Popcorn Preaching

If you’ve never heard of popcorn preaching it’s sort of like open mic night for young or less talented speakers to get up and “preach” for a few minutes. I’m always fascinated to watch teenage preacher boys develop their yelling style. They’re so earnest. And trying so hard.

You can tell this one is a star pupil by the way he doesn’t even bother to crack his Bible.

Other examples can be seen here and here

113 thoughts on “Popcorn Preaching”

    1. You mean you never thought of trying to be first? Neither did I, until I saw a post with no comments. Then suddenly the “first” bug bites and you just have to try. πŸ™‚

  1. It looks like young grasshopper here has learned his lessons well from the masters. Let us count the ways:

    1) Yell your message, no matter the content
    2) Pace back and forth like a caged animal
    3) Occassionally dismount from the sacred desk and come down to the level of the un-annointed pew dwellers (because we all know the ground at the cross is level, amen?)
    4) Randomly point at people or nothing
    5) Clap when making a point
    6) Yell the word “Hey” like you would at a stray dog that was about to take a crap on your lawn.

    1. 7)Just quote hymns for filler rather than opening a Bible
      8)Make sure to get in your obligatory hat tip to the pastor
      9)Mention his daughter to keep open the inside track of you still becoming son-in-law

      1. You provided me with my first chuckle of the day! I tried to tell you this morning but my computer wouldn’t let me. So thanks, even though its late.

    2. Thanks for translating…again. It was all just incomprehensible yelling to me, much like the dad in A Christmas Story.

  2. Watching this, I was just wondering what Paul would think about how we “do church”. I believe he wouldn’t even recognize the Christianity that we see today.

    1. Be careful. It upsets the fundy folk when you point out that they are not an actual Book of Acts Church, but a culturally adapted church that is loosely based on the Book of Acts Church.

  3. What ever happened to preach the Word. I hate it when songs are used as a text and not the Bible. πŸ™

  4. Ok. The still frame shot of him in his brown suit with hand raised out started all the connections. Youth rally-check. Energetic, charismatic speaker whipping up a crowd-check. Yelling speaker, yelling crowd, no one can understand either one-check. Skin head haircut-check. Drawing the crowd in on performance rather than content-check.

    Does this remind anyone else of a certain vertically challenged captivating leader of a northern European country from the mid 20th century and his followers?

    1. That’s good Eric. Allow me the freedom to expand on your connections with comparisons from a higher level view of fundystan:

      A sense of superiority over every other “type” of people – check
      A desire to burn books that disagree with the party line – check
      A desire to “go into all the world” and spread their “message” – check
      An inability for an individual to speak against the ruler without repercussions – check

      1. that last one (can’t speak “against” the leader) is THE most frightening one to me, and – being from Germany – I have drawn the same parallel…what time in history would that remind you of? was it a good time??? nooooo, but of course church is different (unless it isn’t which it is)

    2. That’s EXACTLY what I was reminded of, Eric, simply from the still picture: the brown suit, the shaved head, the salute.

      It only added to the effect when I noticed the thrust-out arm from a man in the audience as well as the super-short haircut on the guy to the far left.

      1. Not to mention the coincidence that his hand is held out over the middle of the cross.

        This man is all too ready to be a fundy substistute Priest.

    3. That stiff-armed salute is really something.
      “Hail, Caesar! We, who are about to lie, salute you!”

      1. Ave Caesar! Qui dixerit mendacium, salutent vos!

        (Back in Catholic grade school, I used to wonder why the heck I needed to learn Latin. For times like this, I guess!)

  5. Now this post really brings back some bad memories! I used to be one of the poor fools who had to do this…even up to the skinhead haircut! πŸ‘Ώ
    Normally you don’t get more than 5 or 10 minutes to get through your outline which you prob spent hours on.

    I used to really get peeved when THEY would pick the subject for you and you wouldn’t know what it was gonna be until they picked it out of a hat when you got up there.

    I just never could understand why it was so fun to make a joke out of preaching…now I see it. The joke’s on them now. πŸ™„

  6. I well remember preacher boy night. Each boy (or young man, age 10 and up) would be given 10 minutes for his little sermon. Most of the time they were nervous and you couldn’t even hear them. But they’d get it all in, the Bible passage, the prayer, the message and sometimes they’d even have an invitation! I always thought of it as cute back in those days. πŸ™„

  7. In Pulpit Speech class at BJU, we weren’t taught to yell, but I was told over and over that my “teaching” style of preaching would be less likely to change lives than if I raised my voice at the right times and gestured more.

