Tag: pastor (page 2 of 3)

6 Social Media Rules Every Pastor Should break

There are lots of social meda “rules” that form over time. Just as with any product or service, usage often determines the unspoken set of ground rules. And if you’re not careful, those “rules” can pigeon-hole you.

And nobody likes a pigeon hole. Well, nobody but pigeons.

image credit: CreationSwap user Paule Patterson, edits mine

Whether you’re a pastor that’s a casual user or a power user, a rookie or a veteran, there are certain rules that you should adhere to. Rules that will help you with engagement…and help you not come across as

1. Completely out of touch with culture.

2. A self-centered self-promoter.

3.  A person that others unfollow when they read your updates.

So here are 6 rules that every pastor should break daily with social media.

6 Rules Pastors Should Break

1. Only quote the Bible

We know that you’re in love with the Bible. We get it. But there’s got to be more to who you are than random quotes from Scripture, right? Didn’t Martin Luther say anything good? CS Lewis? Can’t you come up with anything worth saying that’s at least remotely original? How about reading your Bible and applying it…and making that an update?

2. Keep up your “professional pastor” persona.

You’re not a walking Christian zombie, are you? You don’t only read Christian books, only watch Christian movies, and only eat at Christian restaurants, do you? There has got to be more to you than the Christian subculture. Building relationships with those outside of the faith isn’t going to happen if you’re tweeting YouTube videos out like this one, of Michael W Smith from the late 80s. Gotta love the vest. I think the song should’ve gone, “Nobody knew I could rock a vest like this…”

3. If you’re frustrated, complain. A lot.

Twitter can become a megaphone for you to voice your complaints about a lot of things: culture at large, politics, “other” pastors, or even your own church. Complaining doesn’t become you, though. In fact, Paul urges us

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, especially on Twitter… – James 5:9 (additions mine)

 4. Never update during “work” hours.

Give people an inside peek into who you are and what you do during your normal day. A behind-the-scenes, if you will. Social media can be a great voice for Truth and engagement throughout your week. Don’t have time to update during your work day? Schedule updates when you’ve got a few minutes.

5. Never share personal information.

Bologna. Share who you are. Share what you value. Talk about your family. Talk about your struggles. Share your pain. Your joy. Your victories.

6. Only follow other Christians.

If pastors want to bring hope to the hurting, grace to the downtrodden, and Truth to the places where people engage, we’ve got to track along with those outside of our Christian bubbles. And here’s a freebie for you…nobody judges your theology by who you follow on Twitter and Facebook.


Do you interact more on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or on your blog?


9 Lies Pastors Believe While they’re Preaching

image credit: CreationSwap user Jordan Wiseman

While I’m preaching, there are myriads of thoughts racing through my head. Some of which include:

Why is that baby crying? Are they crying because I’m too loud? Or because they didn’t like that joke? Or because it’s too dark? Or too bright? Or…oh wait, it’s because they’re probably tired. Good thing they’re not falling asleep during my sermon like the guy behind them.

Why did he just get up to leave? Bathroom break? Am I going that long? Should I call him out right here and now? Nah…or wait. That might be funny. Or offensive. Probably offensive. But probably funny, too.

Why didn’t she turn her cell phone off? Hmm…I wonder who’s calling her? Wait…is she answering that phone? What’s she whispering? I wish she’d speak up so I can hear what she’s saying.

Uh oh…I’m going to go long with this sermon. Should I cut something out? Or make them sweat if I’ll ever be done?

I may be alone in how much my mind can often wander during a given sermon. But somehow, I think I’m not. And I’m willing to bet that most pastors believe these lies while they’re preaching:

9 Lies Pastors Believe While they’re Preaching

1. Man, this sermon is awesome. In fact, all of my sermons are awesome!

Whoa there, Desperado. You’re not as great as you think. Jump on down from your high horse. Some weeks are good and others are, well, not so good. Accept it.

2. The person shaking their head in affirmation is actually listening.

Sometimes they are. But sometimes they’re just trying to keep from falling asleep. Don’t take it personally. And don’t use that moment to slide in your every-other-week “You shouldn’t stay out late on the night before church” points.

3. Everyone likes me.

Not the guy who stands out in the hallway every week. He doesn’t. Never has. And until you preach a message aimed at engaging him, he probably never will. OR…you could just try to have a normal conversation with him in the hallway. Either way…

4. “Amen!” guy is so zoned in to what I’m saying. It’s like we were cut from the same cloth.

