Crazy things I’ve seen … in Church!

The other day we had so much fun talking about things we remember about “church when we were kids.” I thought it’d be fun to share some stories about crazy things we’ve seen in church. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things …. some funny, some sad and some down right jaw-dropping. Here are just a few things I’ve seen that have been a little on the crazy side….

  • During a sermon I was preaching, I saw our youth minister get up, go to the back (unseen by others) and double over in pain. For the next 3 minutes he paced back and forth stopping regularly to double over in pain. As I kept preaching, I kept thinking, “Surely someone is going to see this guy and help him.” It was obvious something was wrong, and yes, I probably should have stopped and checked on him, but I was right in the middle of making a great point. (By the way, after a trip to the ER, he was fine … just bad indigestion.)
  • I’ve witnessed a young man get so nervous when he was about to lead the prayer, that he literally froze up. Someone finally went up and rescued him.
  • Once during a funeral I attended, the preacher asked for the deacons to bring a crying, out-of-control woman to the front. As they grabbed her from her pew and carried her to the front, she cried and screamed louder. They placed her in front of the coffin, which the preacher opened and then he told her, “Look at him. Look at him. He’s dead and he ain’t a coming back.” They then took her back to her seat. I was glad I wasn’t crying and that I was hiding on the back pew.
  • Once during a revival for a small country church, I noticed that in the baptistry they had a large mouse trap instead of water. On the second night during my sermon, I clearly heard the trap pop shut and a rat start flopping, flailing, screeching and dying for the next 20 minutes.
  • Again while I was preaching elsewhere, I once saw a man on the front row take off his socks and clip his toenails during my lesson.
  • One Sunday morning as a young teenager, I was entertaining everyone around me during the sermon. I then looked up and saw the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life… my mom looking very angry, standing at the end of the pew and waving for me to come with her. It was the longest walk of my life as I had to climb over all my friends to finally get to where my mom was standing. We walked to the back of the auditorium as everyone watched. I remember someone closing the doors and… well… that’s all I remember. I think I was knocked unconscious from all the blood loss.
  • I did not see this, but I have to share my friend’s story. He was doing a gospel meeting when during the invitation a woman came down and confessed to adultery. She then stood and pointed out the man in audience, who was sitting with his family, that she’d committed adultery with and said, “He needs to get down here too. He’s as guilty as I am.” Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t there that morning.
  • Someone said this had to be in their funniest moments. Ha, real funny! And yes, he’s still grounded. :)

I can’t wait to ask this question … What are some crazy things you have seen take place in a church building?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Trey Morgan tagged this post with: , Read 1182 articles by
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  1. Su says:

    My sister has one of those… my dad was teaching the jr. high when she was in the class, and was using a family story as an illustration… but it had never happened. So, my sister took one for the team & called him on it. :) I’m pretty sure she still has to go straight to her room with no TV every time she goes home. (Dad even called me for confirmation afterwards & I assured him that she was correct– but it did not help her cause at all.)

  2. Greg England says:

    You’ve had some fascinating experiences! Gave me a good laugh about the guy clipping his toenails and the rat dying for 20 minutes.

    One of my last series at Long Beach was preaching through Romans. I don’t remember where I was in Romans, but I was making an illustration about riding a horse with my uncle and the horse nearly throwing me off. My uncle told me to “spur the horse,” and I replied, “Spur the horse? Screw the horse … I’m going back to the house.” Well, I didn’t mean to use that phrase, but people all through the church that morning were looking at each other and asking, “Did I hear the preacher say, ‘Screw that horse?’ ” We’ve had a lot of laughs over that one. Gotta admit, though, my alliteration was good.

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Greg … too funny. I can see how that would happen. Slip up are easy to do. I slipped recently and used a phrase that the older generation would have been uncomfortable with, had I not quickly covered my tracks.

  3. J Prude says:

    I grew up in a VERY small country church. One hot Sunday morning my dad was making announcements and got his “ornery” grin on, but no one knew why. About that time a cow who had come by to check things out through the open door “mooed” really loud. Thought we were going to have to give one of our more excitable sisters CPR!
    Another time after “Dinner on the Ground” one of the little ladies was coming back from the outhouse out back when my aunt opened the door to throw out the leftover tea-right in the other ladies face. Don’t know which of them was the most shocked!

