It’s funny, actually. I’m a professor and church consultant, though I’m a pastor at heart – and I serve as one of the pastors at my local church, Restoration Church in Wake Forest, NC. But, because people see me as seminary professor/trainer first, they often ask me questions about pastors.
Below are some of those questions I’ve heard in the last few years. Some may surprise you, and some may even bother you if you’re a pastor. Most of these questions are just honest ones, though.
- What exactly does a pastor do during the week? You’d think this question came from a church member who attended only on Sunday morning and did nothing more during the week, but it actually came from a new believer who really didn’t know the answer.
- Do you think a pastor should know what everybody in the church gives? My friend Thom Rainer recently addressed this same question, though with a broader range of application. By the way, as a senior pastor for 14 years, I never knew what anyone gave.
- Should pastors get their sermons online? There are a lot of variables in this question, but the Internet certainly opens the door wide for sermon plagiarism.
- Will education ruin my pastor? I suspect I know the background of this question: some pastor who went to seminary changed his theology poorly in the process. It's wrong to think that always happens.
- If pastors depend on the Holy Spirit, why do they need notes for preaching? I first heard this question when an angry church member confronted me as her young pastor (I was using notes), and I still occasionally hear it.
- What do you recommend when the pastor’s preaching is really boring? This is a tough one. Evaluating a sermon is subjective, but too many preachers really do make the gospel boring.
- Does divorce disqualify a pastor? Christians differ on their answer to this question. The question’s not going to go away, though, in a culture where commitments to marriage have weakened.
- Should there be such a position as a “senior pastor”? This question has risen with increased attention to a plurality of elders as a model for church government.
- I’ve heard that even pastors struggle with pornography. Is that true? I’m afraid it is. That’s one reason many of us have tried to help address the problem.
- Why don’t pastors pay taxes? We do, actually, even though there are some tax benefits to this role.
What other questions have you heard? What questions would you want to ask? Pastors, what are your answers to any of these questions?