I heard an “Amen!” guy at a church I once attended that “Amen”-ed every single point. He didn’t know when to stop. So he didn’t. I think I even heard him “Amen!”-ing in the parking lot.

5. I can do it all. If only I could clone me…

Stop it. Stop it right there. You’re doing one thing in this moment. You’re preaching. If you’re also slated to do the music for the day, every visitor follow-up throughout the week, and every prayer preceding the pot-lucks, it’s time to share some responsibility. You’re not good at everything. And if you think you are, then that might be one of the reasons your church isn’t growing as quickly as it could. (whoops…did I take that one too far? Sorry…)

6. They’re actually taking notes!

I saw some of our handouts from this Sunday. Doodling. A couple of notes. Then they left it under their seat after the service. Don’t kid yourself.

7. If I say this point with more force, you’re more likely to remember it.

Just keep trying. Use a megaphone if you want. Or, better yet, start yelling from the top of the sermon to the bottom. It’s all important, right? Then do your vocal warm-ups and let ’em rip. And watch ’em grab the ear plugs on their way in, too.

8. If I go long, people will love me for it.

Nope. If you go long, people will wonder how long you can actually go. And they’ll also be lamenting the fact that the Methodists are going to beat them to lunch today.

9. If I go short, people will judge me and wonder what I did all week.

Nope. If you go short, they’ll be the ones beating the Methodists to the buffet. And you’ll be their favorite preacher.

Why share this? Why smack pastors in the face a bit?

Because we’re humans, too. We’re prone to thinking too much of ourselves, taking ourselves too seriously, thinking everyone cares about intricate theology as much as we do, and prone to spiraling downwards into self-glorification.

The more we can pursue humility, making less of ourselves and our gifts and our talents and our insights and our winsomeness…and make more of the God who gives us life and breath and everything, the better off we are. And the better off our congregations are, too.

Time to quit believing the lies. Time to preach faithfully the message God’s given us. Time to remind ourselves who the King really is.




10 Lessons Leaders can learn from a 3 year old

Jesus said

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.  – Matthew 19:14

You can learn a lot from a 3 year old if you’re willing. I’ve been stretched by the way my son lives his life…stretched to think differently about the way I live and the way I lead.

image credit: Creation Swap user: http://creationswap.com/jonathanmalm

Maybe you will be, too. 

10 Lessons from a 3 year old

1. Run fast and break things.

I think this is my 3-year-old’s life mantra right now. And he’s really good at it.

Leader: Playing it safe isn’t what we’re called to do. Faith takes risks, trusting God to work. Trusting that God is sovereign. And if we break something, it gives us the chance to figure out what doesn’t work, so we can truly find the best way to lead people in the best, most efficient way possible.

2. Have fun.

Everywhere my son goes, he’s having a good time. And he can make the best out of a boring situation. It’s amazing how fun he can make a department store. 

Leader: If you’re not having fun, those you lead probably aren’t, either. And laughter is evidence that we serve a good God. (Psalm 126:2) If you want to show people that our God is good, have a little fun. In the process, if your team has fun together, you’ll go further together.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

My son laughs at himself all of the time. He’s one of the funniest people he knows. 🙂

Leader: you have a tendency to be super serious. And super boring. When you take yourself too seriously, you set yourself up for disappointment, and inadvertently set yourself on a pedestal that’s begging to be brought down by the next bad idea.

4. Work so hard you have to rest.

By the time his head hits the pillow, most nights, he’s already asleep.

Leader: may we never be found lazy. The people we’re called to serve are too valuable for that. We should run so hard and give of ourselves so fully that we long for the Sabbath each week.

5. Don’t be afraid of new things.

My son tries new things every day. Whether that’s a new food, picking up a new bug, climbing a new playground, or meeting a new friend, my son knows very little fear.

Leader: We ultimately serve the most creative Being in the universe. And He’s sovereign over all things. So why should we ever be afraid of trying something new? If you break something, refer back to #1, above. It’s better to try something new and fail, than keep doing things that are weakly accomplishing our mission and vision.

6. Trust people who know and love you best.

My son has a huge trust of us, and of people he knows best. He’ll go anywhere, and do anything for, those who know and love him.

Leader: if we don’t have a circle of friends who know us, want what’s best for us, encourage and correct us…then we don’t have people we can really trust. It’s easy to keep people at arm’s length, and not allow yourself to be vulnerable. This is a dangerous place to be as a leader.

7. Don’t think. Do.

Rarely does my son evaluate the full range of possibilities before he does something. Which means he takes a lot more risks, ends up with a lot more bruises, and has a lot more fun.

