My Worst Faux Pas in Ministry

Once while ministering in Lexington, Kentucky, I tried to grab attention by announcing my next sermon: "Five People I Would Like to See Go to Hell." Obviously, I wasn't consigning anyone to eternal punishment, but I named five individuals I wished could see what hell is like and return to warn the rest of us.

A reporter heard about it, and a story appeared on the front page of the local newspaper. Half the congregation was amused; the other half was angry at me for creating such a stir.

The night I preached the sermon, another reporter was there. In the next day's edition, his story was kind and did not question my sincerity, but he observed that such sensationalism does not enhance the influence of the church.

The rebuke was justly deserved, and I resolved never again to resort to such tactics to get a crowd.

-E. Ray Jones

First Christian Church

Clearwater, Florida

One Sunday morning I was preaching from John 13-14 on Jesus preparing a home for us in heaven. I described the Jewish customs of ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Christ-Centered Mindset
Christ-Centered Mindset
How to create want-to, can-do workers.
From the Magazine
I Was a World Series Hero on the Brink of Suicide
I Was a World Series Hero on the Brink of Suicide
Drugs had derailed my baseball career and driven me to despair. A chance encounter with a retired pastor changed everything.
Editor's Pick
How Culture Shapes Sermons
How Culture Shapes Sermons
Recent books on culturally distinct preaching challenge misconceptions and equip diverse pastors to better address a multiethnic world.
close