10 Things I Wish I Could Say as a Pastor

Maybe Monday is not the best day for this post, but here goes. 

I’ve written previously about strange things people have said to me as a pastor or as a consultant. Sometimes it seems people will say just about anything . . . so, I thought I’d write a post about things I wish I could say aloud at times, but know better. Here are some of them.   

  1. “Do you ever read the bulletin or listen to the announcements?” It’s amazing what people don’t hear even though you’ve gone overboard to communicate.
  2. “Do you even have a mirror?” You know the people who cause you to think this way . . . .
  3. “Do you really think you can sing?” I can still remember when I first thought this thought. The music that day really was “special.” 
  4. “Oh, no, there she is.” That’s the way you feel when that certain bothersome church member comes your way.
  5.  “Would you please just grow up?” Believers who get stunted in their spiritual growth tend to whine a lot. 
  6.  “I wish you had not come today.” I’m just being honest – some members bring only gloom and negativity with them.
  7.  “You’re wrong. We let him go because ______________.” I understand why we protect staff and leaders we ask to step down, but sometimes it would be nice to tell the whole truth just to justify our position.
  8. “I just don’t want to do this today.” These kinds of Sundays don’t happen often, but they do happen.
  9. He’s not the pastor here anymore.” It seems some pastors who were once criticized become saints after they’re gone . . . .
  10. “Why do you keep coming if you’re so unhappy here?” I’ve never fully understand why miserable church people seem to feed off the conflict. 

I confess my sinful heart here. On the other hand, I do bite my tongue hard sometimes to keep from sinning more, knowing that words really can be destructive.  

How about you – what do you wish you could say, but don’t? 


  • Rich says:

    Here’s one — “You look for faults in other people like you are on a treasure hunt. Did you ever read Matthew 7:5?”

  • Jason says:

    I’m glad you said “I confess my sinful heart here.” Every time I’ve thought (or said) something like this, the Holy Spirit has hammered me for it.

  • An always unhappy member once said to me (about 2 minutes before the service) that he want to speak with me after the service about something with which he disagreed. In an instant, I replied, “Well, you have never agreed with anything I have done in the two years I have been here, so why should today be any different?” As I watched him during the service, I thought about the fact than in those two years he had suffered a heart attack; lost his career as a bus driver because of the heart attack; and, he had recently learned that his grandson was severely autistic. After the service, I went to him and apologized for speaking harshly to him and confessed to him that my anger was sinful.

    We never became friends in the seven years I was his pastor, but I had learned a very helpful lesson about my own sinful attitude about difficult people.

    I share every Pastor’s frustrations when dealing with difficult people; but, I am very thankful for the things I did not say. A wise friend once told me, you usually do not have to apologize for things that you do not say.

  • Rebecca says:

    If you know your words can be destructive. Why did you write this post? Now I am concerned this is how my pastor feels about me.

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