By Ben Reed
Ever heard a pastor say something that made you cringe?
We pastors say a lot. From the stage, to the phone, in an email, and in passing conversations, we are communicating with people most of our days. And while much of what we share is (hopefully) helpful, there are certain things that should never be said.
1. “If it weren’t for the people, I’d love being a pastor.”
You’ve probably heard this one. In fact, you may have said it yourself. Often said in a moment of frustration or as a passing joke, this is a statement that can be incredibly hurtful to the people that need help the most. It inadvertently creates a wall between the pastor and those who are in need of grace and hope. And it makes people feel like there are problems too big to bring to their pastor.
Truth: Being a pastor is about the people. It’s about serving and giving and loving and pouring yourself out for others.
2. “This week was so busy, I didn’t even get a chance to work on my sermon.”
This is sad, really. There are a handful of things that only the pastor can do. (qualifier: having a teaching team is an option that many churches utilize, but when it’s your week to preach, this is no excuse). Preaching is one of them. It’s not that others aren’t qualified...it’s that your role that Sunday is to preach.
Truth: Having the stage (or the pulpit, depending on your context) on a Sunday morning is a great privilege. Neglecting that gift is irresponsible.
3. “I don’t have time for a small group.”
Thankfully, our pastors at Grace have never said this. But many pastors have. Their weeks are so busy with other activities (even good things) that they don’t feel like they have time in their lives for a small group. But if relationships are vital to growth in discipleship, you’d be foolish to neglect this. And it’s hard for you to tell them that small group life is worth bending their life around if you aren’t living that.
Truth: you don’t have time to not be involved in a small group.
4. “And my ninth point, again starting with the letter ‘W’...” Seriously, just write a book.
Truth: people will not remember all 9 points. Pick the most compelling, helpful point, and preach a sermon with that as your bottom line.
5. “Someone like you is not welcome here...”
I got a call this recently from someone, who said, “I have a friend, her name is ____. And she’s done ____. She talked with another church, and they have asked her not to come because of some stuff in her past. Is she welcome at Grace?” Honestly, I was taken aback. It literally took my breath away. I told her that there are few things in life that cause my blood to boil. This happens to be one of them.
Truth: God’s grace is huge. Minimizing it is foolish.
What have you heard a pastor say that caused you to cringe?
Ben Reed is a husband, father and pastor at Grace Community Church. Ben is passionate about "helping people apply the Word of God to their lives, right in the middle of life's biggest questions and heartaches." Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.