Poor Branding Blamed for Church Plant Fail 

GASTONIA, NC-  Gil Bailey knew planting a new church in the Southeast would be hard, but he didn’t expect to close the doors after three months. 

The Lead Pastor and “visioneer” worked for weeks with his launch team to come up with the perfect name for their radical idea of what church could be.

“We tried to come up with an original science-y verb, but the only one left was Oscillate,” said Bailey. “And that wouldn’t work because no one can serve masters.”

So Pastor Gil and the team searched for a strong noun that encapsulated what they stood for.

They eventually chose the name “PHUNGUS.” 

“We wanted our church to grow quickly and everywhere. To be able to thrive in the dark places, not just with the churched, you know?” said Bailey. “Phungus captured our hearts perfectly and with the alternate spelling, it looked great on t-shirts and stickers.”

The fungus analogy, however, was lost on their Gastonia community.

“I should’ve known 10:30 in the morning was a weird time for a death metal band to have a concert,” said one tattooed visitor who attended the first week.

Gil’s wife, Laura, said the confusion got rather disgusting as well.

“People posted pics of their nasty yellow toenails on our Facebook page,” she said. “I finally had to write a note explaining we weren’t the cool version of Lamisil.”

Pastor Bailey is still convinced the name could possibly work in another location, but really likes doing ministry near Charlotte.

“Maybe we should try again with our second choice: ENGORGE!”

Church Kids Riot Over Mediocre VBS Theme

GREER, SC- Nine adults from Trinity Baptist Church are in stable condition after sustaining second degree burns during a riot at their annual Vacation Bible School.

“We thought we’d surprise the kids this year by doing our own theme,” said Becky Snyder, children’s director at Trinity. “It did not go well.”

“Pure horror,” said seven year old Dakota Dillon. “It was even worse than the Australian year when all our dads tried to talk like Crocodile Dundee.” 

“We centered on ‘truth’ as our key concept,” said Kelly Trenton, the worship leader of VBS. “We rewrote the words to Nothing Compares to U by Sinead O’Connor and named the whole theme ‘Nothing Compares to Truth.’ We knew it was slow but thought the power of the lyrics would draw the kids in.”

The team not only selected a slower theme song, but also opted to play off the phrase “the truth is plain to see” for their color scheme, which required no decorating of the church’s beige walls.

“Every year we look forward to a garish display of primary colors, but all we got this year was the khaki of absolute truth,” said Ariana Wilson, a 3rd grader. “What are our parents even tithing here for?”

The theme and color scheme didn’t connect but it was the plain as truth snacks of rice cakes and saltine crackers that incited the riots.

“After enduring the six minute theme song and a craft lacking popsicle sticks, we lost our junk at snack time,” said Connor Watkins, a 5th grader.

“The older kids started ripping heads off puppets,” said four year old Ethan Jacoby. “I treaded water in the baptistery until the EMS workers arrived.”

“We destroyed a piñata with our bare hands,” added Watkins. “It was filled with tiny hard candies that tasted like plastic.”

“It wasn’t a piñata,” said Snyder. “It was a stuffed black and white cow we called True Moo.”

The nine adults received their burns trying to win back the stash of glitter from a group of second graders armed with glue guns.

Eventually order was restored when the pastor’s wife arrived dressed as a clown and carrying trays of brightly colored finger jello.

Lacking enough volunteers, Snyder was forced to shut down the rest of the week. “We’re really bummed about it. The last night the kids were going to take lie detector tests with a real live lawyer. Would’ve been such a blast.”

--Matt O.

In Prep for Ash Wednesday, Pastor Smokes Carton of Newport Slims

GALAX, VA- A sudden interest in historical church practices has led a local congregation to be without their leader for the beginning of Lent.

It all started when Danny Richards, pastor of Journey Church, discovered a whole new world of holy habits while Googling for sunrise service object lessons. He shared his findings at the next staff meeting.

“I haven’t seen our leaders that pumped in a long time,” said Richards. “Before I could say Mary Magdalene, we added a stations of the cross labyrinth to our Egg Hunt, and Betty Hooper volunteered to swing incense during the cantata!”

Lead soprano Hooper said they’ve learned changes can be both shocking...and valuable. “Last year, our children’s director introduced us to a dozen new fonts, and now our bulletin is the bees knees. This year, it’s Easter we’re going to spice up. As the kids say, this resurrection’s going to be totally rad.”

“I thought the Catholics were wrong about everything,” added member, Rhonda Winters, “but some of this stuff is really neat.”