    (ps I’m a nurse now, and changing more lives for the better than I ever would have as a fundy preacher)

    1. You’re a male nurse? I always hated being asked that question. Depending on the patient, i might answer, “last time i checked”. I’m nurse too. Don’t work as one, but keep my license up.

        1. For the same reason you never hear anyone referred to as a male doctor. Stereotypes. Men are doctors, women are nurses. But that’s changing big time and it’s time we left off the labels male this or female that, man this or woman that.

        2. My question was meant to be rhetorical. πŸ˜•

          But times are changing. I’ve had a bunch of female doctors and male nurses, and vice versa.

        3. Because most reasonable people don’t believe in tautology. That’s like saying “automatic transmission” when just “transmission” would suffice. You only need to call it out if it’s a manual.

        4. At my fundy church I was told that ALL male nurses are gay. πŸ˜• I hate their stereotyping…

        5. It’s absolutely false that all male nurses are gay. Not that some of them aren’t as with any other occupation.
          A good friend of mine is a nurse and is a happily-married, heterosexual man

        6. “Not that some of them aren’t as with any other occupation.”

          ^^^ Horrible syntax there. What I meant was that some male nurses are gay (and so are some truck drivers, miners, drill sergeants, etc.), but many are straight.

        7. I had a very straight male (army officer) nurse present at the birth of my child. It was either L&D or some crappy med surg floor and he decided he’d rather deal with cute babies :). Best nurse I ever had. (and I’m a female nurse…)

        8. For some reason I keep thinking of one of Bill Crosby’s comedy routines, when, as a little boy in the hospital getting his tonsils out, he yells to the nurse: “Hey! You! Almost a doctor!” Insulting, but it still comes off as funny. πŸ˜• πŸ™‚

        9. Oop, I meant COSBY not CROSBY 😳 there is a considerable difference!

    2. From someone who spent 6 entire months in the hospital a couple of years ago, thank you! You’re definitely doing more good than any fundy preacher ever could! Especially if you’re one of the awesome nurses who knows how to administer morphine or dilaudid *just right* so that the patient gets a nice little extra buzz for about 15 minutes afterwards. Almost worth being deathly ill just for that! πŸ˜‰

  8. Wow, that looked familiar! Right down to the Teen Choir in the background and the Baptistry mural – that strongly resembled the church I grew up in!

  9. I never went to a youth rally in a button down shirt and tie. Last year we had a district youth event and the over 50 year old pastors that planned it called it a “rally”. I just made the posters as I was asked.

    I noticed that there were empty folding chairs in the aisle. Must if wanted to create a fire hazard so they could meet Jesus quicker.

    As a licensed lay speaker in the United Methodist Church , I would have to make the foll

    1. Following observations:

      PB 1 – get rid of the keys hanging off your pants. Unless you are wanting them to be impressed with the amount of keys you got.

      PB 2 – wait until they find the passage before you start to read. Also make sure you know all the people on the story, don’t say I can’t remember his name.

      PB 3 – I wad most impressed with him. He had his sermon written out. He waited for people to find the passage, and he used several passages. But don’t carry the paper around.

      1. re PB1: If you have too many keys, you’ll be mistaken for the poor janitor instead of the man of gid.

    2. Random thought…..A Catholic friend once said that not all Catholics believe the Pope of her generation believes the Pope is inflammable – I wonder if this guy thinks *he* is?

      1. The word “inflammable” instead of “infallible” gives it a more interesting twist. πŸ˜•

  10. West Virginia: where calling everyone in the church “brother” and “sister” is more than just a Christian tradition.

  11. It annoys me that when the crowd is worked up and screaming “Haymen” or something so much that I cannot hear what the speaker is saying – is he teaching falsehood? Just because it’s said in a loud voice does not mean that it is true.

    1. Is it my imagination, or is that preacher boy’s head too big for his body?

      (Literally, I mean.)

      1. Pffffffft. Don’t stoop to making personal comments, for crying out loud. It’s better to stick to the real issue. Just sayin’…

  12. He didn’t quote the Bible but he did quote “Amazing Grace”… Isn’t that the same thing?


    1. I’ve heard sermons based on hymns, pop songs, movies, TV shows, Erma Bombeck columns, news events, you name it.
      I visited a United Methodist church where the pastor kept quoting Oprah while showing Oprah’s picture with Power Point. My wife refused to go back to that church, even after it changed pastors.

