Pastors are only human, which suggests they have their own set of peeves. Sure, they are called to rise above it all—to turn the other cheek, deflect wrath with a kind word, and not be so affected by horribly rude people. But it really isn’t fair to razz the pastor to see how far they can take it any more than it is ok for the village wise-guy to provoke the Buckingham Palace guard to laugh. Let’s stand down a little and show some respect, maybe even some support, for the thankless things they do every day; and whatever you do, try to avoid saying the following things to your pastor:

10 Things to Never Say to a Pastor

Our last pastor used to…

So what? The last pastor was different! Get over it. Your pastor has a unique calling and most likely a unique vision. They will never see real lasting fruit in ministry if constantly reminded of who they aren’t rather than affirmation of who they are. Perhaps try something new, encourage them to follow the vision God gave them and make an effort to enjoy the differences.

 

Would you please add {fill in the blank} to your “job” description?

Most pastors already push themselves well past their own personal limits, so constantly adding new items to their already overwhelming schedule and ever-expanding list of tasks is not helpful. Don’t lose focus on the reason they are a pastor: to preach the Word, care for people, encourage and demonstrate godliness, promote discipleship, and to lead and oversee the ministries of the church. For heaven’s sake, delegate some of the extra busywork to someone else.

 

The music is lame

…and “The music is too loud”; “I don’t know the words to the songs”; “The music is out of my range”; “Why do we do all these new songs?”; “Why did we stop doing hymns?”; “I didn’t get anything out of the worship today.” These are just a few of the many gripes I have heard aimed at the music pastor. Let’s be reminded, worship is about the Lord, not about us. Sure, there are times to respectfully comment on what can be improved, but first determine if it is an actual problem or merely a preference; stop crying when things don’t go your way. Nobody likes a whiner or complainer.

 

Numbers were down this month

Although church attendance may hold some weight in taking the pulse of a church, numbers aren’t everything. There are other attributes to consider before you shoot off about why nobody’s showing up and how it’s “all the pastor’s fault”. For instance, the commitment level of members has about as much significance to the life of a church as the actual number of people attending. Examine other spiritually healthy things being accomplished such as outreach and discipleship, then rise up to be a part of the solution if a true problem exists.

 

We’ve never done it that way

A former pastor and friend of mine used to say that the seven words that kill the church are: “We never did it that way before.” Change is difficult for most people, but its part of the growing pains of an evolving church. The only consistent and enduring reality is that change is here to stay. As things progress, you may be required to minister outside of your comfort zone—to reach to new levels in your service within the church. But hang in there. Change can be a good thing.

 

So and so used to do this better

Chances are your pastor already struggles with comparing themselves with other people. Remember that God has a plan unique to your pastor’s calling and they need to be encouraged to focus on being faithful to God, not man. They will not always look and act like your favorite commentator or craft and deliver words like other familiar ministers in the annals of church history. They are their own story, a testimony being authored by God.

 

How come you get so much time off?

I realize abuses exist, but most of the time people have unhealthy expectation of their pastors to be on call 24/7, 365 days a year. Like everyone else, pastors need a chance to retool, to connect with their family and close friends, to have time away to think and spend time alone with the God they serve. Give them this time with generosity and well wishes.

 

We don’t have the budget to support your intellectual and spiritual growth

If you don’t have the budget to accommodate continued learning for your pastor then don’t expect too much in the future of your church. A budget for continued learning – conferences, some travel, books, Bible software, etc. is crucial to the development and spiritual growth of the pastor and will directly affect the ministries they oversees.

 

Can you be sure to present the Gospel next Sunday? I have an unsaved friend coming

Certainly the job of the pastor does include preaching the good news of Christ, but specifically to equip YOU to share the Gospel, to provide answers to every man that asks about the hope in you, and to promote continued discipleship. This is your job too. Let the pastor preach and teach what God directs them to deliver, not necessarily cater to your wishes.

 

Why don’t you ever return my texts?

This sort of goes back to the growing pains problem of change within the church. Understand that your pastor does not care any less about you, it’s just that they cannot personally attend to your every need, every waking moment. Try not to take it personally.

 

Step up

These things are listed to help you realize the discouragement these comments and questions can have on a pastor, not to discourage you. Maybe instead of offering complaints, step up and seek ways to serve that will help improve and further God’s vision of the church. Instead of asking why a pastor does not meet this or that need, ask how you can meet this or that need. Ask God to give you a kind heart toward your pastor and patience and humility to serve others.

About The Author

Kristi Winkler

Kristi Winkler is a contributing writer for Sharefaith, a veteran eLearning developer, writer/editor, and business software analyst. Her writing gives a voice to the ministry experts she consults with and interviews.

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