Tag: criticism

10 Things You Forget About Pastors

I had the chance to preach at Grace this past Sunday. What a gift it was.

apparently, I said something I thought was funny

And what a hard week it was.

Every time I get the call to preach, I forget just how much work it is to prepare until the Wednesday before I preach on Sunday. It’s at that point, when I’m on my 5th rewrite, my 10th bottom line, and my 4th, “I have no idea what I’m going to say” thought for the week.

In the process of preparing and delivering the sermon yesterday, I realized that there are a few things that people often forget about preachers. In fact, I’ve found exactly 10 things that are often forgotten.

10 Things You Forget about Pastors

1. Preaching is a lot of work.

In fact, it takes me between 20-30 hours to prepare my sermon. On top of that, I still have my normal, weekly responsibilities. Last time I checked, adding 30 hours to a work week was a pretty significant amount. The best sermons take time to marinate. Which means that if you enjoyed the sermon…it probably took longer than normal to prepare.

2. Preaching is stressful.

If you mess up in your job, your boss might get upset with you. If we mess up…God is upset with us. I’d rather get the stink eye from your boss than mine any day. 🙂

3. Preaching has a lot of moving parts.

We feel the weight of preaching the Scriptures faithfully, in an engaging way, every time. We have to balance humor, theology, and application, making sure to pepper in just the right number of illustrations, but not too many so that people remember the illustration and not the Truth. That’s a lot to balance on a small stage.

4. We don’t always have it all figured out.

We don’t know it all. Or have all of the answers. Or have every truth we’re preaching on mastered. Growing up, I assumed that my pastor knew everything. Now that I’m in that role, I realize that we don’t.

5. We get worn out, too.

Delivering a sermon is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. Expect that we’ll be pretty zapped afterwards. After all, “they” say that delivering a sermon is equivalent to 8 hours of work.

6. If you tell us some important detail on a Sunday morning, we’ll probably forget it.

Feel free to tell us, but follow that up with an email. We’ll thank you later. It’s not that we don’t care in the moment…it’s that our minds are racing, and we often have hundreds of thoughts and ideas we’re wrestling with.

7. Preaching is a gift, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Some days, it feels more like work. I’d love to say that every time we preach, the heavens open up and God gives us great joy in the preparation and in the delivery. But I’d be lying…sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift.

8. Criticisms need to wait.

Seriously, if you have a bone to pick, call us on Tuesday. We’ll be in a much better spot to handle criticism then, than on your way out the door on Sunday.

9. We see you texting.

Don’t act like you’ve listened to our sermon…we know better.

10. We have to do it all again next week.

Most preachers preach every week. In fact, most preachers preach on Sunday, Sunday night, and then again on Wednesday night. The work of a pastor is never done.


Have you ever preached? Do any of these resonate with you?





Encouraging Criticism

Hate Twitter all you want, but, like I’ve said HERE, I find great value in it.  I recently said this after a visit to Lasaters Coffee, a local shop here in Clarksville:

Disappointed that the @lasaterscoffee workers couldn’t serve me a press pot of coffee bc they didn’t know what it was 3:37 PM Dec 2nd

I received this reply from them…directly to me:

@benreed We will be serving coffee via French Press before you know it!! Keep an eye on the website and in the stores:) 10:04 AM Dec 4th from TweetDeck in reply to benreed

Knowing how, and when, to respond to critics is very important.  I applaud Lasaters for their timely and effective response.  Because of that response, they’ll get more business from me.

A critique of the system you’re leading can often feel like a personal attack.

But in the end, critiques can help to improve the overall effectiveness of the ministry.

Maybe a person’s critique is off-base.  Out of line.  Out of touch.  Off-color.  Off-putting.  Off-handed.  Offensive.  Biting.  Reactionary.  Untruthful.  Unholy.  Discouraging.  Poorly timed.  Poorly executed.  Or all of the above combined.

But most critiques have at least a shred of truth.

May we, as leaders in our respective organizations, be humble enough to continually evaluate our system.

How do you encourage open, honest evaluation of your system?


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