  13. Well, how convenient to have the church covenant really NICE AND BIG in front of the church. Nothing says “Come to me all ye that are heavy laden” like a big proclamation of RULES.

  14. Looks more like Demagogue 101 than preaching. I kept looking for a swastika on his shoulder.

  15. You may wonder what is the purpose of this Carnival del blas-phe-mie? Experiential emotional manipulation and personal ego inflation. This is mockery of true preaching. This is the Super Bowl of preach-o-mercials.
    You may only have five minutes to preach to someone, what are you going to say? What you say may determine where they spend eternity and their blood may be on your hands if you can’t preach to them in the allotted time. Remember your god depends on you!
    Some “pastors” hole these once a year (generally around New Years because they have run out of material and use these circuses to find new material to use. That is why they are limited to five minutes, the M-O-g doesn’t want them to fully develop a sermon that he may want to steal and use for himself.
    This farce is also known as the “Cowbell Service.”
    see: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2010/06/ministry-updates-with-evangelist-lee-dean/

    1. Guys, everything sounds good. But I gotta tell ya, I think we need more cowbell…now take it from the top.

  16. *sigh* There is a guy in my parents’ church who came back after going to Golden State Baptist. Now he works for the church. I was there one day visiting my mom at the school. He engages in conversation with me and says, “You know, I’m trying to perfect my Hyles voice.” I’m like, “Dude. Just be yourself.” And he kept insisting that no, no, the way to go was to preach like Hyles. God, am I glad I left.

    1. Last time I went to my ex-church, this guy (who’d had a huge crush on me back in high school) was talking to me about all he’d learned about preaching at HAC, and I could tell by his tone that he thought this was some sort of fundy pick-up line. I was actually embarrassed *for* him.

        1. I was a fan of corrupting preacher boys back in high school. 😈 But…I’m 25, I’m getting old! I just don’t have that kind of patience anymore. I’ll take my guys pre-ruined, thank you!

      1. Huh. I got that a few times – fundy guys telling me about messages they were working on. I guess they thought it was a turn-on.

        1. Yeah, I wonder if maybe some preacher’s wives are just into S&M, and think being yelled at is a turn-on!

    2. Well, I’m married, but he is always trying to get my husband and me to return to that church. (We go to a non-denom; my husband was never a Baptist.) However, he did express disappointment because I was driving my husband’s open-body Jeep; from what he said, women who know their place do not know how to drive such manly things as Jeeps.

      1. That reminds me of something I read recently:

        “A report in Saudi Arabia has warned that if Saudi women were given the right to drive, it would spell the end of virginity in the country.”


        As much as they rant against “Mohammedans” (as my ex-preacher would call them), IBF fundies must be jealous of Muslim fundies. If only they could stone or behead gays and harlots! And apostates. *Especially* apostates. πŸ™„

        1. “A report in Saudi Arabia has warned that if Saudi women were given the right to drive, it would spell the end of virginity in the country.”

          We can only hope …

      2. A woman who knows her place would never know how to drive such manly things as jeeps?!? Oh brother. πŸ™„ πŸ™„
        Wonder what he would think of women like me who are in “manly” careers such as electronics and also know how to use such manly tools as torque wrenches, electric screw drivers, air wrenches and the like? :mrgreen:

        1. I don’t know what he’d think of my friend Barbara, a long-haul big-rig truck driver.

          On second thought, I can probably guess what he would think of Barbara.

  17. The louder you are, the ‘righter’ you are—-HAYMAN!

    I’ve been to some “preachers conferences” that were like this. I always wondered what I would speak on if asked. Then I realized that wouldn’t happen. They would probably be afraid I would say something from the Bible, not the hymnal or the “Separated Fundamentalist Sermon List.”

    1. That list is a long, long list. I’ve never seen it, but I think my dad had a personal copy. He quoted from it a lot. πŸ˜€

  18. Eeewwww…. πŸ™ Just practice your tirade on them kids why don’t ya. Clap your hand, stomp your feet, walk around yelling and turning dark red, say “hey” every few seconds unless the kids’ minds start searching for relief from your tirade, don’t let it happen… 😈 atta boy from west virginia.