Leader: there are times to evaluate and to perform risk assessments. But there are times when, if you do that, the change that needs to be made will pass you by. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

8. Make the big ask.

My son asks me to stay home from work. Often. And sometimes I do. 🙂

Leader: Need your leadership team to have your back on a new crazy idea? Make the big ask. Need to hire a new staff member, and only want the best? Make the big ask. Need a lot of money for your next project? Make the big ask.

9. Don’t wait for a title. Just lead.

My son doesn’t wait until someone declares him the “leader.” He just leads, and invites others to follow.

Leader: Wherever you find yourself in the organization, whether you’re the lead person or one of the staff members, don’t rely on your title to lead. Just lead, and invite others to follow. Leaders lead.

10. Be constantly curious.

3 year olds ask a lot of questions. And learn about a thousand new things every day.

Leader: learn to be a good question-asker. Ask, “Why not?” and, “What’s next?” constantly. Be willing to search outside of your box to find answers to your questions. Learn from other professions. Push the envelope. Your mission and vision are worth the cost.


Do you now, or have you ever, spend much time around a 3 year old?


9 keys to preaching a lousy sermon

Most people, when they preach, want to do well. Right?

Most people want others to experience God, encounter truth, and leave changed. Most people want the hard work they put into their sermons to have some sort of impact on the people listening.

image credit: Creation Swap user Justin Knight (http://creationswap.com/justinknight)

Most people.

But not everyone. Some people aim to preach a lousy sermon. If you’d like to be one of those preachers, here’s your list.

9 keys to preaching a lousy sermon

1. Spend very little time praying.

If your sermon is going to be lousy, this is where you’ve got to start. Don’t seek God in prayer. Don’t spend time begging Him to lead your thoughts and your words. Don’t plead with him to soften hard hearts and open blind eyes.

2. Make your sermon purely about “teaching” propositional truths.

Go at it like your 7th grade history teacher…the one that you thought was boring. The one that you didn’t remember anything from her class. Just teach lofty moral platitudes and propositional truth statements that don’t drive any application home. That’ll get the job done.

3. Make your “study time” primarily about listening to other preachers talk about that passage.

Whatever you do, don’t read the Bible for yourself and study the Scriptures to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15). Live off of others’ relationship with God, their experience with Him, and the knowledge and insight they’ve gained.

4. Don’t use the word “I” at all.

Don’t let things get too personal. Use ‘they’ and ‘them’ primarily. Slip in a few ‘you people’ and you’re good to go. Talk about “those people” a lot.

5. Heap burden after burden on top of your people.

Condemnation is the way to go. Try to make sure those condemning thoughts weave themselves throughout your sermon. Something like ‘The 5 ways you sinned this week and didn’t know it’ or ‘Why God hates you’ or ‘The 17 ways you’ll never measure up” or “Quit trying…you’re not doing any good anyway.”

6. Be sure to yell. Loudly. And obnoxiously.

Be careful with this one, though. People might think that, because you’re yelling, you’re saying something important. We all know you’re not. Just be careful.

7. Be completely absent and disengaged from people the entire week leading up to your sermon.

Because, if you’re not careful, your ministry of loving and serving people could bleed over into your sermon. The times you spend praying with and for people could have a drastic impact on the way you teach and preach. Be careful.

8. Don’t ask for anyone else’s input prior to preaching.

Study, prepare, write, and rehearse on your own. Don’t let anyone else take a look at your notes, your wording, or the direction you’re going to head on Sunday. Go it alone, my friend. Nobody else is as awesome as you are. The moment someone else tries to offer you a bit of advice, refer back to #6, above.

9. Don’t spend time wrestling through your own sins and weaknesses.

Just focus on other people. It’s much easier this way. Focusing on yourself gets all personal. And it means you have to be vulnerable. And…well, I’ll stop right there. I was just about to go into confession time. I can’t go there…and neither can you.

There you go. 9 steps to preaching a lousy sermon. Now get out there and start preaching!


Ever seen/heard a pastor lead this way?



The varied hats a pastor wears

A pastor does more than preach on Sunday mornings. In fact, that’s one thing you should be careful saying to your pastor.

We work throughout the week as well, wearing many varied hats. That may be something you forgot about us pastors. If preaching were all we did, our job would be easy.

image credit: Flickr user Small_Realm

I don’t preach every week, but the weeks that I get the opportunity (though I relish it), I’m completely swamped. None of my other responsibilities go away…it’s just a matter of tacking on 20-25 hours of prep time.

