Cut Your Pastor Some Slack

April 6, 2005 by

So often when it comes to the church marketing discussion everything falls to the pastor. As much as I want churches to improve their marketing, I also want to be sensitive to the plight of the burned out pastor. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: Supporting pastors is good for marketing.

Scott Williams offers a good perspective on what pastors face in his post, Why Pastors Quit The Ministry:

we are tired of pretending that we cannot be hurt. people assume ministers are available for their criticism 24/7. people say things to clergy they would not say to their worst enemies. for some reason they feel at liberty to delve into every aspect of clergy life. they have an opinion about everything we do. they believe it is their god-given right to critique your personal life, your professional life, your emotional state, the way you dress, your use of colloquialisms, your kids, your personality, how much you spend on a car, your friendships, how you drive, how much you fart, the list goes on and on. pastors live their life in the limelight. they, therefore, constantly disappoint people. it is hard to disappoint people all the time. as a pastor, and maybe it is just me, i seem to let people down all the time. recently i was at a small group where several complained that i was not their close friend. besides the obvious fact that i do not have enough hours in the day nor the emotional energy to be friends with everyone, let alone friendly, how can you assume i would would want to be your close friend? ministers spend their entire life pretending to like a portion of the population that they really cannot stand.

Whew. Can you feel that rant? So cut your pastor some slack. (link via Jordon Cooper)

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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10 Responses to “Cut Your Pastor Some Slack”

  • Brent Logan
    April 6, 2005

    It’s a good rant, right up until the last sentence. What’s the solution? I don’t know. Some might want pastors who are better at faking friendship. I’d say congregations need to readjust their expectations. And if a pastor truly cannot bring himself to “minister” (I was searching for a verb other than “like” and I think this works) to the congregation, then I agree, a change is necessary.

    My experience is that churches go through a healthy self-examination when they are “between pastors.” The congregation comes to realize how much the pastor really was doing (and probably shouldn’t have).

    Being a “real” pastor, warts and all is a risky proposition. What sin can a pastor openly admit to fighting that won’t cause problems with at least one member who will cause problems down the road?

    We want the best from our pastors. We fail when we require perfection.

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  • Tally
    April 7, 2005

    The way this stops is by Pastors who refuse to live with it. The reality is that we as Pastors must lead even in this area. From the start of our church plant I informed our team that statistics say that 80% of them would leave before the end of 3 years. I informed them that I received a paycheck not my wife and I informed them that there was no way for us to be a growing church if everyone waited for me to do the work. We studied Ephesians 4 and my role became very clear: To encourage and equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. I’m transparent in my speaking and straight-forward when someone crosses boundaries. Usually we as Pastors wait until someone in the congregation has set up a tent in our yard before we complain about boundaries. If enough leaders were straight forward with their expectations, there would be less of these concerns. People in ministry naturally want a leader. If they don’t think it’s you, it will be them.

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  • Anthony
    April 7, 2005

    One of the signs that the Bible says will mark the last of the last days is that people will have ungrateful hearts. We are supposed to receive our Pastors as gifts, and some people just don’t know how to truly receive and treasure the gift of a Godly Pastor. Some folks have not been trained on how to be a good church member, and some folks are just plain ole “goats” that may need a trip to the Holy Ghost woodshed in order to learn some manners. One thing is certain, Jesus said that whatsoever we do to the least of these, we have done to Him also.

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  • Scot McKnight
    April 9, 2005

    I’ve been left wandering in my thoughts in my commute of late with a challenge to reach our world and our local communities more effectively. And my thoughts have considered at times how it was that Jesus drew so many to the kingdom. Here’s my conclusion: Jesus had the ability and willingness to establish permeable walls between himself and his world.
    John the Baptist, by calling people to get purified in the water of the Jordan, and Jesus, by calling people to the table as the “place of grace,” were in effect saying the “Temple is not getting the job done as it ought.” Too many are left out, and the priestly establishment needs to hear it.
    To establish a new “place of grace,” Jesus chose the table, but not just any table. He chose the regular ol’ dinner table in homes in Galilee. Consider the pictures we’ve seen of St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel and then think of just a regular house in Roma and its dinner table. Now you see what he was doing. Jesus democratized the “place of grace,” and called people to come to him.
    In so doing, he let people get as close to him as they wanted: they could walk with him daily; they could sit at the table with him daily; they could stand at the back of the room for awhile, until they chose to sit or walk; they could stand at the door and listen in on the conversation; or they could stick their heads through the window to take it all in. Or, they could even just ask others who had been there. No forcing here; just come as you are and as you wish.
    This created a permeable wall between him, the kingdom, and the world.
    Do churches today have permeable walls? Is it not the case that “strangers” who come to our “churches” know in fact they are strangers. Is it because, and I think it is, we have “impermeable” walls, tall walls, thick walls. Could we perhaps reconsider once again how to reach our community, and think instead of how we can create permeable walls between ourselves and our community?
    I welcome your thoughts.

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  • Stacy L. Harp
    April 11, 2005

    Actually the real problem is that most “pastors” aren’t called by God to be pastors.
    And most Pastors are not emotionally healthy enough to really lead and shepherd because they have too much baggage of their own and it’s their issues that infect the church.
    A church is only as healthy as the leadership is.
    And if pastors focused more on Jesus and less on themselves then their wouldn’t be as much of an issue with trying to please the congregation or do worldly marketing because Christ would be the focus.

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  • Franklin Wood
    April 11, 2005

    I was told recently that I should at LEAST wear a suit and tie on Sunday mornings to church! I thought, “If that is the least, I’m in trouble! I can’t afford a tux!”
    OK, here’s what I’m thinking: If pastors (my “tribe” calls them ministers) cannot have problems and feel the pressure to be perfect, won’ their church feel the same way? That church will turn into a bunch of liars…telling each other that they are perfect!
    Several times Paul said, “I REJOICE in my struggles, because it shows that I’m weak, but GOD is strong!”
    Pastors are “jars of clay”, too! I REJOICE that I’m not perfect, because that’s NOT what Christ came to save!
    Let’s hold our pastors accountable to standards of holiness, and NOT according to their looks, personalities, or how many times they said, “Uh…” during a lesson!

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  • doug
    October 26, 2006

    is there any proof that he willingly quit the ministry? if so then why the bitterness?

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  • sheldon
    May 4, 2007

    hard to hear from a pastor who stole one of his congregant’s wife and covered it up by lying about it to his bishop and to his congregation; then to later marry that very same woman to whom he was told to have no contact with by the said same bishop all the while playing the victim of some conspiracy of gossip. it was truly tragic to watch mr. william’s great deception and the devastation that it left on his former congregation.

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  • Champ
    January 15, 2008

    I hear all that “joy of the Lord!” Sounds like someone needs some cheese with their whine. Try working at a noisy, greasy factory all your life.
    Assume you want to be my close friend? I wouldn’t want your whiny butt within 10 miles!
    If you ever get time you need to get saved. That may help. :)

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  • Dr Ronald Shultz
    May 11, 2009

    Many leave becuse there are too many preachers and not enough churches. Churches are in the same thing as the housing market. It is a buyer’s market and they want more bang for their buck but the have no clue as to what the bang should be. A few years back there was a local article published complaining about a lack of pastors. I have no clue what this guy was talking about but here is my answer to that article.

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