  19. At my former Fundy church wannabe preachers would get their big chance on watchnight services. They were preselected for quality purposes, which also depended upon where they fit in the social pecking order of Bible college students. (At this Bible college the administration is definitely a respecter of persons. PKs are gold because their daddy sends more customers….I mean students)

    I remember this one asst. pastor’s kid who literally switched up his voice to sound just like some other big-named preacher…Loud voice to emphasize certain words. A totally legalistic sermon.


    It was painful to watch.

  20. I always hated these events. I felt like such a fraud standing up and “preaching”, but never felt like I could decline. And listening to the other kids my age was just as tough. It’s hard to listen to a kid rail against sin when he’s the kid who just passed to you the porn he found.

    1. The legalism and the berating is bad enough, but if that were combined with personal knowledge of the speaker’s hidden, unconfessed sins, I don’t think I could sit through it.

      What a riddled and faulty foundation so much of the IFB has built for itself, when they promote outward appearance and man-made standards over true repentance and humility before God.

    2. There it is.
      Later on they find out about someone’s personal faults and then mount the pulpit and make it sound as if they had special revelation from God himself. through their special relationship with god they have had it revealed to them that there is sin in the camp. Then they proceed to preach hard against it as they cast lots in the pulpit until they reveal the sin. This is done in such a way it makes the M-O-g look very pious and so intune with god that they can discern sin because of the time they agonize in prayer over their sheep. (All con artists and magicians love to pull this on their audiences, it gives them credibility. Foreknowledge being passed off as new revelation.)

      Yep, I was once one of their rubes and watched a man be run out of the church because the pastor had foreknowledge of his sin. But it was preached as if the M-O-g was privy to supernatural revelation from God. It was a real Joshua reveals Achan moment.

  21. Reaching the Next Generation…

    …with even less truth,and less Bible than the previous one.

    …with more guilt than ever before.

    … with experiential emotionalism for the glory of M-O-g.

    … with a false gospel

  22. When I was first exposed to the BJU subculture at my fundie HS, the whole concept of “preacher boy competitions” threw me. I wondered, how could presentation of the gospel, or preaching, be a SPORT, with competitions, judges and prizes? And furthermore, was it “biblical?”

    Yet it all was perfectly accepted and celebrated in that fundie world.

    I still don’t get it.

    1. In high school when I was on my fundy school’s Bible Quiz team, we would go to the NCCSA fine arts competition every year at Beacon Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. They had competitive preaching there. Our Bible Quiz coach (also my fundy church’s asst. pastor) would always try to get my brother, who was a “preacher boy” to do it, but he didn’t think it was right, either.

      I don’t like the idea of competitive preaching, either. I’m really surprised that fundies don’t think it is wrong.

  23. This reminds me of another video I saw once, only there were a LOT more people attending and it was in German or something…

    1. Yep, that’s what he said.
      Apparently, grace saved him from a lifetime of loosening and tightening nuts and bolts.

  24. I’ve actually been to this church before. My youth group used to go to their youth rally all the time. I think they’ve had that same banner up every time I went.

  25. Wow, how horrible to say male nurses are gay. Why because we are caring people? What a jerk. Once I got to take care of a male stripper in our ER. He was mad he got me and not a female.

    1. If he goes to the ER, in a ton of pain, and there’s a male nurse, we’ll see if he changes his tune. Probably not, though, because then he can say he’s suffered for Jesus.

  26. Strange Warm, aren’t you like the pot calling the kettle black? Aren’t you engaging in the same ignorant stereotypes by your your use of “male stripper?” Why do you feel the need to call out that he was gay? Why not just say “stripper” and leave it at that?

  27. OOps- Freudian slip. I meant to say, why do you feel the need to call out that he was male (not gay)?

  28. Sex Workers of America Unite! It’s time to put a stop to sexism and classism that says a stripper must be a female. Men can be strippers too. Down with stereotypes!

    1. That was why I used it as an adjuctive, so readers knew it was not a female stripper. The strip club was having ladies night. I don’t care if someone says I had a male nurse. I don’t like it when I say I’m a nurse and they say oh your a male nurse.

  29. Strangely Warmed, I still am suspicious of you. You seem to not be able to talk about strippers without a qualifier. You mention male strippers and just couldn’t stop yourself from mentioning that of course it was ladies night. Why do you feel the need to say that? Homophobia? What if a guy wants to be a male stripper at a gay club where it’s never ladies night? Do you think there’s something “wrong” with that?

  30. This is just like the “North VS South” at Oklahoma Baptist College where the preacher boys had 5 minutes to “Preach” and at the end of the night Jim Vineyard declared a winner.

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