In my ministry experience, I have seen people say and do things that can really hurt their pastor. Some of them do things unintentionally, and some (I believe) do things intentionally. We oftentimes view the pastor as a man who is not human, but we must remember that pastors are human and can hurt just like anyone else. We must be careful in the way that we treat, honor, and submit to their authority.
Here are a few ways that people hurt their pastors:
- Joke that the Pastor doesn’t have a Real Job – Here are some common phrases I have heard from pastors: “I want to become a pastor, because that is easy.” “I want to become a pastor so I can sleep in and have an easy schedule.” I hate hearing people talk about how being a pastor is so easy. Yes, in some ways the pastors schedule is much different from the average position, but just stop with these jokes. It can hurt the pastor, and cause him to feel like what they are saying is true, and it is not. People say these hurtful things, and then expect that same pastor to be at their beck and call when they are in need.
- Tell the Pastor He is Overpaid – In my experience, very few pastors make a ton of money. Many of them sacrifice. Stop with these comments. They are hurtful. One of the most difficult things for pastors to have to deal with is their salary is open for all to see. This is often difficult and stressful for pastors, but it really shouldn’t be. Members make it stressful on the pastors because many think pastors are overpaid. When you say these things, it is hurtful to your pastor.
- Criticize the Pastor and his Family – I have seen people destroy churches because they criticize the pastor and his family to other members of the congregation. Regardless of how you feel about the pastor, it is sin for you to criticize him to other members of the congregation behind his back. This is hurtful to the pastor and to the church. Also, lay off of his family. Nothing hurts the pastor more than when church members hurt the pastor’s wife or kids.
- Tell the Pastor He Takes to Many Vacations – I have heard this one from members of churches, but in reality they have not taken much more than the average employee. We have created this idea that pastors cannot take breaks or vacations. Look, they need breaks and vacations as much as you do. It is hurtful to tell them that they take too much time.
- Criticize the Church or the Pastor through Social Media – Social media is one of the greatest tools in ministry. I love it, and am a huge supporter of it. The fact of the matter though is that some people are not mature enough to use social media. That is the truth. Some cannot post without saying something negative about the church, the pastor, or another member in the congregation. Most pastors are on social media and see this stuff. It is hurtful to them and their ministry to see social media become a place where criticism happens. Deal with things Biblically and go to people when they offend you, do not post it all over social media!