10 Reasons Some Pastors are Mean

I recently published a post onWhy Some Church Members are Mean.” If you read this blog often, you know I love and respect pastors – but I must admit that a few pastors are mean, too. Here are some of the reasons behind their “meanness”:

  1. Some are not believers. That’s a hard sentence to write, but I’ve known pastors who genuinely come to know Christ after they’ve started ministry. Then, His Spirit softens that pastor’s heart.
  2. Some spend too little time with God. Pastors often admit they spend too little time in Bible study and prayer. They do those things in preparing sermons, but some find it hard to have consistent spiritual disciplines—and they’re not under the Word that changes people.
  3. Some are having troubles at home. Those troubles, too, might be related to the pastor’s attitude. What happens, though, is that he allows those troubles to influence how he treats people in the church.
  4. Some have been beaten up with criticism. Some of the criticism may have been justified, but too much of it can make anyone cynical and frustrated. It just gets tiring, and it’s hard not to retaliate in a mean way.
  5. Some are dealing with private sin. Continual conviction and ongoing defeat take their toll, and the pastor lets that burden affect his relationship with others. Often, he doesn’t listen, and he responds in a curt way.
  6. Some deal with anger issues. Perhaps they grew up in an angry home, but they haven’t conquered that issue yet. They’re mean when they let anger rule their life (see “10 Reasons Anger is Often a Problem for Pastors”).
  7. Some have been recently wounded. They don’t usually carry a grudge, and they forgive quickly – but a recent event is still creating some inner turmoil. That turmoil sometimes makes itself known in meanness.
  8. Some listen to nobody. That is, they don’t have a friend or mentor who can speak into their lives. These pastors walk alone, and nobody has permission to help them see their apparent meanness toward others.
  9. Some simply don’t recognize that others see them as mean. They’re not self-aware, and they can’t even imagine others seeing them as mean. They don’t recognize that sometimes their facial expressions appear angry and their words come across as mean.
  10. Some aren’t really called to this work. They might recognize that reality, and their daily work is more frustrating than edifying; hence, they allow their inner tensions to come out as meanness.  

What would you add to this list? Pastors, how can we best pray for you?   


  • Mark says:

    It is not that they are always mean to everyone. To whom or which group do they appear mean? Growing up, it always seemed that the preacher/pastor was mean towards kids. We got nothing from the sermon. We did not have children’s church. Perhaps it was because the older people in the congregation were happy with him that no one seemed to care about anything else. Some preachers/pastors don’t know how to deal with kids and younger people. Fast forward to college where there was chapel. Those who preached just seemed to lambast us and condemn us all to hell, even for the sins of others. I am sure their sermons were supported by the administrators who invited them to speak and the large donors. While they may have had decent motives, the delivery was terrible. I never understood why no one with power would ever tell a pastor/preacher that he was coming across as mean. All this did was run a lot of people right out of Christianity. If you don’t condemn it but sit quietly as it goes on, you condone it. That made me upset with both the mean preacher/pastor and the powerful person who could have stopped it but didn’t.

  • Rick Bowman says:

    Pastors are human. Below the angels. Sinners. The best fall short, And the worst can be devils.
    Look only to Jesus for direction, inspiration, forgiveness, and salvation.
    Perfection is found in God, not in a man.

  • David says:

    Well written and helpful.

  • Jose Najera says:

    Jose Marzo 24 2019 6:00 PM
    El pastor es una persona que en su medio no solo lidea con las personas que lo rodean y que lo ayudan o estorban, sino que se cumple una vez mas el hecho que en su ministerio muchos caen en la soledad, dejando atras la relacion con las personas que los rodean, por no encontrar una relacion verdadera, ya que muchos tienen al pastor como una ser supremo, o especial, y prefieren rodearlo antes de buscarle y ministrarle porque aunque no lo entendamos, el pastor nesecita ser ministrado tambien por su iglesia y asi llevar una vida mas entregada al saberce amado y saver que no esta solo en el ministerio, sinembargo, la soledad de muchos pastores cuando llegan a cierta edad, y no encontrar esa respuesta de las iglesias que han servido o que sirven, les afecta en su caracter, y no presisamente que sean malos o molestos, sino que la gente los clasifica asi por su sombra que los sigue en sus vidas como seres solitarios que viven y sirven a Dios de la forma que Dios les permite y ayuda para asi poder lograr vivir su llamado.

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