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What A Pastor Wants to Say Posted 6.06.2014

There is some risk in what I put in print this morning.  I subscribe to a blog update from Thom Rainer, the Southern Baptist church trend guru.  Often he points out some area of weakness to which I am careful to heed.  A couple of weeks ago, he wrote a piece listing what pastors would really like to say to their congregation.  His original list had nine things – but I’ve done some editing.  But this morning I am going to be real.  Real honest.  And, share his (edited) list.  And I think that I speak for all on staff.

  1. “I will have bad days, and it will show at times.” A pastor is supposed to be “on” all the time. But it is difficult. I know there are times I speak out of turn. I know there are times when I’m too tired to listen well. I will try not to show my bad days, but I will slip at times.
  2. “Not all of my sermons will be ‘home runs.’” I wish they were. But I won’t always be the stellar preacher you want me to be. Indeed, I won’t always be the stellar preacher I want to be.
  3. “I am sensitive about my salary.” There are few people who work in a place where everyone in the organization is the boss. That is the nature of church work. But when you make disparaging comments about my pay and my related work, it cuts me to the core.
  4. “I struggle when the church numbers are down.” I know I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t derive my worth based on attendance and offerings. But when attendance declines or offerings drop, I question my own leadership at the church.
  5. “Please don’t criticize me or ask me to do something right before I preach.” I put many hours into sermon preparation. I have prayed with intensity about the message. Please don’t tell me the worship center is too cold right before I preach.
  6. “I cannot show up at every place all of you would like me to be.” I jokingly told a pastor friend that I wish I could be omnipresent, and he laughed and agreed. I love you church members, but it is physically impossible to be all the places you expect me to be.
  7. “I hurt deeply when good people don’t defend me.” Every leader will have his or her critics; and that is certainly the case with pastors. I don’t expect to be immune from criticisms. But what hurts me the most is the silence of “good” members when I am attacked unfairly. Please say a kind word about me in response to the negativity you hear. Don’t let the few critics dominate the conversation.

So there you have it.  A glimpse into the pastoral world.  I did leave some things out – because they are not true about Peninsula.  And, most of these are rare these days.  But sometimes it is good for you to sit in my seat.  Just for a minute.  And for me to sit in yours.  That’s next.


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