Tag: conversation

What pastors really mean when they say…

We pastors say a lot. Most of the time, we’re straight shooters.

At least as far as you can tell.

Screen Shot 2012-08-21 at 8.48.32 AM

image credit: CreationSwap user Bobby Ross, edits mine

Sometimes, though, we don’t really mean what we say. It’s not that we’re speaking an outright lie. There are just subtle, slightly different interpretations that one might make of our words. We’re like a good exercise in hermeneutics…be careful the first time you try to read us. Read us in our grammatico-historical context and it’ll all make sense. Speed-read through an interaction and you miss the fuller context.

Don’t be offended here. Not all pastors mean these things every time. Give us some grace. Allow us the space to love on and minister to our family first. And for crying out loud, quit thinking that paid staff are the only ones to whom the Great Commission was given!

What pastors really mean…

We say: You emailed me? It must have gotten lost in the digital mail.

We mean: I read that thing three days ago. Forgot to respond.

We say: My evenings are booked solid this week.

We mean: I value my family time. Find a way to meet during normal business hours.

We say: Instead of meeting with me, could you meet with one of our small group leaders?

We mean: I’m not the only pastor here!

We say: That’s a great question about amillennialism. What do you think?

We mean: I haven’t thought about that stuff since seminary…help me please, Wayne Grudem!

We say: Saturday morning men’s group? Sorry, my Saturdays are slammed.

We mean: My tee time starts at 8.

We say: Your kid is so cute!

We mean: I love you and your kid, but goodness that kid is not cute… (don’t get offended…if your kid isn’t cute, you know it)

We say: If you want to grow in your faith, you should join a small group.

We mean: If you want to grow in your faith, you should join a small group.

We say: Have you thought about serving?

We mean: Get off your lazy rear end and do something!

We say: I won’t meet with members of the opposite sex alone in private or in public over a meal.

We mean: I value my marriage more than I value meeting with you alone.


Ever heard a pastor say one thing and wonder if they really meant something else?


The 1 Question Every Blogger must Ask

image via Coach Jeremy

Ever gotten no response after you write a blog post?  Frustrating, no?

I’d rather have haters.  Or evil trolls.

The ‘no response’ is equivalent to standing in front of a crowd, pouring out your heart, and people just looking right past you. Or worse…as soon as you’re done, people begin chattering with their neighbors about something else entirely.

Oh well. I’ll keep working hard. Hoping something connects. And reminding myself that through writing, my own thoughts are clarified.


And that’s a win.

If I don’t consistently remind myself what I’m aiming for in my writing (for me: the number one benefit is “clarity”), then I’ll be forever frustrated.  But with the “win” defined, no amount of negativity will deter me.  It may frustrate me, but it won’t keep me from pressing forward.


What do you consider a “win” for your writing?

*image via Coach Jeremy


Social media monologue

I had coffee the other day with a guy.  He shared his thoughts, his ideas, his insights, his stories, and his history over the course of an hour.  As we ended our meeting, he said

Sorry I talked so much…next time, I want to hear from you!

So two weeks later, we had coffee again.  And you know what he said as we finished the meeting?

Sorry I talked so much…next time, I want to hear from you!

Meetings that are driven by monologue are not so much fun.

Meetings that are driven by listening and dialog are much more productive.

The social media monologue

And when we look at social media as bite-sized, micro meetings, the same principle holds true.

When social media is used as a monologue, it’s seen by others as a waste of time.  Boring.  Self-serving.

But when social media is seen as a dialog, it can be engaging, meaningful, productive, and generous (I wrote about social media and generosity HERE).

I’m not aiming to simply broadcast my thoughts and ideas out so that others can hear.  I’m ready to dialog about this stuff.  I’m ready to open up a dynamic conversation within different communities around the globe.

There are some people who want you to hear their message, but don’t care about hearing yours.  Those are the conversations I don’t care to have.

Those who are using social media most effectively are starting conversations and building relationships.

Have you built authentic relationships with others online?

Have you seen dynamic, robust communities share ideas collaboratively online?



The Cc & Small Groups

Have you ever been “Cc’d” in an email? Not even sure what I’m talking about? Let me enlighten you.

Here’s a normal email field:

Email, Cc

See the “Cc:” line below the “To:” field?

Cc stands for Carbon Copy.  You know those forms you have to fill out that have multiple copies where, if you press down hard enough, the image is stamped on all of the subsequent attached copies?  The first one’s white…the second is yellow…the third, pink…the last page is black.  Follow?

Carbon copies are a way of sharing multiple copies of the exact same information with people.

The same holds true with emails.

If I send an email to you, and Cc Joe, it means that I want Joe to have the same information that you have.  It’s not directly addressed to him, but he needs to be included in the conversation.

There’s one more thing you need to know about: “Reply All.”

If you “reply” to said email, I will get your reply.  But Joe won’t.

If you “reply all” to said email, I will get your reply, and so will Joe.

Here’s my point: I included Joe for a reason.  I wanted him to be included in the conversation.  I want him to know what we’re talking about.  And for him to know what we’re talking about, you have to “reply all.”

It would be the same if I am having a conversation with you and Joe about an upcoming event that you will be leading.  I say, “Hey, do you know who else will be coming to the event?”  And you whisper back to me, “Yes, Don will be there, too.”  Then Joe says back (to both of us), “I don’t know anybody else who will be there.”  Then I have to say (to both of you), “Sorry, Joe, _____ whispered to me, but he should have said it out loud.  Don will be there.”  Then you whisper (to me), “Can’t wait to see you both there!”  Then I have to tell Joe what you just told me.


If I send you an email, and Cc somebody else, please, please, please “reply all.”  There’s a reason I sent them a Cc.  I want them to be in on the conversation!

Email can be a conversation…if you know how to use the Cc.  The same principle can hold true in a small group, too.

If I’m leading a small group, and consistently find myself talking with the same one or two people, that’s not a small group…that’s a clique.

A good small group leader involves everybody in the discussion.  They’re listening to what Joe says…and connecting it with what Sean says…and the prayer request that Debbie shared last week…and the fact that I know John lost his job.  Because they, as the good small group leader, are convinced that everybody’s story matters.  And they are convinced that, though Rose is quiet in the back, she’s dealing with real life issues.  And, even though everybody rolls their eyes when Chris starts to talk because he dominates the conversation, Chris is a vital part of the growth of the group (because learning how to interact with Chris teaches the group patience, love, and grace).

Sure, it would be more fun to talk with “that couple” that you’ve been friends with for years.  Or that girl that you think you may have a chance with.  But the role of a small group leader is to pastor the whole group, which means learning to help the whole group have a conversation.

Learn to listen well.  In email.  And in small groups.

What kinds of things have you done in your small groups to help elicit discussion out of the whole group?


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