Last week, I posted on misperceptions that laypersons have about pastors. In response to readers and friends who asked about the opposite – that is, pastors’ misperceptions of laity – here’s that list. I suspect this list will draw some reaction from pastors who’ve been the target of angry (even unsaved, sometimes) laypeople. I also recognize that any pastor can find someone who disproves my thoughts. These thoughts are general, but feel free to give me your response.
- “Laypersons don’t love the Lord.” They may not always show it, but many really do love Him. They do think about Him on days other than Sunday.
- “They have no interest in spiritual disciplines.” They’ve heard leaders tell them for years to be more committed to spiritual disciplines, but no one has ever walked with them personally to show them how. That’s a major reason they seem to be apathetic.
- “They don’t care about lost people.” It’s true they don’t often tell the gospel to others, but it’s not always because they don’t care; sometimes it’s because they’re afraid. They worry that others will reject them or they won’t have all the right answers.
- “None of them likes change.” That’s simply not true. What they don’t like is change that happens too slowly, too quickly, or without explanation.
- “They don’t want to follow leaders.” Cast a God-given vision and lead them well, and many will get on board. What they don’t want to follow is a leader who doesn’t lead.
- “All who are older are stuck in the past.” Life itself won’t let them stay in the past. Sure, they miss the days that seemed less chaotic and safer, but they understand deep down that the church must change to reach the next generations.
- “Most are stingy.” Sometimes they have indeed spent poorly and taken on too much debt. Challenge them to give to a compelling purpose, though, and they’ll open their wallets.
- “None can be trusted.” It’s easy, but wrong, to view all laity through negative experiences with a few people. Some laypersons make completely trustworthy friends and co-laborers.
- “Only a few are interested in getting involved in the church.” It might be that only a few are actually serving, but many who are sitting would like to be involved. Instead, no one’s helped them understand their giftedness or shown them how to get involved.
- “They don’t love their pastor.” Even pastors who’ve been hurt can’t press this claim very far. Some of the most loving, sacrificing, giving, and supporting people in the world are laypeople in God’s church.
Feel free to respond to my thoughts. Have I given laypeople too much credit?