Here are seven things to avoid saying to any pastor, no matter helpful they might seem.
A church member from Virginia recently told me at a conference where I was speaking, “I read your articles because I learn things I would have never known from the perspective of the pastor.” The lady who said that is now the leader of the intercessory prayer ministry of the church, a ministry that includes specific intercession for her pastor.
It is in that spirit that I offer these seven comments. My purpose is simply to convey information you might not have considered otherwise. Many pastors hear these comments frequently, even though the church member may think his or her comment is both novel and helpful.
1. “I heard a podcast pastor preach on the same text. Let me tell you how he dealt with it.” The pastor often receives this statement as, “Let me tell you how good preaching actually sounds.”
2. “We believe we should pay the pastor as low as possible to keep him humble.” Of course, that church member rarely wants to practice the same humility.
3. “Our church is big enough. We don’t need any more new members.” Perhaps the church should place a sign outside saying. “Closed for business. No longer practicing the Great Commission.”
4. “I wish I had your schedule.” Translation: “It must be nice to work only one day a week.” Sigh.
5. “I love you pastor but …” The pastor knows the purpose of that statement is not one of love, but everything that follows the “but.”
6. “People are saying …” This sentence is the ultimate cop-out statement. It is a cowardly statement. The church member attempts to hide behind the anonymity of “people” when the member usually is the real source of the statement.
7. “I was here before you came here. I will still be here after you leave.” This statement is ultimately a threat. “Don’t make any changes that I don’t approve. I am in charge. Don’t even try to lead.”
Sometimes these statements are said with malice. Other times they are said out of ignorance. But almost all times they are painful to the pastor.
Be a source of love and encouragement for your pastor. Please avoid these seven and similar sentences.
This article originally appeared on ThomRainer.com.