  4. Sarah S. says:

    Saw a precious little girl — maybe 4 — try to join her parents who had gone up front to sit with someone who had gone forward. Problem was, the straps to her jumper had slipped off her shoulders while she was sitting down. About 3 steps into the aisle, her jumper fell slap off. That little girl is probably 25 now — and it’s still almost all I remember about her.

    At a VERY emotional funeral for a 24 year old, the funeral home was allowing the wheelchairs to go first through the viewing because there wasn’t room for 2 in the aisle. Well, one of the wheelchair occupant’s attendant got impatient and there was a wheelchair crash right in front of me.

    Both of these events left my sides aching trying to contain my church-laughing that was completely inappropriate at the time.

  5. Trey,

    You have the craziest stories. Shame I can’t think of anything as good.

    One odd church situation that’s more of an unexplainable custom than a one-off event is a little rural congregation in Missouri that has its announcements towards the beginning of the service, and right after everyone sings “Happy Birthday.” They aren’t singing to anyone in particular and do it whether or not any birthdays were mentioned in the announcements.

    Once at that same church I preached and noticed a man sleeping through the entire sermon. As people were leaving he shook my hand and said “real good sermon.” Really?

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Adam … I’ve had a few of those “sleepers.” Maybe what made it good to him was that he got a 25 minute nap. :)

    • Greg England says:

      Adam: I’ve had people do that with me as well, and I would always ask them, “Which part of the sermon meant the most to you?” A few of them actually tried to make up something. One guy would tell me, “None of your sermons mean anything to me.” He was a good friend.

  6. Sarah S. says:

    P.S. — the toenail clipping guy needs some manners lessons…. that is GROSS! And, occasionally, I hear it in my church, but the auditorium is too big to figure out who it is…

    • Trey Morgan says:

      BTW: if it makes you feel any better … the toenail guy was a few cards short a full deck.

      • Sarah S. says:

        That helps me extend a little more grace — but I would check his pockets for clippers in the future! :-)

        • Katherine says:

          Ok, I also have a similar story…

          One time in high school, I think it was a Wednesday or Sunday night because the auditorium was not very full…but we were sitting as youth group up front and began to hear what sounded like nail clippers which seriously echoed throughout the large, mostly empty auditorium.

          We started looking around to see where the noise was coming from, and noticed it was coming from the back of the church…where there was a man, sitting alone…clipping his toenails. Oh, did I mention he was an elder?!

          I’ll never forget it. Oh, the memories…;)

  7. Paula says:

    If it makes you feel any better, when I was a teen and sitting on the back row with all the bad kids (that would be the elder’s and deacon’s kids ;), my grandfather who was the preacher stopped preaching and said, “My mother always told me that it was rude to talk while other people were talking so I’m going to stop talking and wait for the people on the back row to finish.” The whole congregation turned and looked at us.
    I wanted to die :)

  8. Peter P says:

    I thankfully didn’t witness this but I heard a story of a guy at a men’s retreat who really got into the swing of opening up and sharing the real truth about what was going on in his life….

    The problem was, all the men in his church were there and his confession was:

    “I’ve been having lustful thoughts about one of the married women in my church.”

    The rest of the men learned nothing else that weekend because every one of them spent all his time wondering if it was his wife this guy was thinking lustful thoughts about.


  9. Rob A. says:

    We had a clown show up for one Sunday morning worship. Funny costume, big feet, face paint – the whole nine yards.

    She told me she had been told by the church down the street she would be welcome with us. I hope that was a positive comment, but not really sure.

    She signed a card as “Raggedy Butterfly,” left before the sermon was over and I never saw her again … at least as far as I know!

    • Trey Morgan says:

      Rob … that wins the award for the oddest thing to this point. A clown? A real clown?

      • Jenn says:

        Seriously, I think I know that clown. There is one who travels with our denomination’s revival group and uses that name, and she spends the whole week in her clown costume. She travels all over the country between revivals. She is a very nice lady, and is great with the kids. (I’m thinking there can’t be that many traveling church clowns named Butterfly out there!)

        • Trey Morgan says:

          I think I’d fall out of the pew if a clown walked in our services for worship. I can imagine some kids wanting to go see her and others crying in fear.

  10. Duane Scott says:

    “He’s as guilty as I am!”

    Can’t. quit. laughing!

  11. Michael says:

    I filled in as a supply pastor not too long ago. In the same message a guy got up and was throwing up in the restroom. (small church so we all could hear him)

    Another guy turned sideways in the pew and started reading the paper.