I often counsel folks who are sensing a call to ministry. Their idea of full-time ministry is that you get to have a “quiet time” for a couple of hours in the morning, take a long lunch where you meet with friends, drink coffee all afternoon, and go home by 4:00. They think that ministry is easy.

Trying to paint an accurate picture of the day-to-day life of a pastor is difficult, because there are so many different tasks that we are expected to complete. Though seminary was great, and I benefited from it tremendously, it didn’t prepare me for the gamut of roles I’ve found myself in. My title may be “small groups pastor,” but my job description extends well beyond that.

I’m sure that things are no different for you.

 The Varying Hats a Pastor Wears

  • Preacher
  • Counselor
  • Leader
  • Financial planner
  • Designer
  • Project manager
  • Entrepreneur
  • Videographer
  • Supervisor
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Theologian
  • Receptionist
  • Greeter
  • Webmaster
  • Community activist
  • Writer
  • Recruiter
  • Life coach
  • Shipping department coordinator
  • Strategist
  • Social media-ite
  • Dreamer
  • Student
  • Disciplinarian
  • Teacher
  • Social activist
  • Events specialist
  • Chaplain
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CMO
  • CFO
  • Operations management
  • Janitor
  • Salesman
  • Communications specialist

Did I leave anything out, that you do or that you’ve seen other pastors do?



10 Simple Ways to Encourage your Pastor

Truth: “Hey preacher man, good sermon!” is nice…but come on, we can do better than that, right?

We can do better than the shoulder squeeze with the solemn look in the eye. Better than the slow head nod of approval. Especially when we remember that our pastor spends hours each week pouring out their heart on stage, ministering to and in our communities, and shepherding hard-heads like us.

image credit: Creative Commons user ThisIsAGoodSign

The work of a pastor is often lonely, difficult work…we need your encouragement.

Encouragement isn’t that difficult, but it takes being intentional.

10 Ways to encourage your pastor:

1. Appreciate the work they do throughout the week, not just on Sunday. You know that being a pastor is more than a Sunday gig, right? We don’t love that you-only-work-one-day-a-week ribbing, by the way.

2. Take notes on Sunday. This is a great way to encourage your pastor…at least act like you’re going to work diligently to remember and apply their teaching.

3. Email them on Tuesday and let them know you’re still working through your notes from Sunday.

4. Deflect criticism on their behalf. Your pastor likely takes a lot of heat. Some may be deserved…much of it likely isn’t. Instead of joining in the criticism, stand up and show your pastor some love. Help others see the good side of your pastor.

5. Speak well of your local church. Your pastor takes great care and spends much effort to present and grow a beautiful local church. Speaking well of your church is a great way to encourage and honor the work your pastor’s done.

6. Serve. I don’t mean that you should necessarily bring your pastor dinner…you should serve others in your local church. This is unbelievably encouraging! Your pastor’s desire is not to be the only one who does ministry.

7. Pray for them. Often.

8. Speak well of their spouse. A pastor’s spouse is married to the ministry. They often do ministry themselves, and end up carrying the burden of their spouse as they lead. It’s a tough spot to be in. Speaking well of your pastor’s spouse helps your pastor feel like you’ve got their back.

9. Start consistently feeding them fresh preaching points every day. By email. And phone calls. And text messages. And Facebook wall posts.

10. Give generously. This is a fruit of faithful, biblical preaching…people growing up in their faith to the point where they’re generous with their financial resources. Give to your local church, yes. But give generously to others. “Don’t let your left hand know what your right is doing.” – Matthew 6:3

Not sure where to start? Pick one for this upcoming week, and bless your pastor. Your local church will be better because of your small investment.

image credit: Creative Commons user ThisIsAGoodSign


10 principles to leading young pastors

I serve on staff with a team of young pastors. I love the guys and girls I get to do ministry with.

Our lead pastors (Ron Edmondson and Chad Rowland) know how to lead younger pastors unbelievably well. In fact, one of our pastors, Ron Edmondson, wrote a post yesterday on raising up young leaders that articulates some of the practices he uses with guys like me.

I know there are some pastors wondering, “How do I lead younger pastors?” I also know there are some younger guys frustrated because their pastor has no clue how to lead them well.

Here are some important principles I think will help older leaders to guide us young guys well.

10 principles to leading young pastors

Things to stop

Quit telling us what to do.

Nobody wants to be micromanaged. Especially high calibre leaders. The more you direct our every step, the more we’ll balk at your leadership. Lead us by doing hard, creative, meaningful work with character. Instead of telling us what to do, do the work and invite us into the process of planning, dreaming, and scheming you go through.

