Winner of the Most Embarrassing Moment Contest

Last week I offered a free registration to the WorshipGod08 conference for the person who had the funniest story from a time they led corporate worship. There were some great contributions. Reading them made me freshly aware that God does indeed use the foolish and the weak to accomplish his purposes (1 Cor. 1:27).

Contributions included playing an entire song in the wrong key, encouraging the members of the congregation to turn to each other and say, “How great thou art,” falling over as a result of a leg falling asleep, burping, confusing being prostrate before the Lord with being prostate, starting the wrong song, and more. Two had to do with the problems of technology. One leader sent me a recording of what happened at the end of the time of singing. The drummer accidentally hit a button he shouldn’t have. You can listen for yourself…


This one was good, too, sent in by Rich:

As is often the case with newly married men, I put on quite a few pounds following our honeymoon. It was a gradual thing, but all of my clothing began to feel just a wee bit tighter. One Sunday while leading the congregation, I dropped my guitar pick on the ground. As I bent down to pick it up, I heard a dreadful sound: RRRRIIIPPP! Suddenly, things felt a little breezier in the rump region — I had split my pants! I had to walk off the stage while doing a little sideways shuffle so I could continue facing the congregation. My pastor wanted me to do a song after the message, but after a quick and whispered explanation of the issue at hand, he graciously released me from the responsibility…. but he did tell me to go on a diet!

This one came in late because it happened this past Sunday. But it was a definite contender:

I was leading worship during our 9 am service this past Sunday, we experienced a technical train wreck of epic proportions. The preaching pastor was praying to close his sermon and the band returned to the stage to play our closing set. As soon as he finished, our pianist attempted to start the first song only to find that she was still muted. We were ALL still muted. Our sound tech had fallen asleep and forgot to turn on the instruments! I quickly realized what had happened and decided that I had no choice but to yell out to him from the stage, “Bryce, turn on the piano!” An awkward few seconds go by and still nothing. I shout again. After both of my comments, (and persistent nudging from the guy running slides sitting next to him), he finally regained consciousness and turned everything on. When we finally started playing, (audibly), about thirty seconds had gone by but it felt more like thirty minutes.

Here’s what I picked as the winner, sent in by Seth and Crystal Grotzke:

The most embarrassing thing I did as a worship leader took place while I was living in Lima, Peru during college. I was helping at a local church leading music and teaching, learning Spanish at the same time. While standing in front of everyone, I told everyone “Todos pueden sentirse.” Translated it means, “You all may feel yourselves.” I should have changed sentir to sentar [meaning you may all sit down]. The sad part is, that wasn’t the only time I made the mistake.

Nothing quite like leading worship in another language. Can’t wait for heaven, where we won’t have these problems any more!

I’ll have another contest next week.

17 Responses to Winner of the Most Embarrassing Moment Contest

  1. adam herod March 18, 2008 at 1:35 PM #

    Bob…I’m assuming you mean you’ll have another “contest” as opposed to context. ;-) My favorite moment was from another worship leader leading “Better is One Day”. She was encouraging the congregation to sing out the bridge and shouted out; “Sing it again, My fart and lesh cry out.” That one still makes me giggle.

  2. Dluxe March 18, 2008 at 1:45 PM #

    Dr. Beat! How many times I battled you in the practice room, and now you have come to spite me once again…

    Those are *all* classics, Bob. Thanks to your readers for the cheer-up on a gloomy Tuesday.

  3. Stephen Altrogge March 18, 2008 at 2:25 PM #


    I love these stories! So good to be reminded of our lowliness. I would love to hear more stuff like this!

  4. Bob Kauflin March 18, 2008 at 2:50 PM #


    Thanks for the heads up on the typo.

  5. Zach Nielsen March 18, 2008 at 2:55 PM #

    About 7 or 8 years ago I was on stage leading worship with my guitar and wearing my killer Garth Brooks headset mic (that is embarrassing enough). Usually these mics are wireless, but this one was not. I was hardwired to the microphone input in the floor, but I had enough slack to move. After we finished the last song, our pastor came up to pray before his message. I set my guitar to the side and went to sit down by my wife in the 3rd row. Unfortunately, I forgot to unplug my mic. Before I could reach my wife I was violently jerked back and about landed in the lap of Steve Alford (who was at the time the basketball coach for the University of Iowa) who was seating near the front. In the process the cord that was still attached knocked over a music stand with a loud crash and then our pastor proceeded to make fun of me as I attempted to loosen myself from the clutches of that stupid headset mic. I guess that’s what I get for wearing that cheesy thing.