    It was way awkward, but funny to think about now.

  12. Wendy says:

    At my previous church, one of the guys (yes, guys) knitted a very colourful stripy sweater during the sermon for a few weeks.

  13. Maggie Beth says:

    I can only think of 3 (Surprising, since I’ve had YEARS of ‘churchin’)

    (1) Our pastor “DROPPED” a woman during baptism, she fell into the safety glass, sloshing the back row of the choir. Really she “panicked”. The pastor had her, and was on the “upward swing” of the baptism, and she literally “flipped” to her left trying to get up (she grabbed the GLASS!). The best part was how well the WHOLE congregation handled it ~ ONE LONG, LOUD, DEEP GASP! Then the pastor led, “And all the people said, “Amen”…..He was probably thinking, “Thank God!” or “Whew!!”

    (2) One of our deacons came forward one Sunday and took the mike from the pastor — he proceeded to announce to an uncomfortable congregation, that Christ would be returning that week. And that if Christ did not return he (the deacon) was to go on the roof of our church and jump off ~ where God would give hm wings to fly safely to the ground. I was 12 ~ that was a long week! (PS) NEVER Give up the mike!!

    (3) MY FAVORITE! I grew up in a seriously Baptist church — as 89 rolled into 90 — our pastor did a sermon series on “our last decade”. He felt that Christ would return by mid-90’s (It is 2010, right?) Anyway, one night he was in the ‘zone’ — he was going on and on about all that would take place prior to Christ’s return ~ I was terrified!! And before I knew it, my 20 yr old-self fainted, right under the pew. You won’t find me in Beth Moore’s Revelation Study! (SMILE!)

    For me, Mr. Fancy Pants!, never forget there are tender souls who are easily frightened ~ (and these souls literally SOAK up what you are saying) ~ then they go home and lay in bed having anxiety attacks!! (LOL!!) AAAAHHH, Satan will use whatever he can……

    Thanks for the memories (I think………..)

  14. brian says:

    oh I forgot, “never give up the mike reminded me” which is great advice

    we had a guy propose during the closing announcements. awkward, really felt she wouldn’t have said yes if she wasn’t on the spot. they didn’t get married but did have a kid.

    also had a lady have a seizure while I was preaching, I stopped, we prayed, and after she left in the ambulance, I finished my sermon

  15. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m going to narrow it down to 1 thing:

    1. I went to the funeral of a college student’s father. I did not know his family. He was a gifted soccer player, was met through the college ministry, studied the bible and became a Christian. He & his father (who was good @ soccer) were playing soccer together when his father had a heart attack and died. I, along with some others from our church, went to the funeral to encourage the student. Everything was going nicely. Then, one lady stood up and said she had a song on her heart she needed to sing. She said something like, I’m not a singer now…so I’m gonna need everybody to help me. I could tell from her voice, she was not a “talker” either. She said I’ll sing the first verse then you can catch on. She started singing. NO ONE knew the song. No music to drown her out. I started laughing. The more she sang, the more I laughed. The louder she got, the harder I laughed. I put my head down. My shoulders were going up & down. People started to notice and come over to comfort me. Tears were coming down my face. Tissues were given to me. People were holding my hands. The song went on & on. Afterwards, of course, people wanted to know how well I knew the deceased. Especially his family. I did not know him. Never seen him. Couldn’t even pronounce his name. I was embarrassed to tell our minister & his wife and other church friends that I was laughing.

    Lesson: Preachers, don’t let people sing from their hearts :-/

  16. Jenn says:

    I was in church once when a layperson was supposed to give the sermon. (Not my current church) Apparently, something upset him right before the time came to speak. He stood and said something (I can’t remember exactly what) about knowing how to take a hint about when to shut up. So he did. He sat by the pulpit in silence, and so did the congregation, for the full 20 minutes slotted for the sermon. Then we sang a final hymn and went home.

