When sermons go awry…

When sermons go awry…

Okay, I wasn’t going to post merely frivolous stuff here, but this is far too precious to pass up.

You who preach … well. If you gotta slip up, go big.

Here’s a clip below of poor high school pastor Blake Bergstrom, who tried to work his way around a bit of a tongue twister as he introduced a sermon that might have already been doomed, based on his unusual use of metaphors. As you listen, just wait. No: the “light ourselves on fire so they can watch us burn” is not the gaffe you are listening for, surprisingly, but that imagery is bad enough that he might actually have improved his sermon with an extreme Freudian slip!

Here’s the audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(Here’s the link if the flash player doesn’t load.)

And Bergstrom has been good enough to actually release the video, which Kevin Rossen promptly posted on his blog along with a bonus, an email response from the beleagured youth pastor himself. Here’s an excerpt:

It’s amazing how switching around one letter like an “N” can change the entire phrase!!! The look on my face after I said it is absolutely priceless. Push pause after I “let it fly” and look at the horror in my eyes…my left eye actually crosses…funny stuff!!!!!!! …

All I know to say is…”Thank God for His GRACE!!!” After talking with God about this whole thing, He let me know that when it happened… all of heaven fell to their side, they started beating the ground, with tears streaming down their face, and Lot was running around pinching himself, and all the heavenly hosts roared with laughter…just like you did!!!!

You can also watch the short video clip at iFilms if the Windows Media file doesn’t open.

Thanks to Adam Cleaveland at pomomusings for the tip.

[Also, see: “When sermons go awry, revisited.”

Plus: “Blake Bergstrom, pitched tents, and the fake FCC fine”]

[tags]Blake-Bergstrom, Freudian-Slip, gaffe, John-Ortberg, Menlo-Park-Presbyterian-Church, Psalm-150, preaching, sermon-illustration, sermons, William-Willimon, William-H.-Willimon, Kevin-Rossen, iFilms, pomomusings, pitch-his-tent, video[/tags]

18 thoughts on “When sermons go awry…

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  4. Steve

    This is PRICELESS! And what a great guy to be able to laugh at himself with the rest of the world. I’d love to have my kids sit in his services.

  5. Rich Post author

    Thanks for the kudos, Steve.

    My college Christian Ed teacher (whose identity I shall protect here!) once gave a message at the Women’s Ministries luncheon at General Council (Indianapolis, 1997). During this talk, he highlighted his passion for Christian Education. Trying to communicate and impart some of his zeal, he screwed his face up, brought his clenched hands toward his heart, and said with quiet intensity (don’t forget, this is a WM’s luncheon at GC, chock full of nicely coiffed pastor’s wives):

    “I just wish I could unzip and show you my passion!”

    There was definitely a nervous titter, several amused grins, and a brief pause as my mentor recollected his thoughts and zippered right back into his message.

    They say it happens to the best of us. I dearly wish there was an archive of choice sermonic gaffes from the likes of Haddon Robinson, John Piper, Billy Graham. That would be fun to listen to on a long drive to the in-laws!

  6. matt

    I know blake, and i’ve know him for a little while. I ran into him this past week at Catalyst. Every random person from DC, Ohio, California, Florida starts asking for their picture with him, and to get his autograph. I’m thinking — “what in the world is going on?”. Then, one of the guys there shares with me the video on his laptop — right there.

    aaahhh… what an experience of community. To be united with other believers in Jesus Christ through the blunders of one. It was great fun for all, and like always — Blake took it very well in stride!

  7. Emily

    Blake is my youth pastor at Southeast Christian and he is so hilarious that I can’t imagine anyone funnier! You might just think of him as a strange guy, and there are stories about hime that will confirm that!

    He will walk into a fast food restaurant and when he sees the lady at the register who looks upset, he’ll go tell her about the best party ever that he just went to: CHURCH! He does this often enough that we are able to meet those people that he invites. One of them, Edwardo who works at Krispy Kream, brought all of us (hundreds) donuts! After we took offering, Blake handed the basket to Edwardo.

    Blake is the most loving -kid I know! He likes to call himself God’s favorite coffee mug; he’s the one chosen to do a bunch of stuff for God, and he wants us to be that coffee mug too! I think he’s awesome, and the fact that I was there at the “pitch your tents” service makes it all the more awesome!

  8. Dave

    I’m in charge of video/multimedia/technical stuff for youth events at a large church in Australia. I first saw the video clip a few days ago and was reminded of that last night when the computer did something dumb and played a video without pictures! It’s good to know everybody is human, and good on you for laughing your way through it, Blake! I just tend to hide behind the video desk…

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  10. nyrgurl


    Hey brother what’s going on. You are amazing to listen to You’re kind of funny. You also did fabulous at NYR this year.

    Awesome dude, So you preach at a church in Parker, Colorado ?
    Wow that is kool. So do you think you will come back to NYR next year ? You outta email me sometime man. “Blessed be the name of the Lord” Amen Brother


  11. Rich Post author

    Sorry, Jennifer, I am not Blake Bergstrom, and he is not affiliated with this weblog in any way. I only capitalized on his innate sense of humor to drive traffic to my weblog. If you want to contact Blake, try the email address currently listed by his name on the Southeast Christian Center’s website, here.


  12. ches

    This reminds me of the time my friend was leading worship in church, and he began to say, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”, but instead blurted out, “Let everything that has breasts…”

  13. allie

    awww. that’s my pastor. and basically my best friend. we always had the best conversations. especially at my church, southeast. and there were always moments when we would cry and laugh together. we had the best convo at CIY, and to make me laugh, he reminded me of this incident. i love blake. and his wife and four daughters! i miss him so much though. i feel so bad that no one will ever let it go that he got a little dyslexic.

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