1. The Snake Salvation pastor who died from a snake bite
In 2014, a snake-handling pastor who appeared on TV’s Snake Salvation died after being bitten by a rattlesnake. Jamie Coots was holding the snake at his church in Middlesboro, Kentucky when he was bitten on the hand. He then refused to have medical treatment for the bite.
Coots had claimed that he needed the snakes for religious reasons and cited a passage in Mark’s gospel which reads: “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Coots’ son, also named Cody, said his father had been bitten eight times before but had never had such a severe reaction. He said the family thought he would recover as he had on previous occasions.
2. The pastor who was killed by crocodiles while trying to walk on water
A pastor in Zimbabwe was killed in early 2017 after being attacked by crocodiles. Pastor Jonathan Mthethwa attempted to recreate the biblical story of Jesus walking on water and was eaten by the animals.
According to reports, Mthethwa had walked into the aptly named Crocodile River (that should have been a red flag) and was around 30 meters from the bank when the animals attacked.
Eyewitness Deacon Nkosi, a member of the Saint of the Last Days Church, was quoted as saying: “The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week. He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he, unfortunately, ended up drowning and getting eaten by three large crocodiles in front of us. We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week.They finished him in a couple of minutes. All that was left of him is a pair of sandals and his underwear floating above the water.”
3. The pastor who dropped dead during his infidelity confession
When Bishop Bobby Davis stood behind his pulpit at Miracle Faith World Outreach Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2014 to confess his infidelity to his congregation, he keeled over as overwhelming chants of forgiveness rang out from sympathetic church members. Davis, who had been pastor of the popular church since 1967, was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.
The pastor, who was also a certified marriage and family therapist with a doctorate in ministry had celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Christine, a few months before. Together, they founded their present church.
Reportedly, the bishop did not decide to come clean to his congregants of his own fruition; instead, his wife insisted he confesses his shortcomings to the faithful after breaking the news to her.
4. The pastor who died after 30 days of fasting in an attempt to beat Jesus’ record
A South African pastor, Alfred Ndlovu, has died of malnutrition after going without food for 30 days when he tried to emulate Christ’s fast for 40 days and 40 nights.
The 44-year-old pastor left home for a nearby bush to pray and fast as Jesus did. He died just after a month. He was alone in the wilderness, and his body was found by a stranger who then called the authorities. He was known by his family and community at large as a very spiritual person whose faith could move mountains, and his death surprised everyone, even church members
5. The pastor who was electrocuted while performing a baptism
In 2005, a pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church after grabbing a microphone while partially submerged. Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was standing in water in a baptismal at University Baptist Church when he was shocked. The woman who was to be baptized was unharmed. The incident took place just minutes after the 800 members in attendance had prayed aloud: “Surprise me, God.”
6. The pastor who dropped dead during a sermon after saying, “If the Lord calls me now, I’m ready”
In 2015, a New Orleans pastor collapsed and died in the middle of preaching a sermon at Greater Saint Mary Baptist Church in New Orleans after declaring to his congregation: “If the Lord calls me now, I’m ready.”
Pastor Kenneth Green, 56, was preaching on the Book of Psalms in a sermon entitled “Down But Not Out” and made the ironic declaration shortly before collapsing, according to church member Joan Martin.
7. The preacher who died at the pulpit after saying “And when I go to heaven…”
In 2005, a Presbyterian minister collapsed and died at the pulpit after saying “And when I go to heaven….” The Rev. Jack Arnold, 69, was nearing the end of his sermon at Covenant Presbyterian Church when he grabbed the podium before falling to the floor. Just minutes earlier, Arnold quoted the 18th-century Bible scholar John Wesley, who said, “Until my work on this earth is done, I am immortal. But when my work for Christ is done … I go to be with Jesus.”
Several parishioners with medical backgrounds tried to revive Arnold and paramedics were called, but he died instantly. The cause of death was believed to be cardiac arrest.