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

At least as far as you can tell.

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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?