I recently wrote a post relaying phrases a pastor should never say.
Though this is important, there are also things that a pastor should regularly be in the habit of saying. And not the passing, “Good to see ya” that every pastor says. Not the trivial phrases that everyone expects.
There are phrases that every pastor should say that take you off guard. These words help build culture and show what a local church values. As they say, “As the pastor goes, so goes the local church.” (nobody that I know has said that. It just sounds catchy and works here) They speak volumes beyond what a pastor communicates from stage.
7 Phrases a Pastor Should Say Off-Stage
1. I’ll return that email tomorrow.
There are certain things that are pressing in nature. Everything else should be relegated to email…which can be checked and responded to tomorrow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the problems you’re dealing with in this moment. Most of the time, your marriage isn’t going to be fixed if we wait until tomorrow. Your job crisis won’t go away before the sun comes up tomorrow. And your parenting woes can wait until later, too. It’s okay to say, “Tomorrow.”
2. No, I can’t meet on Tuesday evening. That’s my family time.
Setting aside time to be with your family is vital. Letting others know that you’ve made a priority out of spending quantity and quality time with your family is highly important, because your congregation takes its cues from you. If you want them to value their family, you’ve got to value yours.
3. I need rest, too.
Pastor, you’re not a superhuman. We need rest, too. And if we want others to experience the natural rhythms of life, and honor God with their rest, we’ve got to model that. Don’t work 6 days/week, and also Sunday. Take your Sabbath. The work God has called you to deserves your best, which you can’t give without adequate amounts of rest.
4. I don’t know the answer.
Pastor, you’re not a superhuman here, either. Unless you’re the Bibleman. Quit acting like you always have the answer, even when you don’t. We’re pretty good at this, aren’t we? We can fudge our way around theologically even though we have no idea what we’re talking about.
When you model humility in this area, those you lead will feel the freedom to not have every answer before they feel like they can lead. They’ll also not come to you for every answer, creating a culture of self-learners.
5. I need help.
There are certain pastors that try to do everything on their own. In the process, they cap their leadership. The local church was never meant to function under the leadership of one person. Varying gifts are utilized when others are given the chance to lead and flesh those gifts out. Pastors can’t do it on their own. They should bring others to the table. (the same goes for times in a pastor’s life when he needs spiritual/counseling/financial help. Modeling that it’s okay to ask for help in this area is an important step for pastors, too).
When you ask for help, you encourage others to do the same.
6. I value my wife more than I value my ministry.
Say this and mean it. Build your schedule around it. Block off time with her. And if you’re asked about it, don’t hesitate to let people know what you’re doing. (1 Timothy 3:4-5) Protecting your marriage is one of the most important things you can do as a pastor.
7. I don’t have time for small group either. But I make time.
You’ve got the same number of hours in a day that those you lead have. You can’t make time any more than you can make dirt. You have to take time if you want to live life in community. If this is truly a value of you and your church, then model it. Block off the time once/week to minister, and be ministered to, in authentic community.
Did I leave anything out? Anything else you think a pastor should regularly say off-stage?
* image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos