13 signs your sermon isn’t going well

I posted this before, but many of my new readers haven’t seen this, and it fits with the first law of blogging: humor always attracts more hits than serious. So, in a shameless attempt to boost my blog traffic for one day, here is a “Top Ten List” I created for our seminary banquet a few years ago (I enlarged it to 13 so every member of the faculty could read one).

13.  Your associate pastor is warming up in the bullpen.

12.  The praise band begins playing you off the stage.

11.  When asked to read from the King James Version, you involuntarily blush every time you say the word “ass.”

10.  The congregation is filling in the blanks of your outline before you get there.

 9.  You think the lyrics to a bluegrass song are really connecting with your audience.

 8.  When you pause for dramatic effect, several people giggle.

 7.  Your cell phone starts ringing, and you answer it.

 6.  The person signing for the deaf just pulled on mittens.

 5.  When the children are dismissed to junior church, most of their parents go, too.

 4.  Your sermon took shape over a glass of wine and volume three of Left Behind.

 3.  Your interpreter just rolled his eyes and put your last statement in air quotes.

 2. Desperate mothers are pinching their babies.

 1.  The ushers are handing out refunds.






29 responses to “13 signs your sermon isn’t going well”

  1. My brain was entrenched in study of Romans 7. I took a break, read this post (laughed) and feel re-energized!

  2. Chuck

    Those are funny. I may have been guilty of number 10. At one church I would regularly hear/see ladies cutting their fingernails. At that same church 3 or 4 digital watch alarms would go off, within seconds of each other right around 11:55 (get me out-a-here the roast is burning). People used to play pencil and paper games like tic-tac-toe and capture the squares. Most have graduated to handheld video games, texting, etc… Shut down your church’s Wi-Fi or password protect it. As you look out at the congregation, not all heads staring intently downward are studying the Bible passage you just referenced. A guy staring down, with one hand to the side of his head, is hiding an ear bud. The best one I’ve ever seen was at a church I visited. It was a lady sitting in the front row knitting on a sweater or something (no way she was going to finish it within a 20 minute sermon). That church had a nightclub quality rock band. At the end of the service an elder went up to dismiss with prayer, and his starting line was ”Lord we know you are a God who likes to party…..”. Laugh, then cry.

  3. I support shameless blogging.

    I usually start writing my shopping list on the bulletin.

  4. ” 4. Your sermon took shape over a glass of wine and volume three of Left Behind.”


  5. tim

    How about, “Signs start showing up in the back of the church that say, ‘Give us Barabbas!’”

  6. thesouldoctor

    Great stuff. How about, this, “You call your teenager over hand him they keys and say, “Start the car, I am going to make a quick get-away.”

  7. […] Posted by Don Bryant on June 25, 2011 from Mike Wittmer […]

  8. Your elders are following their children’s example of coloring every “O” in the bulletin.

  9. Kat

    good job! LOL

  10. Your wife is pointing at her watch in a less-discreet-than-she-thinks way.

  11. Pat Pope

    I’ve actually done #10. Those outlines are usually so predictable and for wordsmiths like myself those outlines are seen more as a game than as a tool to help remember portions of the sermon.

  12. I’ve actually seen number 7 happen. The preacher then had everyone in the congregation say hello to person on the other end.

  13. David

    You haven’t even mentioned “more than one person asleep” (the 99-year-old lady is allowed to!)

  14. I like numbers 6, 2 and 1

  15. […] Ministry: Signs Your Sermon Isn’t Going Well […]

  16. #11 has only happened to me maybe five or six times. Maybe 🙂 Great list

  17. […] 13 Signs Your Sermon Isn’t Going Well – Good laugh for all the pastors out there. […]

  18. Chris I used to do that with my bulletin and then I would circle every word!

  19. Marc

    #2. Your sermons contains no exegesis, but is built from a clever backronym.
    #1. There is no Christ in your sermon.

  20. Here in Kentucky, lyrics to bluegrass songs probably DO connect with many in the congregation.

  21. […] a little humor at my expense. How do I know the sermon isn’t going well? Believe me, I […]

  22. […] Leave a Comment Posted by Michael Acidri on July 6, 2011 Couldn’t help chuckling over this list by Mike […]

  23. #12 – just like the oscars but you don’t get a trophy

  24. Bonnie

    Funny stuff. Always good to have some humor in the mix. Blessings….

  25. […] the rest of this funny list at Don’t Stop Believing, and pastor; pay close attention, […]

  26. Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download
    it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple
    tweeks would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Bless you

  27. Osetoba Olusola

    hmmmmmm. I will be watchful

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