11 Things Too Many Pastors Forget to Do

Pastors are busy folks. We do the work of God, fulfilling our calling while ministering to hurting people. Sometimes, though, we forget to do some basic things that could make our ministries stronger. In fact, many of us who are church leaders forget to do these things:

  1. Say “thanks” to long-term, faithful servants. We say “thanks” to newly committed leaders, and we thank those who tackle the toughest jobs – but we have a tendency to take for granted those who’ve served faithfully and quietly for years.
  2. Pray for families who are doing well. We reserve our prayers for families that are struggling – thus leaving “healthy” families uncovered in prayer. 
  3. Request permission to use our family for sermon illustrations.  We wrongly assume they won’t mind, and then we sometimes have to apologize.
  4. Pray when we said we’d pray for someone. We hear the concern as members walk out the door. We register the concern but sometimes fail to recall the need.
  5. Attribute sermon illustrations to proper sources when we borrow them. Sometimes the forgetfulness is simply an oversight, but it’s never right to use somebody else’s material as if it were our own.
  6. Pray for missionaries. I don’t know a pastor who would say there’s no such need to pray, and most pastors know somebody on the mission field. Many of us forget to intercede for them, though, until we hear about a problem. 
  7. Honor staff members on their birthdays and anniversaries. Many staff will take such an oversight in stride, but we miss an opportunity to bless faithful servants when we forget their special days.
  8. Keep our spouse informed about church events. Here’s my confession: too many times I’ve forgotten to tell my wife about a church activity, and she’s learned about it from another church member. That’s my error.
  9. Think about non-believers in the congregation. Our Christian-ese vocabulary often betrays the fact that we forget that non-believers might be listening to us.
  10. Re-read emails before sending them. This memory lapse can be disastrous when dealing with a conflict.
  11. Remember that we, too, were once lost. When we forget that truth, we tend to take grace for granted – and ministry becomes more an occupation than a privilege. 

Pastors, what else do we forget? 


  • Bill Pitcher says:

    Your point #5 hits a nerve. I have often “turned off” a speaker on account of mis-attributing or mis-using an illustration or story, or using one that’s proven to be false, or putting himself into a story I’d heard when I was about 10 years old, or …. You get the picture. If a story is good enough to use in a sermon, use it well and cite the source. If it’s of unknown origin, say that.

    • Ken says:

      I once began a sermon with these words: “I borrowed this outline from Warren Wiersbe. I had my own outline, but I like his better, so I’m using it instead.” The people laughed, and I think they appreciated my honesty. There’s nothing wrong with borrowing material from other preachers, but I agree with you: have enough integrity to cite your source.

    • Chuck Lawless says:

      Thanks for the affirmation, Bill.

  • Ken says:

    As we say in the South, you done quit preachin’ and gone to meddlin’! 😉 Seriously, you did step on my toes a bit, but we pastors need that now and then. Thanks for the reminders.

  • Hal says:

    That the call of Staff members is as real and of God as the Senior Pastor.

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