Quit telling us who to be.

With the advents of the internets, we have access to the greatest leaders, the most prolific communicators, and the sharpest minds in the world. We’re following a plethora of high-quality leaders through their podcasts, blogs, books, and webinars. But we don’t have access to other pastors’ lives like we do yours, working alongside you week after week. Instead of telling us who to be, model for us who we could be if we were to fully flesh out our God-given gifts.

Quit telling us “the why.”

We get your vision. In fact, that’s one of the major reasons we decided to work for you…we, at some level, bought into the vision. But if we’re constantly poking holes, asking questions, and stretching the box, we don’t need to hear “the why” again. More than likely, it’s “the why” that we’re questioning. Instead of telling us “the why” once again, let us help you see if there’s a better “why.”

Quit expecting less-than-exceptional work.

We’re capable of more than you expect. Throw projects, concepts, and ideas our way, and give us the freedom to accomplish those in a way different than you may have initially drawn up in your mind. Raise the bar. We’ll rise to it. Instead of expecting decent work, expect us to blow you away.

Quit telling us only what you’re disappointed with.

We need to hear where we need to improve. But we also need to hear which decisions we’re making are making an impact. The more you share the negative things exclusively, the less we’ll come to you for advice, wisdom, and counsel. Instead of telling us only what you’re disappointed with, give us consistent feedback.

Here’s the guiding principle:

If you want to lead young pastors well, stop “telling” us. Instead, lead us.

There’s such a difference between leading and parenting. Between leading and micromanaging. Between leading and controlling. Between leading and doling out tasks.

Things to start

Start giving young pastors the chance to make mistakes.

This is costly in the short run, but costly not to in the long run.

Start giving young pastors the chance to do things differently.

This means you may have to bend on the details of how you thought your vision would be accomplished.

Start giving young pastors the chance to stretch the box.

Change may be difficult, but box a young pastor in and you’ll suffocate them.

Start giving young pastors a seat at the leadership table, even when they haven’t earned it.

This is a move that will enstill confidence in younger pastors, and give them the chance to flesh out creative ideas. It also helps us see what it takes to be more influential in our leadership.


We young pastors may be a bit idealistic. We may be a bit rough around the edges. We may be quick to decide things you’d rather ponder on. We may be slow to move on something you’re ready to pounce on.


The bottom line is that we need to be led.


Do you serve with young leaders? What am I missing?


* image credit: background via Creation Swap, Divine Fusion // edits mine


7 Truths a Pastor Wishes They Could Say

You may have caught my 5 Things a Pastor Should Never Say or my 7 Phrases a Pastor Should Say Regularly Off-Stage or even my 5 Things You Should Be Careful Saying to Your Pastor.

image via Creation Swap user Daniel Romero

Today, I want to give a voice to the pastors who often feel trapped, and can’t say what they really want to say. 

Not all pastors are in this boat. Some are riding the waves of freedom, able to speak wisdom freely. I’m thankful to be serving in a local church that gives incredible amounts of freedom.

Others, though, are trapped. Given the opportunity, here’s what they’d say.

7 Truths a Pastor Wishes They Could Say

1. This week has worn me out.

There’s a reason why there’s a distinct calling into full-time vocational ministry. It’s exhausting, often unrewarding, and will ultimately cost you your life. The work of a pastor leaves them worn out emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Pastors would like to tell you they’re worn out, but they can’t because you expect too much of them.

2. I need help.

Pastors are real people with real families with real struggles. Sometimes they need physical help in leading. Other times they need financial help. Sometimes they need counseling help with their lives. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness…it’s a sign of wisdom. (Re: Galatians 6:1-3)

Pastors would like to ask for help, but they know that if they do, their job will be in jeopardy.

3. Quit making everything about you.

It’s easy to unload all of your junk on your pastor. And at one level, that’s incredibly healthy. Your pastor is equipped to help minister the Gospel into your specific situation. But when your every conversation revolves around you, your problems, your opportunities, and your struggles, you leave little room for your pastor to build real relationships. Good friends don’t just call you when they need something.

Pastors would like to build real friendship with you, but they can’t because everything is always about you.

4. I have no interest in doing a cantata.

No explanation needed here. If a cantata is being done, this statement is running through your pastor’s head. 🙂

5. I can’t fix everything in your life.

Pastors are often seen as a cure-all. Pastors have all of the right answers, they know just that *perfect* verse, and they can pray the *perfect* prayer that will quickly and seamlessly fix the problem that you’ve been struggling with for decades. It’s not your pastor’s job to fix you. That’s a role that the Holy Spirit reserves for Himself.

