Pastor: Six Types of Things You Should Stop Saying In The Pulpit Immediately


There’s always a cringe-worthy moment on Sundays when the preacher drops an anvil in the pulpit that suffocates the whole sermon. 

It’s a shrill phrase, nails on a chalkboard, subtle as a sledgehammer, insensitive, no tact, no grace, a lazy tactic that’s meant to stir up something but disregards actual human interaction. 

Pastors: don’t just describe the water that we’re drowning in.  That helps no one.  Show us how to swim.

I’m not above these things and have and occasionally caught myself in the middle of a sermon to laugh at them.  Let’s be a little more self-aware and nip these at the bud.

1) Pack Your Bags, Time For a Guilt Trip

“Your sin is bad and here are nineteen reasons why.”

“God saw what you did last night.”

“Don’t you know you’re incurring the HOLY WRATH OF GOD?”

“With all that time on Facebook, why don’t you pray and read your Bible and do missions in Africa?”

“You’re an offense to God’s holiness.”

“Are you really worshiping sincerely from the bottom of your heart?”

“Stop talking, other people want to hear the sermon.”

“I don’t heeeear you, are you excited for Jesus or what?  Come on guys, that was weak.”

“If you’re not sharing Jesus, you must be ashamed of him.”

2) Not Scared?  Well YOU SHOULD BE

“If you’re not tithing, then you’re STEALING FROM THE LORD.”

“Porn will turn you into a SEX-CRAZED MONSTER.”

“If you have sex before marriage, you will be physically in bondage to that person FOREVER.”

“Here are twelve signs that YOU could be a Pharisee.”

“God only hears you if you have NO DOUBT.”

“Trust God, don’t EVER ask questions.”

“You’re either a real disciple or you’re a fake lukewarm hypocrite. PICK ONE.”

“If you don’t do ______, then the Devil is WINNING.”

“Don’t end up like Frank.  He slept around and got AIDS.  Do you really want herpes that bad?  You want warts on your genitals?  HUH?”

“Here’s a slideshow of what’s happening in Hell right now.”

3) Imma Let God Finish, But I Got The Best Opinion of All Time

“I’m not a very political person BUT –“

“I love all my homosexual friends BUT –“

“The gift of salvation is free BUT –“

“I’m not sexist BUT –“

“I’m not a scientist BUT –“

“God loves you unconditionally BUT –“

4) Cliches, Platitudes, and (Not) Witty Slogans

“It’s not a religion, it’s a ______.”

“I will now tell an irrelevant story about my family member (most likely my wife) whose permission I did not receive beforehand because I’m a jerk.”

“Here’s a long complicated semi-funny probably-true story to illustrate a point that I could say in two seconds, but seriously it’s worth it.”

“If you really believe God loves you, then your perfectly natural response is to love Him back.”

“Let’s piss off the religious folks.”

“If you’re an atheist, what stops you from eating a baby?”

“The cop pulled me over but let me go. Therefore, God is good.”

“The test results say I have stage 4 cancer, but praise God.”

“… and that’s why bad things happen.”

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

5) Sophisticated Theology That No One Cares About

“Let me tell you why the Pretribulational Rapture is the correct view and why all the other ones are wrong.”

“Here’s how the Holy Trinity works.”

“Total depravity.”

“I’m a three and a half point Calvinist.”

“I’m a Calvinist.”

“I don’t like Calvinists.”

6) Everything Is Evil

“Don’t fill your heart with movies and music and sports and worldly things, fill it WITH GOD.”


“They’re ruining our country.”

“Look at that waterfall and the rainbow and the universe and other pretty stuff — how dare you believe in evolution.”

“Video games are the devil.”

“I’m going to use the word idolatry a LOT.”

“Sex is gross, evil, disgusting, horrible, and filthy.  So save it for marriage.”

4 thoughts on “Pastor: Six Types of Things You Should Stop Saying In The Pulpit Immediately

  1. I found your list very interesting, shocking in some points, sad in others. I can’t say I haven’t heard any variations of ANY of these, but you definitely have made me thankful for the preaching that comes across our pulpit! Our pastors rarely ever use the word “you” in a sermon.
    I remember one pastor we knew years ago who seemed to be in general disappointed with us; his messages, however he started out, ended on a “We need to shape up” note. His ministry wasn’t blessed, sad to say.
    But the Bible itself could sound like some of these. I.e., “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him.”


  2. I try not to use “you” too often either, but sometimes when people hear “we” they really hear “them, not me.” I think we should use “you” sometimes. I think the prophets did it and I think preaching and prophecy are cousins in many ways.
    I think we should let people know that they are under God’s wrath, but that it’s been quenched in the cross.
    I think far too many preachers live in grey areas where they never tell things how they are and aren’t really loving their people by tip-toeing around important truths from the Bible. I think if the biggest problem with modern preaching were talking too much about sin, hell, and using cliches than our churches wouldn’t be in the shape they are. Instead, our messages have no teeth. We refuse to say difficult things because we don’t want people to leave.


  3. Oh my goodness! Hearty, robust, annoying-to-family-in-the-next-room, LOL!

    Second read-through….same response!

    I know it’s not funny, really. This kind of commentary has done me and others a lot of harm. But, oh, how you nail it! Honestly, I thought I had heard it all, but I stand corrected and humbled!

    Seriously now, I blog about my 20 years as a Christian wife with an abusive Christian husband, and what it is like coping with that while genuinely seeking divine guidance in the environment you describe. The misrepresentation from the pulpit (and by lay Christians) costs people (me) their faith and distracts Christians (formerly me) from the real deal (respectfully, in my opinion). Not blaming, shaming here, just observing influencing agents. It is SOOO refreshing hearing this type of insight from a Christian…voluntarily even! (friendly smile – respectful humor) I’d like to see people keep their faith, and grow in Christ, not be absorbed by “churchianity.”

    I haven’t had the time to browse your other posts, but I will be.

    Thanks, and nice to meet you.



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