By Ben Reed
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.
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.
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?
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.