Saturday-night special, Saturday-night syndrome

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The last thing a preacher wants is to stay up all night Saturday working on a sermon and then have to preach it in the morning. Well, that’s what a “Saturday-night special” is.

definition of saturday night special, saturday night syndromeChristianese isn’t used only by the people in the pews. Preachers and pastors use Christianese too, and sometimes they have their own special Christianese terms that the average Christian doesn’t hear about. When preachers and pastors talk with each other, they sometimes salt their conversation with these special Christianese terms that I like to call pastorese (get it? pastor plus –ese, just like Christianese is Christian plus –ese). Pastorese is just a fancy name for the Christianese spoken primarily by pastors and preachers.

These two terms, Saturday-night special and Saturday-night syndrome, definitely count as pastorese. In a way, it makes perfect sense that pastors and preachers would need to have a few Christianese words to call their own. The average Christian in the pews doesn’t have to worry about whether there will be a sermon ready by Sunday morning—the average Christian in the pew just expects that there will be. But preachers and pastors can all sympathize with each other about those busy weeks when it seems like there just isn’t enough time to put a few thoughts together into a sermon. By coining a special term like Saturday-night special, the preachers and pastors can at least have a little laugh and remember that all preachers have had to pull an all-nighter at least once in their career.

What other pastorese terms have you heard of? Are there any that you’ve heard that you’d like to know what they mean?

Saturday-night special n. Pastorese A sermon written or prepared on Saturday night and then preached at church the following morning.
See also *Saturday-night syndrome.
1977 Self The Saturday Night Special: Sermon Helps and Ideas for Busy Pastors [title] 1978 Redford Planting New Churches 139 : Joe Mahoney was famed for his “Saturday Night Specials.” Mahoney’s specials weren’t the cheap, small-caliber, generally unreliable pistols sold in pawn shops; his were the dull, uninteresting, small-caliber, cheap sermons he put together late on Saturday night. 1988 De Brand Guide to Biographical Preaching 31 : The bane of preaching is the “Saturday-night special,” the sermon hastily prepared just prior to its delivery, with no real thought or serious study given to it. 1992 Gruber Children’s Church: Turning Your Circus into a Service 49 : The Saturday night special may work for you once in a while, but soon the children will know that you are not prepared. 1998 Nelson The New Thing: Cutting-Edge Ideas for 21st Century Ministry from Progressive Leaders in the Wesleyan Heritage 131 : Saturday night specials—those late night, thrown-together messages—may get me through in a crisis, but they are not acceptable week to week. 2003 Nigro Bethesda 34 : The big item, Sunday’s sermon, screamed at me from the notepad. I still had no text, much less an outline. However, I was far too preoccupied to think about it right now. More than likely I’d be serving up another Saturday night special. 2007 McMullen Releasing the Power of the Smaller Church 45 : Preachers know that a “Saturday Night Special” is not a cheap handgun or a meat loaf at the diner. It’s a sermon, usually not very original or convicting, that goes from zero to complete in a couple of hours on Saturday evening (or Sunday morning, if you have the gift of procrastination). 2012 Neff Saturday Night Specials: Sermon Starters for the Busy Pastor [title]
Saturday-night syndrome n. Pastorese The anxiety experienced by a preacher who starts writing or preparing a sermon on the Saturday night before it will be preached at church.
See also *Saturday-night special.
2000 McCoy Worrying Mind (7 May) : In the preaching trade there’s that thing called the “Saturday night syndrome,” and what that is, is the anxiety caused by putting off the sermon until Saturday night. 2005 Cairns Preach the Word! 139 : The pastor will get to know the Bible and become more proficient in using it as he pores over it in his study to meet his own needs as well as those of his people. The “Saturday night” syndrome of no message for the morrow will be replaced by a sense of the riches of the Bible. 2006 Dalzell The New Partridge Dict. of Sl. and Unconventional Eng. : \zdeffer{ (United States) The stress and fear suffered by preachers who wait until Saturday night to write their Sunday sermon.}
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