7 Ways to Hurt your Pastor

Preacher at funeral in Soweto Township, Johannesburg --- Image by © Hoberman Collection/Corbis

Preacher at funeral in Soweto Township, Johannesburg — Image by © Hoberman Collection/Corbis

I stumbled on this very interesting article on written by Thom Rainer and I think every Christian needs to read it, especially those who want to hurt their pastors and those who want the best for them also.
If you really want to hurt your pastor, then this article is for you.
This past week alone, I had conversations with dozens of pastors. These pastors love their churches and the members. They are really committed to their callings. But they are real people who can really be hurt.
The pastors I spoke with this past week shared with me seven common themes of the things that hurt them the most.
So, if you really want to hurt your pastor, follow these guidelines carefully

1. Criticize the pastor’s family.

Few things are as painful to pastors as criticizing their families, especially if the criticisms are related to issues in the church.

2. Tell the pastor he is overpaid.

Very few pastors really make much money. But there are a number of church members who would like to make the pastor feel badly about his pay.

3. Don’t defend the pastor.

Critics can be hurtful. But even more hurtful are those who remain silent while their pastor is verbally attacked.
Silence is not golden in this case.

4. Tell your pastor what an easy job he has.

It can really sting when someone suggests that the pastor really only works about 10 hours a week. Some actually believe that pastors have several days a week off.

5. Be a constant naysayer.

Pastors can usually handle the occasional critic. But the truly painful relationships are with church members who are constantly negative.
How do you know you’ve succeeded in this regard? The pastor runs the other way when he sees you.

6. Make comments about the pastor’s expenditures.

I heard it from a pastor this past week. A church member asked, “How can you afford to go to Disney World?” Wow.

7. Compare your pastor’s preaching and ministry unfavorably to that of another pastor.

Many times, the member wants you to know how much he or she likes that pastor on the podcast compared to you. If you really want to hurt your pastor, you can make certain he knows how inferior he is.
So, if your life’s goal is to hurt your pastor, one or more of these approaches will work just fine.
But if you are like most good church members, you want the best for your pastor. So just do the opposite of these seven.
And if you are worried that your pastor will not remain humble unless someone puts him in his place, don’t worry. There will always be plenty of those other church members around.

Do you identify with these seven items?

What would you add?  

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources ( Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.
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1 Comment

  1. hmmm, I would add run from the church and not be around to build it, but come back to claim pioneer member when the struggles are over!!!
    I just want to emphasize this, cuz some people be sitting there reading number 3 and going… well I don’t agree. Bro or sist. your pastor is a humn being that makes mistakes. am not saying you shoula applaud them when they sin. however, when u sinned and confessed to them, u didn’t expect them to announce on the pulpit ur name and ur sin. Be a member with a difference oooo. the whole world already know that they are wrong, how are you helping the situation???
    thanks ….

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