Have you ever meant to say one thing and what came out of your mouth was something entirely different? Well, it happens to everyone. Candidates running for the highest offices in our country often welcome people from Detroit when they are actually in Chicago. It happens to the best public speakers even Pastors of small churches. Usually, Pastors deliver sermons week after week with impeccable perfection, but once in a while, they mess up too. I know I have.
In the English language, some words sound similar but have dissimilar definitions. This became glaringly apparent to me during a Sunday service. I meant to say immortal, but what I said was Immoral. Big difference! I did recover from the blunder, but I have not forgotten.
A great friend told me that he had been preaching and was purposely referring to God as Yahweh. Somehow during the message, he began using Yahoo instead of Yahweh. Can you imagine how funny this was to his listeners, but it was an honest mistake. He was wondering why people were chuckling. When his wife told him what he had done, he couldn’t believe he had made that mistake.
A funny thing happened in Florida at the Bread of Life Church. We had a portable stage and when it was time for me to preach I climbed the portable stairs that had been moved from the front of the stage to the side that morning, to accommodate a drama taking place before the sermon. I ran up those stairs to deliver the message God had given me. I was very excited about sharing that morning and most of the seats were occupied. As I preached, I moved away from the pulpit, as I like to do, so that I could speak directly to the congregation. I moved closer to the front of the platform as I spoke that morning and then I did it. I stepped off the front of the stage where the stairs usually had been, onto the floor. Ouch, but also, how funny. After a long laugh from the congregation, I continued with the message, being very careful to use the proper location of the portable steps.
On another occasion, I think at Journey of Hope in Michigan, I was delivering a sermon that had several rhetorical questions in it. I was taken by surprise when a lady in the congregation began to answer these questions loud enough so everyone could hear. I was talking about the Good Samaritan and asked, how would you feel if a Priest or Levite would ignore your need? She answered, “I would not like it one little bit. I would probably give them both a piece of my mind.”
When I was a young Pastor, I was not surprised, after I had preached a sermon on using whatever gift God has given you, that several people responded. A young single mother approached me and asked if she could sing a solo the following Sunday. I was delighted she wanted to sing and when the following Sunday came, I announced that Gloria was going to bless us with a song. How do I say this? She sang very out of tune and was hard to listen to. It was, however, her joyful noise. I learned to screen all soloists from that day on.
Small churches are places where something funny happens almost every week. Sometimes we plan humor, but most of the time it is just something that happens, like life. I have been blessed with the privilege of being the Lead Pastor in three small churches. We have had fun as we have also advanced the Kingdom of God. We laugh together, cry together and work together and it is glorious. Never deny this truth, small churches are a vital part of communities all over the world.