101 Ways To Distract Your Preacher

After church this evening, a group of us were sitting in the pub having a drink and a chat, discussing the service. The conversation moved on to distracting things we’ve experienced in churches. A friend mentioned that in another church, she had heard of someone sitting at the front of the balcony right in the minister’s line of vision, opening up a flask of tea and having a nice hot drink in the middle of the sermon.

It got me thinking (as many things do lately). What else could we do to put preachers off their sermon delivery? Much in the vein of 101 Things To Do at a Christian Music Festival (which incidentally is still a bit short of 101 suggestions!), I’d like to try to come up with 101 Ways To Distract Your Preacher.

Before you all think I am some sort of Christian anarchist subvertive (though I’ve been called worse), I would emphasise that this is just a wee bit of fun. Preachers (good ones, at least) do a grand job of explaining God’s word and many of them and quite literally change the world, and I’ve been lucky to have listened to some brilliant preachers.

So please note this is a purely theoretical exercise so please don’t try this at home. Well, actually… yes, try it at home. Just not in church. Unless you’re really bored, of course…

Anyway, I’ll kick off, please join in with your own ideas.

  1. Sit on the front row of the balcony, right in the preacher’s line of vision, with a nice flask of tea.
  2. Hold up hymn numbers at the end of the sermon, offering a score.
  3. Just as the preacher stands up to begin, stand up where you are, say thank you, and begin delivering your own sermon.
  4. Go and stand at the front and do similtaneous translation into the language of your choice.
  5. Tut loudly and hiss “is he finished yet?” to your neighbour.
  6. Fall asleep and snore loudly.
  7. If the sermon is on an Old Testament text, shout out “preach the Gospel!” If it’s a New Testament text, stand up, declare yourself a Jew, and walk out.
  8. Whenever the preacher refers to a particular verse in the Bible, look it up and shout “got it first!” loudly.
  9. Frown at the preacher. Intensely. Right throughout the sermon. Without blinking or looking away.
  10. Pass a bag of crisps along your row of seats.

11 thoughts on “101 Ways To Distract Your Preacher

  1. 11. Fill a vodka bottle with water and proceed to swig from it through the sermon.

    (NB. This actually happened. A homeless lady was sitting next to me and brought the bottle out a few times throughout the service. The Pastor was mesmerised for a bit and almost lost his place).

  2. 12. Come in on a Segway (or even a motorised wheelchair) and slowly move up and down the isle throughout.

    13. Stand up whenever the rest of the congregation are sitting, and sit when they are standing.

  3. 14. Wear your i-pod phones and start off humming. As the sermon progresses gradually get louder and sing a few random lines of songs tunelessly. Build steadily in volume and words till everyone is staring at you instead of the preacher.

  4. 15. Go to church wearing every item of clothing you own. Sit at the front. Take off each item slowly and awkwardly thoughout the sermon (stop if you reach your underwear, even if the sermon is not finished!).

    16. Take one set of knitting kneedles, wool and one kitten, knit in the front row, and just see what happens.

  5. 17. clip your toenails
    18. clip someone else’s toenails
    19. get a book on keyhole surgery, and remove your appendix during the sermon
    20. leap out of your seat looking for an imaginary pet mouse
    21. bring your clydesdale horse to church with you (saw this happen in a pub once, would have taken a photograph but didn’t want the horse to panic…)
    22. Use a powerpoint presentation that the preacher can’t see. Instruct the congregation to laugh/gasp/clap at completely inappropriate points in the sermon. This may require some practise before the sermon, so is only relevant in churces where more than 2 members of the congregation have arrived in time to hear the start of the sermon.

  6. 23. Whisper loudly to the preacher: “You did this one last week!”

    24. Walk up and down the aisle with a tray of ice creams for sale.

    25. Shine a laser pen right in the middle of the preacher’s forehead, and on any visual aids he uses or holds up.

    26. Yawn. Lots. Very, very loudly.

  7. 29. Sit at the back, and, at an exact point in time (11.45, 12 noon), raise your watch arm and point dramatically at your watch. (This happened to me at my first service in a new church, at 12 noon precisely. She’s never done it again – I told others I would direct her to the loo if she did.)

  8. 30. Blind him unmercilessly with your torch at every christmas eve torchlight service

    31. Drop the torch onto the pew behind you by accident while trying 30

  9. 32. Take your preacher literally and answer those rhetorical questions that tend to be asked in sermons.
    33. Get really excited about what is being said.
    34. Bring lots of your ‘non-Christian friends’ along – that would really upset things.
    35. Babes and babies are always a distraction… not sure which is worse.

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