Church Mistakenly Employs Homeless Musician For 3 Years Thinking He Was New Youth Pastor

SAVAGE, MN—Scandal erupted at Dakota Avenue Christian Church on Sunday, as it was revealed that beloved and long-standing youth pastor Blake Dickinson, who goes by the name “Rhino,” was actually just a homeless guitar player that had wandered into a service several years ago.

An internal investigation revealed that Dickinson had been sitting on the corner of Dakota Avenue and First Street one summer morning, playing acoustic covers of Radiohead songs in hopes of scoring some change from passersby. Wandering into the church to ask if he could use the restroom, he was immediately assumed to be the new youth pastor, due to the guitar he was carrying, as well as his unkempt looks, Birkenstock sandals, and distinct patchouli scent.

When the real youth pastor hire arrived, security stopped him at the church’s entrance, claiming he was far too clean-shaven and qualified-looking to be a youth pastor.

“I didn’t mean no harm,” Dickinson told reporters. “I just walked in the back and the kids was real nice, askin’ my name and what not. They told me it was time for music, so I started rocking some Pearl Jam and White Stripes. They was all singin’ along.” Dickinson then explained that he started telling his life story, which the kids took to be a sermon, finished up with a few original songs, and interacted with the kids afterward, playing hacky-sack and ping-pong before “raiding the fridge.” The kids begged him to come back the next week, and so he continued his ministry for years, undisturbed.

Rhino’s true identity was only revealed when a worker at the soup kitchen where he and his youth group were volunteering recognized him as one of their regulars, blowing his cover and forcing the church to remove him from ministry.

“We’re all going to miss Rhino,” the leadership board said in a statement. “In the meantime we’ll be diligently looking for a new, actually qualified youth pastor. One with a high school diploma or GED, or at least some kind of certificate or something.”