Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Just Say It" Series: How to help your pastor when they are bombarded

Yesterday I talked about pastors being bombarded before and after services.  I'm a big believer in giving SOLUTIONS and not just talking about PROBLEMS. So, for all you church members out there across America who are reading this...here are some practical things you can do to help your pastor with this issue.

First of all, make sure you personally don't do the things I mentioned yesterday.  You might think you are a different case or in a different category, but you aren't.  One of the most frustrating things for any pastor are those who think, "yeah, my pastor deals with that, but it doesn't include me...I have a different relationship with them...it's not the same when I do it."  YES IT IS.  And yes, they mind.  And no, they won't tell you they mind.  They are too nice.  But I've put the pause on my "nice" button today and I'm telling you.  You aren't different and they get just as irritated when  you dump things on them before or after as they do with anyone else.

Second, when you see people gathering to talk to your pastor about these kind of things before or after service, you might want to ask your pastor if you can serve them by watching out for this and getting their permission to gently re-direct folks to call during the week.  In doing so you are becoming part of pastor's personal "peace patrol."  You are giving them the peace they so desperately need right before or after service to keep their mind stayed on the things of God.   Once your pastor gives you the okay to start doing this, when you see the line forming or you see people making a move to run over to your pastor and lay something on them at an inopportune times, intercept the person and gently say, "Pastor is busy right now getting things ready for service.  Is this an emergency?"   It really helps for the pastor to have people who can help educate the church folk on proper timing for approaching the pastor.

There are also times the pastor gets "trapped" for lack of a better word with those who are pastoral monopolizers.  These folks have nothing in particular to say but they take forever saying it.  They will run up to the pastor after each service and talk without coming up for a breath.  I have a secret signal that my helpers have that I can do without anyone else knowing and it means, "RESCUE ME, NOW..."  When I give the secret signal one of them comes over and urgently says, "Pastor Deanna, you're needed immediately in the office..." or "Pastor Deanna, your husband needs you immediately and asked for me to come get you."  These are not lies, as my husband has given blanket instructions to all of my helpers that anytime I need to be rescued from such a situation they are to use his  name and say that he wants them to get me immediately because He does!  It works.  It also works for him and usually Tom is watching out for him.  But for it to work you have to have people watching out for you to see if someone has you cornered and is not coming up for air.   If you are a church member reading this, go and ask your pastor if you can be one of his or her "rescuers". 

Fourth, take things to the next level and do what some of my helpers do...say, "I can help you with that. Our pastor has asked me to take care of folks who need help..." TRUST ME, this is WORTH IT'S WEIGHT IN GOLD to your pastor!!!   There are times I have a line of people waiting to talk to me and Cathy, Candy or Lisa will approach people who are standing and waiting and say, "Can I help you?" or "let me pray with you about that..." and the person is ministered to and happily on their way.   The church is supposed to be a place of body ministry, not all about the pastor anyway.  Like most churches we do have altar workers and people should be coming up to receive ministry from any number of people but for whatever reason they often wait afterwards to talk to the pastor about it all over again.  The church body needs to be taught that the pastor is there to train and equip (Ephesians 4) not DO all the work of the ministry.   Having mature people on hand to talk to them or minister to those needs is important.  Ask your pastor if you can help out with this.  They will be so glad.  Their line is about to get shorter!!!    This might be my greatest "pastor appreciation gift" that people ever give me. It means I get to get off my feet at 9:00 pm versus 11:00 pm and go home with my family on a Wednesday night or that I get to eat lunch at 1:00 pm versus 2:00 pm on a Sunday and finally get off my feet for a few hours. Let your pastor know that you are there to make things easier in this regard.    They will be so grateful, I promise.

**p.s.  I'm going to be posting again late this afternoon, so check back!  This is a double post day!  Yeah!

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