In addition to the concept of fasting from non-food items, the folks of Journey were most excited about kicking off the Easter season with their first Ash Wednesday. Preparations for the new service, however, hit a major bump in the road yesterday.

“Pastor panicked when he read on Wikipedia that you needed ashes from last year’s Palm Sunday service,” said church secretary Helen Frye. “We usually just let the kids fight with their branches on the playground after the worship. We had no idea they had another use.”

“We needed grey dust, and fast,” said Richards. “So I made an emergency trip to the gas station and bought a carton of Newport Slims. I think the Lord understood. It’s not like I bought lottery tickets.”

He spent the rest of the afternoon puffing cigarette after cigarette by the back door to the Fellowship Hall, collecting the ash in an offering plate. That’s when Frye heard a loud thump.

“I ran outside and there was pastor knocked out on the stairs. A big ole gash in his head. I called 911 and tried to save as many ashes as I could. I didn't want to waste his sacrifice.”

Pastor Richards, hospitalized with a severe concussion, will be sidelined for a few more days, but the new and improved Easter celebration will go on.

“People have rallied together to make this thing happen,” said the youth pastor, Chaz Adkins, the staff person taking Richards’ place in the service. “Most of the women plan to draw circles on their foreheads with black sharpies to give me a target to hit with my finger. It’s just the Body being the Body, man.”

“It’ll still be great,” said the Pastor from his hospital bed. “Nobody’ll remember my smoking accident once they drive up and see the Hosanna Donkey Rides in the parking lot.”

—Matt O.

(For more Matt O. satire click here or to read his satirical book on American Churchianity designed for small group discussion, click here.)

Pastor Forgets He Wrestles Not Against Flesh and Blood, Choke Slams Rogue Deacon 

BUFORD, GA- The monthly Board meetings at Trinity Baptist church had a reputation for being heated, but this past Monday things got out of hand.

According to eyewitnesses, lifetime deacon Bud Wilkins started the trouble during a motion to approve the budget for the upcoming congregational meeting.

“It was the darnedest thing,” said Ken Hobson, head of the finance committee, “Pastor said, ‘all opposed?’ and just before he banged his gavel, Bud yelled out ‘NAY!’”

Pastor John Brooks, a former aspiring professional wrestler, took offense at Bud’s dissent and asked him to clarify.

Hobson says that’s when things escalated. “Bud came right out and said ten thousand dollars for forty new parking spaces was too dang much. Pastor John stood up and his folding chair went flying.”

“I kinda snapped,” said Pastor John. “Usually when I wrestle with the sins of the world, I’m in my prayer closet wearing a solid gold unitard…but when Bud hopped on my last nerve, I went back to my wrestling days. It felt like I took that ole devil hisself by the larynx.”

“Pastor busted out a vintage chokeslam,” said deacon Bobby Rotzberger. “He got him right under the chin. Good height, too, then boom, down on the table. Textbook.” 

Building and grounds deacon, Ron Neely, gave his own spiritual spin on the encounter. “Lift not a hand against the Lord’s anointed. Well, Bud did…and the Lord’s anointed lifted him up and brought him down. Hard.” 

Police were called to the scene but when it was clear the eight foot folding table had taken most of the force and prevented serious injury, Bud Wilkins declined to press charges. He’s still praying about forgiving his shepherd, however.

“It wouldn't have been so bad if Pastor hadn't whooped and straddled my head as he made a championship belt sign,” said Wilkins. 

Not surprisingly, the deacons weren’t unanimous on whether or not violence was an acceptable method of dealing with issues.

“The Apostle Paul is a little fuzzy on the specifics of spiritual warfare,” said Hobson. “Who says the fiery darts of the evil one aren’t just contrary people?”

“Jesus of Nazareth flipped tables in a temple. Pastor John of Trinity chokeslammed a deacon in a board meeting. I think we’re talking holy apples to holy apples here,” added Rotzberger.

--Matt O.

(For more Matt O. satire click here or to read his satirical book on American Churchianity designed for small group discussion, click here.)


Youth Service Implodes When Student Pastor Forgets to Pray Real Quick

Youth Service Implodes When Student Pastor Forgets to Pray Real Quick

AUGUSTA, GA- When students attend The Awakening, the Wednesday night youth service at Journey Baptist Church, they usually receive a program full of blessings. But this past Wednesday night was a terrible exception.

“At first I thought it was demons,” said Jeremy Morris, a high school junior and one of three acoustic guitar players in the praise band. “There was so much feedback coming through the sound system, it killed my ears.”

