O Pastor, Where Art Thou?

October 6, 2004 by

Growing up all over the USA and being involved and committed to numerous churches, I have become increasingly aware of the benefit to having some sort of relationship or at least face-to-face communication with the leaders of the church I attend. In particular, the senior pastor. Unfortunately, at the church I am a part of now, this is not the case. Over the last year and half I have interacted with some of the pastoral staff but not once have I ever been within 10 feet of the senior pastor (my wife and I are not front row kind of people).

I realize this is just as much my problem as anybody else’s, but I don’t like it. The church I attend is rather large and it is easy to fade into the big crowds. This was a blessing at first because my wife and I had just finished helping a church plant for 18 months and we needed some breathing room before diving back into “ministry.” But now, I believe my need for connection is necessary to my health spiritually.

How does this relate to church marketing? I’m glad you asked. If I was a customer, the pastors would be the salesmen. It’s their job to sell me, hook me, and make me want more every week. (Excuse the harsh comparison, I’m going somewhere with this.)

What would happen if you (the church pastor) made it a point to get individual face-time with the people in your church? Not just the people that come to you, but making an effort to go to the people. First-time visitor gatherings with free donuts after service are nice, but not everyone goes to those. How about coming up with a way to identify the people that have attended your church for a couple months but you have not yet met personally?

If you want to be authentic, and do marketing that works, relationship-building is the number one way to go. Nearly every industry in every business will tell you that.

I’m not suggesting scheduling lengthy meetings or making a huge ordeal out of this. I’m simply suggesting intentional connection with people in need of it. Like me. There will be plenty of people you miss in the process, but think of all the people you will reach.

Post By:

Brad Abare

Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it.
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8 Responses to “O Pastor, Where Art Thou?”

  • Prophet of Rage
    October 6, 2004

    I have three questions. Why is it so intensely important for you to know the senior pastor? Why is it so intensely important for the senior pastor to know everyone? And why is it necessary to have the position of senior pastor?

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  • brad
    October 7, 2004

    If by the word “know” you mean have a great relationship with the senior pastor, than I would say it is not important. I do think it is important to have some sort of interaction/connection. For larger churches, “senior” leadership can still do this because obviously one person connecting with everybody in the church is nearly impossible.
    Your last question took me for a loop and almost discredited everything you just asked. If I misunderstood you, I apologize. For you to ask “why is it necessary to have the position of senior pastor?” leads to a more theological discussion rather than sticking to the subject of church marketing. I’m not going to debate the role of senior pastor in the context of this blog, but I very much believe in having a person in the role of a senior pastor and there are volumes of research and Biblical reasoning to back that up.

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  • Rhinoguy
    October 7, 2004

    Not to be cynical (okay, maybe a little), but have you tried adding a couple zeros to your annual offering pledge card? You can always say later that your pen ran out of ink when you were placing the decimal point.

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  • bobbie
    October 19, 2004

    my husband is a youth pastor and we’ve been at our current church for 4 years now. the senior pastor and his wife have said less than 100 words to me each in this time.
    it is shocking to me the lack of people skills that we allow in those who are called to ‘shepherd us’…

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  • Jeff
    August 21, 2005

    This on really takes the cake. I can’t imagine why it is so important for anyone to “have relationship” with the senior pastor.
    If your reason for going to Church is to “rub elbows” with the pastor or people in charge then I might suggest that you join a country club.
    It reminds me of a service we did not long ago titled “Top ten reasons people don’t come to church”. And number one was “The pastor doesn’t pay enough attention to me”
    And I thought that was far fetched!

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  • pastor anjum
    March 29, 2007

    Hello my Dear!
    Most Greetings to you in Holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ. With Christ love and Prayer of Lord.
    First of all I want to introduce my self I am the founder of chain prayer ministry, which God gifted me. It is my great desire that non-Christian also come towards Jesus Christ and accepts him as their savior. I request you to pray for me.
    We are working since 2004. The areas we are focusing our support on are: Education, preaching, church planting and development, leadership development and organizational capacity building.
    We are taking Sunday school classes to different schools, Churches and in slum areas also. Now with the help of almighty God we are teaching and preaching Biblical Education to children. We have need some material like color pencils, Sunday school, color books, balloons, sweets, etc. for the Sunday school classes.
    We request you to please remember our ministry in your daily prayers that almighty God will use our team only for His glorious work in coming weeks.
    Thanks and God bless you all.
    Pastor Anjum Shouket
    House #236, Block #B,
    Street #18 youhana bad
    Lahore Pakistan.
    Postal code 54760

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  • Another guy
    November 25, 2008

    This is a ridiculous rant. If you desire fairly consistent, personal interaction with the senior pastor of a church, go to a smaller church. Common sense dictates that one human being cannot maintain warm, consistent relationships with hundreds of people – making them all feel special. If you require that kind of affirmation, go somewhere else. While you’re at it, don’t seek out the pastor of your new congregation; seek out a Christian counselor to help you overcome your infantile need for validation.

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  • hereiam
    November 27, 2008

    Well, I would have to ask how big is your church? If you go to a place with 10,000+ people trying to get ahold of the senior pastor can be a problem. May I suggest finding a church that is a bit smaller and where the pastor is easily accesible. I think it’s a good thing to have a relationship with the senior pastor, but if it’s anything like my pastor they are very busy and really don’t have time to just sit and council people all day. That is why they delegate to the leadership team. And could you imagine if one of the mega-church pastors went to eat at everybody in the congregation’s houses? They woudn’t come home for years!

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