In my almost-20 years of full-time ministry in the United Methodist Church, I have overheard some “you can’t make stuff this up” remarks come out of the mouths of United Methodist people. Preachers, usually.

Most of what follows is first-hand, with a smattering of reliable second-hand quotes as well.

  • A pastor to his youth pastor: “You shouldn’t do so many altar calls in youth group. It might make kids doubt their confirmation.”
  • A District Superintendent to his flock of pastors: “Has anyone ever heard of this Gordon-Connell (sic) Seminary? Is it legit?”
  • A DS to a pastor in the 4th year of a first appointment: “It’s time to start thinking about moving up the ladder. You don’t want to stay where you are too long.”
  • A pastor to a PPR Committee in a church considering multi-site worship: “Where I come from we call that a two-point charge. And I’m not being paid enough to pastor a two-point charge.”
  • A parishioner during praise & worship: “This clapping’s not Methodist!”
  • A parishioner to a long-tenured pastor: “I think preachers ought to move every three and half years. That’s as long as Jesus stayed on earth, after all. Then his humanity started to show and God had to call him to heaven.”
  • A Methodist seminarian regarding a youth group: “If the kids start talking about getting saved, I’m going to have a real problem with that.”
  • A pastor to fellow pastors as part of a continuing ed event: “I like Jesus. But he’s not my Savior.”

Fred Craddock has written expansively on overhearing the Gospel.

Sadly, there are times within Methodism when you overhear something altogether different.