mention this one, so I'll try to put it as lightly as I can. Remember that you are NOT the microphone, thus you should be careful how you ask the microphone to be turned on. Read that carefully a few times.
4. Any reference to an rated-R movie you've seen. Yes, half of the congregation has seen it, but you'll be the only one who's the hypocrite!
5. And finally...and this one actually came from one of my junior high students...never, ever from the pulpit mention your wife's age!
My father-in-law has said some pretty funny things from the pulpit. I'd love to compile a bigger list, so bring it on! Let's hear from you!