What are five things you should never say to a church leader, worship leader, or pastor?
Here’s What I think You Should Do
There is nothing wrong with constructive criticism; but when someone voices it such as “This is what I think you should do,” it makes it seem like that person’s opinion is more important or that he or she knows more than the pastor does about whatever subject that’s being brought up. Perhaps a better way to approach something that you feel isn’t right in the church is to say, “Pastor, what do you think about this” or “What is your opinion about this?” This is a bit more respectful. As a pastor myself, I want to know if something is not right; and I am not above correction or reproach. But there is a better way to approach issues with the pastor or church leaders and still have the issue addressed.
We’re Church Hopping/We’re Here to Check You Out
Saying this to a church leader, worship leader, or pastor before services makes him feel that he’s under the microscope or he’s being test driven like a used car to see if he’s good enough to meet their standards. Instead, why not let the teaching and preaching be the judge of whether it’s good church to attend. To essentially tell someone “We want to check you out first and see if you’ll meet our expectations” is somewhat degrading to the leaders or pastors of the church.
What Do You Do All Week?
This one hurts, especially if the pastor and church leader is bivocational because they are very likely putting in more hours and a much harder schedule than the person who is asking this question. It makes the church leader or pastor feel that they really have it easy when they actually don’t. One man told a pastor friend of mine, “I wish I had your job so I could stay home and just read the Bible.” The truth is, this man had two funerals to do that week and had an emergency trip where he stayed all night with a member who was in critical condition. He had to work the next day at his job (being bivocational) and had many phone messages and emails that took him until late the next night to get through only about half of them.
I Wish I Had a Job Where I Work Only One Day a Week
This one really did come up once by someone who had just joined our church. But I later discovered that this person didn’t work at all; they lived with their mother. Now, they may have had good cause to not be working; but to tell me they wished they had a job where they had to work only one day a week wasn’t relevant to me at all. Some weeks my hours stretch 75 to 85 hours. I am bivocational, too, so in actuality I work seven days a week; but I try to rest after church on Sundays, at least when the phone doesn’t ring.
Too Many to Count
I was going to give you a fifth thing that people should never say to a pastor, worship leader, or church leader. However, there are so many more that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Listen to some of these things that church leaders, worship leaders, and other pastors have actually heard: Why can’t your wife play the piano? Your kids shouldn’t be acting like that. I have a real degree, not one from a seminary. Did you know that so and so is doing this or that (gossip)? What do you do with all your free time? You must have an easy job. It’d be nice to have to work only Sunday mornings. How much longer do you think you’ll be at our church? Did I wake you (a call at 1 a.m.)? I like your preaching, but I really like so and so. Have you heard what people are saying about you?
Pastors, worship leaders, and church leaders are like everyone else. They make mistakes, and they will make more in the future; so why not pray for them. They may be experiencing far more spiritual attacks than other members of the church. They truly covet your prayers.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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