Pastors would like to tell you this, but you won’t work out your own faith with fear and trembling. (Re: Philippians 2:12-13)

6. Grow up.

At some point in your natural development, you started feeding yourself, clothing yourself, bathing yourself, and fending for yourself. Spiritually, this has got to happen, too. Sure, your pastor has a role to play there. But taking ownership of your own spiritual growth has to happen.

Pastors would like to tell you this, but you need to grow up before you’ll listen.

7. The end goal of Christianity isn’t to get someone to come into a church building. It’s for someone to build a relationship with the living God.

Bringing someone to church with you is often a phenomenal step of faith. But that should never be the end goal. Never. That also shouldn’t be your primary means of introducing people to God. Evangelism happens best in the context of relationships. 

Pastors would like to say this, but when the primary focus is on numbers (whether they’re decreasing or increasing), they don’t have the freedom to.


Can you think of anything else a pastor wishes they could say?

* image credit: Creation Swap User Daniel Romero


5 Things You Should Be Careful Saying to your Pastor

You may have caught my 5 Things a Pastor Should Never Say or my 7 Phrases a Pastor Should Regularly Say Off-Stage.

Today’s a bit different, though. Today, it’s all about you.

image credit: Creative Commons user Kolby Schnelli

Because sometimes you forget that we pastors are people, too. We’re not superhumans. We’re not mini gods. We’re people, with families. We have hobbies. We have good days and bad. We have days when we feel close to God, and days when He seems distant. We have good ideas and awful ones. We have great church members…and ones like you. (I’m kidding…)

We don’t always know what we’re doing. We’re often outsiders in many conversations, because…when your pastor shows up, you change the subject. We have struggles, too.

I want to help you out, though. Because I know you don’t want to say the wrong thing to your pastor, right? You don’t want to inadvertently offend the guy who’s getting ready to go on stage.

5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to your Pastor

1. What do you even do all week?

This question is loaded with the assumption that pastors sit around, drink coffee, and read their Bible all week in a nice, quiet office. Ahh…how nice that would be. 🙂 The life of a pastor is much more complicated. We’re helping people understand the deepest, most profound aspects of their lives, with all of the junk that will be dredged up because of those conversations. We’re leading teams of people. We’re active in our communities. We’re slating announcements and videos. We’re crafting web pages. We’re recruiting leaders. And…oh yeah, most of us preach and teach regularly. So we study.

2. You just work one day/week, right?

This one is similar to the first, but there’s an intended sense of humor here. Here’s the truth: that line was barely funny the first time. I hope you know that pastors work much more than one day/week. Sarcasm always has an intended angle of truth, right? So every time you say it, there’s a small part of you that believes it. So if you truly don’t believe it…don’t say it.

3. Your job must be easy.

Maybe you’ve never said this, but I guarantee you’ve thought it. You feel like if you were a pastor, life would be much easier. And to be honest, maybe it would. There are much worse places to work. But every occupation has its difficulties, too. Just because pastors get to meet and greet on Sunday mornings doesn’t mean that their work is so easy throughout the week. We do have to deal with people like you, after all. 🙂

4. Why can’t you meet with me when I want?

If you want help, you get it, right? If it’s counseling help you need, you’ll take an hour off of work to get it. If you need your teeth worked on, you’ll schedule an appointment with your dentist at his convenience. If you need your car worked on, you’ll drop it off when they’re open. So why do you expect a pastor is “open” 24 hours/day? If the issue you need help with is that vital, then it’s worth bending your schedule around.

5. That wasn’t my favorite sermon.

This is one of those post-sermon no-nos. Most pastors know when they missed the mark. They don’t need the reminder from you, especially right after they preached. The time right after preaching is typically a vulnerable time for most pastors. Try to find something to encourage them on, rather than picking apart their sermon.

Throughout this list, I’m not encouraging dishonesty. Don’t lie to your pastor. I’m also not saying that pastors are above difficult questioning. Sometimes that’s needed.

But if you’re going to question your pastor, fill it with grace and love.


Pastors: what have you heard that made your skin crawl?

Non-pastors: what have you said that afterwards you thought, “Whoops…shouldn’t have said that!”?

*image credit: Creative Commons user Kolby Schnelli


7 Phrases a Pastor Should Regularly Say Off-Stage

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.

image credit: Creative Commons, Franklin Photos

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







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