  17. George Morgan says:

    Here in Tulia we had a songleader ,James Sturgess,beautiful voice ,good leaderand his youngest son,Timmy,is about 6 yrs. at the time.At the end of Sunday nights sermon James led the invitation song.Timmy was asleep next to the aisle and was awakened by everyone standing.He stood but his left leg was asleep(numb)and he fell flat into the aisle then managed to get partly up and fell again.James got so tickled he finally had to laugh outloud and just stopped the song.
    You may want to censor this but it was so funny.At an elders and deacons retreat one deacon was commenting on our black congregrations preacher(Tom Williams)and said he is the kind of guy who always calls a spade a spade.Got some more but this is enough for now.Shalom

  18. Tim Jacobs says:

    As a high school kid, I was sitting next to a “bus” kid who had not had much sleep lately. Probably had a horrible home life. He fell asleep sitting up during a Wednesday night devo. He then fell over in the pew and started snoring. Me and the other boys were uncontrollably laughing and garnering more attention than we needed. The sleeper/snorer the rolled off the pew on to the wood floor. KA THUMP! We are crying we are so tickled. He rolls down hill about 2 rows startling those poor folks. He then crawls out to the carpeted aisle, curls up in the fetal position and cranks up the snoring. Mom had my ear in a death grip by this point. I’ll never forget it.

  19. JMF says:

    WARNING: Most of my humorous things took place when I was younger. And I am a guy. So I think “guy” things are funny.

    1) I grew up in a radically conservative CFTF church of about 40 souls. One family had an adopted son that was quite jovial and very large…but mentally slow. He was about twice the size of his brothers–and he would always pick on them and do disgusting things to them. This is a telling of the most disgusting thing.

    We sat in a class around a round table…the large boy in question (at 14 was about 6’2″ 300#) was sitting next to his brother. The large boy had horrendous dandruff. So during class, he took one of the red stock bibles and sit it on the table in front of him. He proceeded to rapidly scratch and agitate his head until he’d covered the entire top of the red bible with a white coating of dandruff. Tons of it. It was so sick. Then, he slowly picked up the bible, held it in front of his face as he rotated towards his brother, and blew as hard as could, covering his brother with the dandruff.

    2) One time, we were trying out preachers. My cousin (about 12 at the time) was serving on the LS on a Sunday night. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Once done, the try-out preacher got back up and lambasted my cousin for wearing shorts and accused our church of being liberal for allowing that to happen.

    3) I’ve been witness to a “I’ve gone to the person, I’ve gone to the person with two witnesses, and I am here to bring it before the church” throw-down.

    4) (friend’s story). Guy is a first-timer on the LS. Accidently leads the “fruit” prayer instead of the “bread’ prayer. As they begin to disburse, a sound brother in the congregation stood up and told them that they needed to re-rack and start again and say the correct prayer. I know there are some legendary Pharisaical COC call-downs out there, but this is at the top of the stack.

    5) (Same friends story). He went home with a friend during college and went to his church. Another student from our school (Lipscomb) went there. This student was giving the Sunday sermon. During the sermon, the kid started yelling, “You know what?! I’m tired of keeping this lie inside of me! You guys all think that I am the perfect kid and that I am doing really well up there at Lipscomb….well, I’m not!! I’m constantly on my computer looking at pornography and masterbating!! …..etc”

    This, to my knowledge, is all I have of the story. My friend said that upon the confession, they were absolutely frozen in discomfort and forget whatever else transpired. Said it was horribly uncomfortable.

    The rest of the humorous stories that I can recall all involve flatulence, which, for a young boy surrounded by friends, is simply impossible to ignore and not laugh at. Even now as a 33yr old boy, I’m not sure that I’ve gained any self-control in that regard. Church-laughing, once started, is still nearly impossible to control.

    I actually had to escort myself out of services a few months ago…our preacher was leading singing, and at best, he is an average singer. Towards the end of one of the songs, he upped the last few words by an octave (surely, he’d heard a good song leader do this). For him, it was not as successful. He immediately looked like a deer in the headlights, sheepishly laughed, and looked over at his family who greatly embarrassed. Sadly, I never was able to regain control and I just ended up leaving services all together. I might be a man in age, but I am not a man. I know this much.

  20. Marlene says:

    First let me say I haven’t laughed this hard in ages. Hope I can write our story through the tears.
    My husband is a pastor. Once during the prayer request time a guy in the choir stood up and said “I have a prayer request, last night I had a dream that I was being chased by an elephant. It occurred to me that he was going to kill me and then I realized that if I went down the basement steps he couldn’t follow me” then he sat down. My husband prayed for people who are tormented by their dreams.

