Five (even more) things I wish we would stop saying from the pulpit —  December 15, 2013
This is part three of our series on things we say from the pulpit that need to me modified, erased or deleted. It happens so much…but it can change!

Here is the next five:

1. This will be short.

Whether an announcement or a devotional thought, this is hardly ever the case. “Short announcement” is an oxymoron. When someone shows up to your event/program/worship service asking if they “can make a short announcement” look at them, tell them to hold on for a minute and run away. You can always ask for forgiveness later.

2. In conclusion.

Preaching a sermon is like flying a plane. The conclusion of the sermon is like landing a plane. You know what happens when you fly a plane in circles and do not land? It crashes and burns. Hence the smoke  smell you perceive in your clothes after you preach. You know who you are. Land the plane!

3. As far as possible, kneel.

This one I heard this week from a colleague at the Union, it’s one of his pet peeves with worship. He says: “I did not know you could go past the floor. What do you mean as far as possible?”

4. To make a long story short.

Too late. Usually by the time that statement is made, the story is already long. This phrase is a cousin of #1 (see above). This is especially disturbing when it’s the fifth time you have heard that story. Spouses, I feel your pain.

5. Will the visitors please stand? You are the flowers of our church.

This phrase contains three crucial mistakes.

  1. Visitors. A better word is guest.
  2. Stand. No one likes that. Proven by data, surveys, science. No one.
  3. Flowers: Imagine a church with members from Mexico (or any other country). This one guy shows up as a guest with the belt, the hat and the boots.  A man’s man. A macho man. He was a recognized from the front. He was called a flower. He never returned.

Any others you can think of? Email me at

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