Stromberg Has Pastors Laughing All Evening

Post a Comment » Written on January 31st, 2006     
Filed under: News
By Stan Friedman

CHICAGO, IL (January 31, 2006) – Standing in front of a giant banner that bore the theme of this week’s Midwinter Pastors Conference – “Great is the Lord who delights in the welfare of his people” – comedian Bob Stromberg had more than 1,000 ministers whistling the theme to The Andy Griffith Show during Monday evening’s opening worship service.

Accompanying the gathering on guitar, he asked them, “When was the last time you did this in church?”

In introducing Stromberg, David Kersten, executive minister of the Department of the Ordered Ministry, told the gathering the importance of pastoral health and the value of laughter. And laugh they did – throughout the evening performance – with many people wiping tears from their eyes during the hour-long routine that was part of the opening night’s worship service.

Stromberg regaled the crowd with stories such as living with an overprotective mother obsessed with the probability that her son would catch pneumonia. “Pneumonia was a constant threat in my house,” he said.

A lifelong Covenanter who grew up in the Alleghany Mountains of northern Pennsylvania, he told of accepting Jesus as his savior at age five with a prayer that included, “I want to be your boy.” He said he once was asked by officials of another denomination not to share that story during a performance – seems there was a debate among people of that denomination whether a child that age could make such a decision.

Stromberg told Monday night’s crowd that “God speaks to whoever he wants to, whenever he wants to.”

The comedian also told the story of his music teacher who had accidentally tucked her skirt into her girdle before walking on stage for the town’s elementary school Christmas program. There, before hundreds of people, she revealed what should not be revealed. He spoke of her humiliation and how no one spoke of the event for more than a decade. He then went on to note that some day, all that we have ever said or done will be revealed to everyone. “So if you’re interested, just be patient,” he quipped.

We can walk confidently, he suggested, knowing that God will not hold those sins against us, but will remove them “as far as the east is from the west.” He ended with everyone singing the song, “As the East is from the West.”

Aleese Moore-Orbih will speak at Tuesday night’s worship service on how pastors can encourage their congregations to be advocates for the abused.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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