  21. Bob A. says:

    Rob A. was too young at the time to remember – he was just a toddler – but one evening after church one of the deacons was playing “peep-eye” with him. They were hiding from each other around a corner in the hall and jumping out at each other. It was the deacons turn and in addition to jumping out at him, he thought he would also grab him and wrap him in his arms. Of course, it was not Rob he locked his arms around, but the knees one of the matrons of the congregation. She simply looked down at the deacon and said, “Good to see you too, Bill.”

  22. Lavica says:

    Trey, the second year at Sunset, we lived at Ropesviille and Lanny preached there. Steven was potty training at the time. He decided, in the middle of the sermon one Sunday morning, that he wanted to show dad he had his “big boy pants” on. So he got out in the aisle and turned around and started to drop his pants (the picture is in the back you see) so dad could see the superhero picture. The funniest thing about this is that while I got him back into the pew before underwear was exposed, Steve, to this day thinks he got them down. It is one of his most vivid childhood memories.

  23. Jojo Agot says:

    When I was in Bible school, students were to preach on midweek services for practice. Our preacher for the week forgot to zip his pants and those of us who were in front were so alarmed that we didn’t know what to do. As the congregation closed their eyes for the opening prayer, one of the teachers came up the podium, stood right in front of the student- preacher (he was blocking the view from the audience) and took it upon himself to close his zipper.

  24. Weldon Melton says:

    Related to me by a past preacher. The family requested their fathers favorite song be sung at the graveside. Karl thought Silver Bells was a nice song but strange to sing at graveside. After the family said nice service but why Silver Bells? Karl said you requested it. Oh we meant “Don’t you hear the bells a ringing”.

  25. Marlene says:

    Ok, 2 more for my pastor husband:

    1.) My husband was requested to play a recording of Elvis singing sacred music at a funeral.

    2.) On a Sunday that followed Christmas my husband ask the children during the children’s time what they got for Christmas. One said “pj’s”. My husband said “yes, I got some too” at which point our 4 year old said “and they have Scooby Doo on them” (she was very proud that she had picked them out for him) and then she added “and they have a big hole right in the front of them”

  26. Shawn says:

    Good responses! Three things:

    1. A friend of mine stood up to offer the closing prayer which began with, “Dear God, thank you for this food…”

    3. During communion, one of the men looked down and noticed that his fly was unzipped. He ignored it, until the guy standing next to him noticed it, and nudged him. This got the attention of the other two men, who stared at this poor man’s undone zipper. The rest of the church had been watching the whole time, and began snickering. The guy with the unzipped pants did the only thing he could think of–he turned around and zipped up. At this, the whole congregation burst out laughing, and the guy turned back around with a big smile on his red face!

    3. My sister witnessed this one a few years ago during chapel at OCU. A student by the name of Bert Rutledge was being honored. The presenter said, “The award goes to…Butt Butledge!” She became red-faced, stammered, and said, “I’m so sorry. I mean, the award goes to…Butt Butledge!” Again! This was the running joke on campus for a long time.

  27. Lance B. says:

    About a year ago, a young man from our congregation came forward to be baptized. As he was getting ready, his wife realized she forgot her camera in the car. She ran out of the auditorium to her car and came back in just as her husband entered the baptistry. She then tried to open her camera but couldn’t do it in time. As her husband entered the water, she screamed out “Oh ****”. Of course, she was extremely embarrassed and several of our members were mortified, but it’s a baptism no one in attendance will never forget.

    We also had a marriage proposal last year. At the end of service, one of our men responded to the invitation. The guy called his daughter to the stage and his girlfriend and her two kids. He then shared the story of how they met at our church and how God had brought them together. He then got down on his knee and proposed. It was actually pretty special and they are getting married in November.

  28. James says:

    There was a group of ladies at our church holding prayer meetings all throughout the week. I went up to the church with my mom (I was probably around 13 at the time) just to talk to the pastor’s wife for a few minutes, when one of the ladies called me over. The woman sat me down in a chair and poured an entire brand new bottle of anointing oil all over my head.

    The prayer was great, but I had to wash my hair several times to get all the oil out.

  29. Diane says:

    My throat hurts I have laughed so hard!

    When I was growning up, my church was large and had a balcony. As we got old enough to sit with our friends, we would often choose to sit there. Three of us; Lou Ann, Joan, and I; stood singing the first hymn with the hymnbook propped on the railing. Somehow one of us knocked it off the rail and as it sailed to the pews below (thank God, no one was sitting just beneath us) Joan and I sat down. Bam! rang through the church. Poor Lou Ann remained standing and according to her the whole churched turned to look.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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