  6. Dani March 18, 2008 at 3:33 PM #

    Thank you! I loved reading these!

  7. Gabriel Gagnon March 18, 2008 at 4:34 PM #

    HAHAHA! Hilarious!!!

  8. Shawn Stinson March 18, 2008 at 6:20 PM #

    A friend of mine was asked to lead worship on short notice for a Sunday morning service at a small southern church. The only type of projection they had was an old overhead projector. My friend, wanting to be able to lead more than hymns, stayed up late into the night typing out lyrics onto clear sheets for the overhead projector.

    While leading the songs, he thought everything was going great as they transitioned from a hymn into the chorus “We Are Hungry”. Suddenly he noticed a good bit of laughter from the younger worshippers. Apparently spell check does not work if you type a sentence this way..
    “Lord I want more of You
    Living water rain down on me
    Lord I need more of You
    Living breath of life come and FEEL me up.”

    When he told me about it at lunch that day, I laughed til I cried.

  9. Thomas Clay March 19, 2008 at 10:20 AM #

    This one was told to me by a very good MM friend of mine. He was getting ready to lead the old hymn “Bring Ye All Your Tithes Into The Storehouse” and he announced it “Turn in your hymnals to Page (whatever) and let’s all sing Bring Ye All Your Tithes Into The Whorehouse”. Forgive the offensive word but you can imagine the embarrassment!

  10. Kyle March 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM #

    These are classic. Thanks for the good laugh, all who contributed, and Bob who posted them.

  11. Joe Mama March 19, 2008 at 7:15 PM #

    My friend and I were leading worship for a youth event, and leading into the second verse, my friend invited all the students to sing “Our farts… hearts unfold.” And Yes, I have a recording of it.

  12. Joe Mama March 19, 2008 at 7:16 PM #

    My apologies… leading into the second verse of “Not to Us”. I too need to proof read better.

  13. mark March 27, 2008 at 12:18 AM #

    a good friend of mine was leading worship down in south america (i can’t remember the country just now)… well there was a local running the sound board, and my friend was telling the guy to bring him up in the monitor mix… so he was pointing up with his thumb, then when the mix was right he gave him the “ok” sign.. no problem, right? except in that country, he had told the guy something akin to “up yours” or probably worse… he could see the guy was upset, and all of a sudden his voice was completely absent in the monitors for the rest of the night.. this was told to me as we were in south africa and getting the scoop on what americanisms were safe to say there – something to think about when you’re in another country!

  14. Ray April 6, 2008 at 2:37 PM #

    Bob, can you share some more of these? They are great!

  15. Jim Pemberton April 13, 2008 at 3:25 PM #

    My embarrassing worship experience was in Venezuela with an English-speaking team in a Spanish-speaking church. I attempted to teach them a simple praise song in both Spanish and English. The problem came when I had the bright idea to have them sing both together at the same time. It was a humorous train wreck and a lesson in disunity.

  16. Stephen Hinkle July 26, 2008 at 5:42 PM #

    I had the opportunity to lead worship at an African American church in southern California many years back. I was part of the team of a youth conference that went there several summers. Picture this – I have fair skin and red hair; knowing that info will make this situation all the more awkward! We were to sing after one of the main speakers, and the most appropriate song was “Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus”. However, we didn’t have lyrics to be projected. So, I just called out the phrases before we sang them to remind them of the words. All was fine until we got to the chorus. Me Speaking: “Oh, precious…” Everyone Singing: Oh, precious is the flow… Me Speaking: “That makes me white…” Everyone (supposed to be) Singing: That makes me white as snow… Oh, but they didn’t sing, they just laughed and laughed and laughed. I was mortified in thinking that I had just offended these good people, but all was good.

  17. Tatyana M August 7, 2018 at 7:48 PM #

    This was so helpful on a failure of my own experience. This is hilarious, thank you !

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