We’ve all been there in one way or the other. As church members, we need to tell the pastor something – and the only time we see him is as he makes his way to the service. Or, as a pastor, we’ve been the recipients of those conversations. We don’t want to appear rude, but nor is our focus on conversations.
Here are some ways to talk with your pastor during that time:
What you should NOT say:
- “I have a complaint about xxxxx.” Even if your complaint is valid, that’s not the time to bring it up. Don’t distract your pastor from his focus on preaching the Word.
- “Did you hear about xxxxx?” He may have already heard, or perhaps he hasn’t. In either case, he’s likely not in the best position to hear the details. His mind is rightly already moving toward the service.
- “I really didn’t like your sermon last week.” Again, it’s simply not the time to bring up that concern. Talk to him during the week if you must, not just before he prepares to preach again (and, to be truthful, he may not have liked his sermon last week, either . . . so you may need to cut him some slack).
- “I’m having surgery this week on Tuesday at 7:30am.” He probably wants to know that information, but tell him when he can listen more completely. Use email or the telephone.
- “Please pray for me about xxxxx.” I know including this one on the "don't" list might get me in trouble, but here’s my point: pastors are often bombarded with such requests on a Sunday. To expect him to remember every one (or even to write down every one while on the way to worship) is unfair. Use another means to get the word to him.
- “We just want you to know we’re leaving the church after this week.” Frankly, someone who gives the pastor this information just prior to a service might be both unkind and disrespectful. Why give him hard news just prior to his leading a service?
What you SHOULD say:
- “We love you, pastor.” That’s only four words, but they’re often needed ones. You might be the only person to say those words to him this week.
- “We love your family, pastor.” Assuming you love him also, these words may be even more important to the pastor than #1 above. A man who trusts that his congregation loves his family will look forward to worshiping with that congregation.
- “We’re praying for you.” When those words are more than just words Christians are supposed to say, they mean the world to a pastor. He needs to know his congregation is interceding for him.
- “We’re looking forward to the Word today.” When a pastor knows his listeners have come with interested and waiting ears, his excitement over preaching the Word soars. Let him know.
- “Thanks for being a man of God.” Integrity matters, and we too seldom thank those who model it before us. As a pastor, I would hear these words as both an encouragement and a challenge to fight to stay faithful and holy.
- “I want to contact you this week to see how I can best help you.” You don’t need to get into the details in this conversation. Keep it short, and be committed to your word. Your pastor may need to know he’s not alone in his work.
What would you add to this list?