Handling Snakes & Other Weird Requests

The phone calls and requests a church gets never ceases to amaze me. For instance, a few years ago we had a lady call our church looking for a snake.


My initial thought was what kind of church does she think we are, but my mind was quickly put more at ease when she told me she was referring to a plumber’s snake. Apparently one of the kids had stopped up the toilet, and she thought the logical place to call to fix her problem was the church.

I wish I could say this was a singular incident, but we’ve recently had requests from other people needing a plumber which has led our staff to adopt a new church motto: Strong Tower Church, we fix your crap!

I’m not a plumber, but I do understand that when pipes get stopped up and the water stops flowing, you have a big problem on your hands. I think we would all admit that.

What I want to convey to you is that your services should also have a natural flow to them. They should start on time, have natural transitions, and end on time as well.

For longer than I’d care to admit, our services didn’t work that way. We wouldn’t get started on time, we would have awkward transitions and moments of silence, and the service would get clogged up by prayer requests, testimonies, and special singing.

Which in turn led to a…um…crappy experience for all involved.

Now, I know some of you absolutely love these moments in your service, and you’d even argue that your church loves them as well. But put yourself into an unchurched person’s shoes for a moment, and let’s talk about this.

  1. Time – I’ve finally given in to my sister’s request and have shown up to church only to find that they’re not ready. Worse than that, no one even seems to care. So, here I sit while everyone else mingles, watching the clock and wondering why I ever agreed to this.
  1. Prayer Requests – I could’ve done without hearing about Stewart’s constipation issues, but it was interesting to know that Darla’s granddaughter is an alcoholic and sleeping around on her husband.
  1. Special Singing – Oh great, now Stewart’s going to sing a roaring rendition of the classic “I Shall Not Be Moved.” I can’t help but wonder if this is a shout out to his earlier prayer request.
  1. Testimonies – This was good for the first five minutes. Now it’s way pass my lunchtime, and I’m beginning to wonder if your grandson winning first place in the 4-H contest is really something you need to testify about.

I wish I could say I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I’ve experienced moments like each of these within the last ten years in my church. Thankfully we decided to do something about it. You should too.

Keep in mind, you’ll have some really churchy people who love the crappy experience. For them it brings back childhood memories of using an outhouse, and if you take this away from them, they’ll accuse you of taking the Spirit out of the experience.

So, you’ll have a choice to make: please the already saved or go after the unchurched. The decision is up to you.

Have you had any weird requests? I’d love to hear about them. Share them in the comments section below, and if you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the blog so you get helpful content direct to your inbox each week.

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2 thoughts on “Handling Snakes & Other Weird Requests

  1. Dustin Thompson

    This is my favorite post so far! The weirdest request I’ve heard was while a student pastor at Freedom Church, someone called and asked Pastor Terrell to come pray the spirits away from their house. The staff was blown away by the request. When asking Terrell he said I guess I can always just go and pray.

    The last I heard there were no spirits… 🙂

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