Thom Rainer: 10 Strange Things That Happened at Church Business Meetings

Doughnuts are a regular topic of discussion in church business meetings. (Pexels/

Dead bodies and doughnuts.

Those are two of the themes of church business meetings.

Recently, I sent an inquiry on social media asking about memorable church business meetings. I was encouraged that some of the responses were positive. Some congregations really do make the meetings a time to make a positive difference.

But most of the responses were, well, strange. For now, I am sharing my top 10 choices from those responses.

  1. Dead body in dumpster. A church had a prolonged business meeting on whether or not to put a lock on its dumpster. There was no resolution. Within the week, someone put a dead body in the dumpster. The church voted overwhelmingly and immediately to put the lock on. I wonder if a pro-lock church member placed the body there.
  2. Church name change. I am not surprised this meeting was contentious. This type of change is emotional and far-reaching. But this argument against changing the name was classic: "How will Jesus know who we are when He returns if we change our name?"
  3. Doughnuts. The church had a two-hour meeting discussing doughnuts. I get it. Doughnuts are important.
  4. Absentee member. Those at the church meeting voted a person to serve in three different positions. But she was not present. That will teach her to miss business meetings.
  5. Lawnmower blades. The church had a multi-hour business meeting on what type of lawnmower blades to purchase. Now that's silly. You should fight over lawnmower purchases, but not the blades.
  6. The pastor's son. The church had three hours of contentious discussion, mostly against the pastor. Toward the end of the meeting, the pastor looked up to the balcony to see that his teenage son had sneaked up there to listen. Ugh. Just ugh.
  7. Doughnuts ... reprise. This meeting was another contentious discussion about doughnuts. The issue this time was whether or not people could eat them in the worship center. I'm sure there was a bylaw change as a result.
  8. Record time for a business meeting. This church business meeting began at 7 p.m. and took a break at midnight to resume the next evening. The point of contention was the type of wheels to put on a people mover, standard or chrome. We all fully understand why you need over six hours to fight over this vital issue.
  9. The lady gets no respect. The church voted against giving a woman a volunteer ministry position in the church. But they subsequently voted a man to that position on the condition that the defeated woman would do all the work. I wonder if she accepted.
  10. Vote to close closes. The congregation had a called business meeting for the singular purpose of voting to close the church. Due to lack of interest, not enough members showed up to have a quorum. I have no words.

There were so many more good submissions. I bet you have some good stories as well.

Let us hear them.

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Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

This article originally appeared at

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