Pastors love their congregations. They really do. Every pastor sees the people of their church as their people. These are the people they have given their lives to. The people they serve tirelessly. The people they pray for.
The congregation’s physical and spiritual well being is a pastor’s deepest concern.
Your pastor loves you. But that doesn’t mean you do don’t drive him crazy sometimes. You might love your pastor, but sometimes you have a funny way of showing it.
Here are 5 things that most likely drive your pastor crazy.
Gossip is the bane of a pastor’s existence. Gossip spreads like a wildfire and causes just as much damage. Pastors often feel like professional firefighters. And it feels like they can never stay on top of it.
Gossip is pervasive because it’s so titillating.
Did you hear…?
You wouldn’t believe what Harold did…
But one man’s entertainment is another man’s major crisis or broken confidence. The worst kind of gossip is gossip that’s cleverly rebranded as a “prayer request.”
We should really keep Nancy in our prayers…
There are a few reasons why gossip drives your pastor crazy. The first one is pretty obvious. Gossip is just flat out wrong. The bible says so. A lot.
The other thing about gossip is that it makes the pastor focus on correcting rumors rather than advancing the mission of the church to make disciples. And often times, it takes orders of magnitude greater energy to quell a rumor than to start one.
Gossip hurts people and damages the church.
“A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.”
Pastors tend to be naturally optimistic people. They believe in a God who saves. They believe that the local church is the hope of the world. There’s a lot to be hopeful for.
But too often, pastors find themselves mired in the nagging complaints of their people.
The music is too loud.
The music isn’t loud enough.
The sermons are too short.
The sermons are too long.
Also, the coffee ran out. I’m leaving.
Complaining is so counter productive. It hinders a church from reaching its full potential. We see this in the Old Testament, when God leads His people out of captivity in Egypt. It’s hard to believe how much they complained. About everything. Literally moments after God performed a wondrous miracle.
It was this spirit of complaining that kept most of them out of the Promised Land.
Your church, if it really is a bible-believing and God-honoring church, is doing good things. There are certain things that it’s doing really well. Talk about that more. Think about it more. And talk less about the stuff you don’t like.
And if your church isn’t a bible-believing and God-honoring church, why on earth are you there? Quit complaining and leave if that’s the case. But if it’s not the case, and I trust that for many people it’s not, then just quit complaining.
A complaint is often a veiled excuse to not respond to God in faith. And your pastor wants nothing more than for you to step out in faith.
Criticism takes complaining a step further. And the progression is natural. Many complainers begin by voicing displeasure about the church in general and then move to attacking the pastor in specific.
The pastor didn’t immediately answer the email I sent to him at 9:43pm on a Friday night about a non-emergency matter. What do we even pay him for?
Why wasn’t the pastor’s wife at that event?
The pastor said no to my idea for a new weekly program at our church. Does he even love this community?
Any pastor will tell you that constant criticism is exhausting and discouraging.
And here’s a secret: most pastors are their own worst critic. They don’t need your help in that department. What they need is your love and support.
4. Empty Words
Many gossipers, complainers, and criticizers have one thing in common: they don’t actually serve in church.
Many times, the most vocal dissenters are the ones least likely to sign up for the opportunity to help the church with an event, a ministry, or program that is vital in showing the love of Jesus to the community.
They complain on theological grounds that the leadership of the church is headed in the wrong direction. Yet they do not lift a finger to help the church do anything good.
That’s called Pharisaism.
A negative attitude is poisonous to the soul. And the symptoms are a lack of willingness to serve, to help advance the mission, to humbly submit to what the church is doing and where it’s going.
Talk is cheap. It would be better to join in on the mission God has given us.
It’s easy to post an Instagram photo on Sunday afternoon and gush about how committed you are to your church family. It’s another thing to actually live out that commitment.
Of anything else, what might hurt your pastor the most is apathy.
Pastors constantly pour themselves out. The put in countless hours agonizing over every detail of the Sunday worship service, every word of their weekly message. They pour themselves into prayer–that they might see God move.
Most pastors even get to church early so that they can adjust every chair in the worship center to make sure it’s perfectly lined up.
All of that, only to literally hear snores from the congregation during that week’s message. (I’m not speaking from personal experience, obviously.)
When passion is met with apathy, it’s really discouraging.
It’s discouraging to love members of the church, only to see them once or twice in a 6 week period. And it’s not that pastors are just jacked up about worship attendance numbers. (Though, most pastors are to one degree or another.) It’s that they wish to see their church gain a godly sense of momentum.
They wish to see their people spiritually thriving.
Pastors are passionate about the mission. They have been tasked with leading a community of people to proclaim the name of Jesus and see lives transformed. It’s as important as it is exciting.
Nothing discourages a pastor more than to see people in the church that simply do not care about what God wants to do in the community.
On the other hand, nothing encourages a pastor more than to see his people passionate about the mission of God.
Because it’s not the pastor’s mission. It’s God’s mission. Given not only to the pastor, but to the whole church. That’s what pastors work so hard to get their people to realize.
Your pastor might not be perfect, but love him well anyway.
The fact of the matter is that no pastor is perfect. But we should still love them well. God has called them to lead our churches into realizing their God-given purpose.
That job comes with many burdens. Do your best not to be one of them. Your pastor is ready and willing to be burdened with the deep and genuine spiritual needs of your heart. But pastors aren’t exactly thrilled to be burdened with nonsense.
Love your pastor well by seeking to grow in your faith, by pursuing goodness for your church and your community, and by inspiring others to do the same.