Monday, July 16, 2007

If I wasn't a pastor...


If I was not a pastor and lived my life as a regular church member, what would I do, or not do? I know I have the advantage of seeing things from "the other side" but still, I ponder often about what I would do if I ceased to be a pastor tomorrow and started attending a church somewhere. There are a few things I know for sure.


1) I'd never tell my pastor anything particularly important that I want them to remember on a Sunday or Wednesday night. (They've got way too much going on in leading the service and then praying for and greeting people afterwards and will probably forget it.) I'd give a call sometime during the week during office hours and ask the secretary to have them get back to me at their convenience. I also wouldn't drop in unannounced to the office and expect to meet with them, except in case of emergency, but would give the courtesy of calling the secretary for an appointment. I would respect my pastor's time, realizing that not only do they not "just work one day a week" (a common myth) but more like 50 hours on average per week, and 60 in busy seasons such as Christmas, Easter, or when major church projects are going on.

2) I would never approach my pastor right before a service about anything when they are getting ready to preach. I would realize - their head needs to totally be in the service. They have prepared, prayed and have to have their "head in the game" which means no distractions. The most contact I would have with my pastor right before a service would be to go to the room where they are and join others in praying for them before they go on the platform.

3) I'd make a point to e-mail or send a card at least once a month to just tell them something I appreciate that they've said or done lately. If their ministry is making any difference in my life at all, I would not wait until "Pastor Appreciation Month" to tell them.

4) In addition to whatever I was doing in the church as far as serving in a ministry (such as Sunday School or something), I would ask my pastor to give me something to do at least once a week or at least once a month that really has nothing to do with my "giftings" or my "calling" but is something they usually simply can't get anyone else to do.

5) I would sit in the front 1/3 of the sanctuary and make sure I was always fully present and involved - a total participant in worship.

6) I'd bring as many people to church as I possibly could.

7) I'd "amen" them at least four or five times a service.

8) I'd make it a point to love their family and show it by my words and actions.

9) I'd be the poster child for their vision. I'd make it my business to spread throughout the congregation whatever their dream was, and make a point of "good gossip" as I call it - telling anybody within earshot all the great things happening with the individual people in the congregation and the church as a corporate body.

10) I would always speak well of them. (I feel if I couldn't speak well of my pastors, what in the heck would I be doing in the church?) I heard Pastor Willie George one time say, "Most churches would grow if people would just speak well of their pastors to others..."

11) I would open my mouth and take up for them if need be. If I overheard anyone speak ill of my pastors I wouldn't even stop to ask myself if I were the person in position to speak to such a matter. I believe it is every church member's responsibility to stop any negative word about my pastors and demand that it cease.

12) I'd make sure my pastor was taken care of financially and if they weren't I'd go to the appropriate leaders and voice my opinion that that needs to change.

13) I would respect and give honor to my senior pastors as the spiritual mother/father of the church and realize that God has made them foremost leaders of the flock. If something negative or questionable happened with a staff member, I would not take their side but always give my senior pastors the benefit of the doubt and realize that God has placed them in position to lead and make these decisions on behalf of what is best for the body.

14) I would ask them how I could pray for them. When they told me, I would keep it airtight and take it to my grave. If they shared a burden with me, it would never escape my lips unless they asked me to share it with the prayer group or something.

15) I'd pray for them every single day and never take for granted that everything is okay, that plenty of other people are praying for them, or that they don't need my prayers.

16) I would not expect any special treatment from them for doing any of the above, or use it to get close or closer to them. I would always realize, they are my pastor first, my friend second. I would be happy with the level of relationship my pastor chose to grant me, and be grateful for it.

Impossible? I don't think so. I've seen some people actually live these things out! Some of them are members of my church where Larry and I serve as pastors! And praise God for them! know many people might think, "she wouldn't see it that way if she were not a pastor, but honestly...I would. These are things some people have done for me and it means the world. And if I'm ever retired out of the pastorate and in another type of ministry, these are all things I can't wait to put into practice if Larry and I attend somewhere else and sit under another senior pastor someday!

2 comments:

Deborah said...

Amen to this I have been on both sides and I must say that if more people where aware of this and got down to doing it the churches would be fuller. I would love to encourage more people to protect their pastors and their families, but mostly I would love for us to pray for them to have good friendships outside the church without the folk getting themselves in a knot over it. Keep going strong girl. love always me

Pastor L said...

"I'd never tell my pastor anything particularly important that I want them to remember on a Sunday or Wednesday night."

AMEN, sister!!! We could probably exchange stories for hours about why that is a very bad idea :o).

Great list, and I agree that it is definitely NOT an impossible one to follow.