This is just one example from the list. A Sydney man first started with a travel agency, he accidentally booked a client on the wrong flights.
He explains: "There's a lot of cities out there and it's hard to learn all the codes. I had a client wanting to go to San Jose, California. I was booking the flights but the city code for San Jose is SJC and I accidentally used the one for San Jose, Costa Rica, which is SJO.
"No one ever noticed and it was only when the person was on the flight that they realised what was going on. Once they landed they couldn't even get through customs because they didn't have any paperwork about where they were staying and so forth.
"Finally my manager was notified and was absolutely furious at me. We both had to go back into the office at 3am in the morning and had to get them back to California. They had to hang out in Costa Rica for six hours before they could catch another flight. When they got home there was much grovelling, discounts and bottles of wine!"
All this had me pondering on the numerous Minister / Church stuff-ups and they too are legion.
These are a short list of Minister / Church stuff-ups but which only represent a very tiny list and if you ever have a chance to talk to a Minister's secretary many years after retirement you might hear many hilarious stories of similar ilk.
The Minister's False Teeth
The Minister had false teeth and it was known by the congregation members that they were none-too tight in the mouth-fitting-department. When in conversation one could not help but notice that his tongue would be continually sweeping across his front teeth to secure them in place. As a much loved Minister everyone handled this minor situation with aplomb and some humour.
There were nonetheless numerous occasions they came out when preaching with his enthusiastic plunges in emphasis. The false teeth inevitably bounced on the pulpit, he was quick at hand by snatching them on the upwards movement and reset them into his mouth then sweeping the back of his hand across his mouth in an expression of preacher's exhaustion.
The Minister's Parking Spot
Many Ministers have their own clearly marked parking spot, but many smaller churches have never bothered with such a task. This particular Minister always parked his car next to the rear of the church building. Everyone in the congregation recognised this was the place where the Minister's car would be parked. He was usually at the church early and parking in that spot was never a drama.
On one occasion visitors from another city came to the church and unaware of the time of the morning service, turned up a full hour early, and parked their car in this Minister's car park spot thinking that their car would be out of the way and not disrupt the usual vehicle movement of Sunday mornings.
The Minister had had a bad week, there had been several tense meetings with church leaders, the finances were tight, missionary giving was down, the pressure was on. He drove his car into the church yard and found that another vehicle was parked there with inter-state number plates and assumed he'd been replaced and he left, never to return.
The Speeding Minister and the Policeman
It may be of interest that a recent survey came out that Ministers have more motor vehicle accidents than any other specific group of professionals. There are a number of reasons for this as Ministers are driving their car more often than most professionals. The statistical analysis % was therefore not disproportional. But Ministers are one group of professionals who carry the weight of many of his parishioners and their minds are quite literally 'out of this world' and driving concentration might occasionally lapse.
All that being said, many Ministers also have 'angel foot' on their accelerators. In other words their desire to get from A to B is governed not by road rules but by the pastoral necessity to get there with some urgency. If Ministers had those police 'car roof magnetic' blue lights, they'd be on 100% of the time.
The Police are generally forgiving in such circumstances but not the stationary radar . On one occasion the Minister was pulled up, yes, he was travelling a little quick, and in Australia its no uncommon for the driver to alight from his vehicle and sit in the police car for the breath test and a chat.
The policeman asked in jest whether the Minister had had communion that morning, took the breath test, was cleared and obviously the Policeman needed to have someone to talk with. Usually its the congregation are the confined audience, but on this occasion the Minister was the one in such a captured situation. He sat there for 40 minutes.
There have been several books by Ministers spelling out their pastoral experiences, especially in rural parishes.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at