The screeching feedback wasn’t the only mistake in the beginning of the service. Ashley Cantrell, the lead vocalist, started singing a new song but the words didn’t show up on the screen until halfway through the bridge.

“Everyone just stared at me,” said Cantrell. “It was like singing a solo, which is totally not why I’m up there.”

Student Pastor Dan “Big Stuff” Barnes, realized the problem when the audio on their video announcement for the upcoming DNOW weekend sounded like it was recorded in a gym locker room.

“It was all my fault,” said Barnes. “You’ll have a few hiccups in every service, but this was bad. And then I remembered: I didn’t gather all the leaders backstage to pray before the service.”

“Usually Big Stuff gets us all together like two minutes before we start and says ‘let’s pray real quick,’” said Cantrell. “But tonight, he just kept working on his sermon notes and let us tweak our inner ear monitors a little longer.”

The service officially crashed when Big Stuff’s big object lesson didn’t connect with the students.

“I worked all week on those red tearaway pants. I thought for sure the kids would get the atonement connection, but when I asked ‘Does this make sense?’ it was nothing but crickets. Usually they at least mumble.”

Big Stuff stopped the student service abruptly right then by saying, “Alright y’all, let’s just pray.”

Appropriately, the pizza afterwards was piping hot, rather than the usual room temp.

“Oh man,” laughed Barnes, “Lesson learned.”

--Matt O.

**To see exclusive work of mine, and to support my writing for only $5 a month, check out my Patreon page**

Ken Ham Completely Baffled as Creation Museum Evolves

Ken Ham Completely Baffled as Creation Museum Evolves

Petersburg, KY-  When Ken Ham opened his world famous museum, he counted on the world class exhibits educating visitors on the merits of young earth creationism. What he hadn't expected was the museum taking on a life of its own.

"In the beginning, we only had a few displays, but as God has blessed us with millions of visitors, the museum has expanded all by itself. It's a miracle!" exclaimed Ham.

"One day, you're in our modest planetarium watching the biblical case against aliens," he added, "And then wham, out of nowhere, you have pterodactyl zip-line adventures, a mining sluice that teaches geology, and a life-size replica of Noah's Ark. It all happened so fast, the only explanation is God!"

Donna Harper, his executive director of programming has another  explanation, however. "We grossly underestimated the amount of Christians with disposable income who use the Bible as a science book, so once we realized the demand, we adapted."

New exhibits aren't the only feature at the museum to confuse Ham.

"Every week, God supernaturally shrinks all our bushes and lowers our lawns," he said, standing in line to purchase a double cheeseburger in Noah's Cafe. "Every blade of grass is known by Him who made carbon dating so mysterious!"

Chet Givens, head of the museum's ground crew, offered a conflicting report. "I've told him a thousand times that it's not the Lord 'enshortening the lawn.' It's me. Me, a push mower, and a set of dodgy hedge clippers."

Deacon Wonders if Outreach Event Worth it When Just One Soul Saved

Deacon Wonders if Outreach Event Worth it When Just One Soul Saved

JOHNSON CITY, TN- Tensions ran high in Valley Ridge Community Church when the deacon in charge of the hot dog station questioned the results of their annual Block Party.

Herb Byers, no longer driving the tractor for the retired hayrides, said the new view from behind the weinie roaster gave him a fresh perspective on the evangelistic cornerstone of the church calendar.

“One salvation. That’s it this year. It seems to me if we spend all this money on clowns, pony rides, and what-not, there should be more than one kid raising his hand during the altar call,” he said.

The Block Party Planning Chairperson, Debbie Bolling, admitted salvation numbers were a bit low but it’s not really about the numbers. “We praise God for this one precious soul. And I’m praying he’s the next Billy Graham or Jim Elliot.”

Byers, however, wonders whether the allegedly saved child might actually still be lost. “During the altar call, I overheard a mom at the bouncy castle asking her children ‘who wants some cotton candy?’ For all we know, this kid was raising his hand for that question.”

Head Pastor Steve Givens wasn’t even dried off from his shift in the dunking booth before he declared the event the best ever, even with the lack of statistical repentance. “I don’t know why Herb is so fired up. The turnout was fantastic. Not one person went home without a door prize and we gathered a slew of new email addresses from the lawnmower raffle.” 

Herb Byers eventually left the party early and missed the mad scramble when the Spongebob piñata burst open.

“I feel bad for Herb,” said Larry Campbell, the elder in charge of the Block Party Petting Zoo. “He’s a good guy, but I don’t think he’s considered the cost of saving souls. These days, it’s gonna take more than a cake walk on the Romans Road."