Pastors constantly work to understand their members, but how often do members consider what a pastor actually wants?
They’d be amazed to learn how many things pastors wish they knew. By having this two-way understand, pastors and members create a much stronger bond and church.
Even if when pastors don’t specifically say these things, they’re thinking these and many more. Of course, members and church staff should never be afraid to ask their pastor what’s on their mind.
1. They’re Human Too
One of the most important things pastors wish their members knew is they’re human too. Pastors aren’t perfect and never will be. Both the pastor and their family are human. They will make mistakes. They will sin. They can’t please everyone at all times.
With all the pressure they’re under, it’s hard to try and seem like the perfect example at all times. Often, it just leads to feelings of discouragement. Make sure your pastor knows it’s okay not to be perfect.
2. Engagement Takes Two
Engagement is always an issue at churches. Often, pastors are blamed for not being engaging enough. However, pastors wish their members knew that engagement is a two-way street. Church isn’t a place to go for entertainment. For full engagement, members have to get involved. This could include volunteering, offering feedback to pastors and leaders, offering to blog on the church’s website or working to welcome new members.
3. Sermons Are Hard Work
Writing a sermon isn’t easy. It’s actually much harder than anyone might believe. Pastors have to think about what topic they want to cover, what lesson(s) to teach, what scripture works best and how to make it engaging. Of course, now, they also have to consider which parts might work best to place on social media.
For pastors who also blog, they have to figure out how to ensure their blog posts and sermons are unique. When people are falling asleep or gossiping during the sermon or leaving negative comments online, it undermines all this hard work. Pastors just want a little respect for all that they do.
4. Constructive Criticism Is Nice
There’s a difference between criticism and constructive criticism. The first is typically negative. One of the things pastors wish members knew was how to offer constructive criticism. Telling the pastor their sermon was horrible isn’t helpful. Instead, offer something more useful, such as telling them it was too long or needed more tie-in to current events.
Pastors honestly do want feedback. However, bashing them doesn’t help. Plus, pastors often get harsh criticism for things that aren’t their fault. For instance, a slow loading website isn’t the pastor’s fault. However, talking to the church staff member in charge of the website could easily help fix the issue.
5. Major Changes Are For The Church
Every church has to go through major changes to stay relevant and grow. This isn’t always met with rave reviews. Instead, the pastor often gets blamed for trying to change everything. Pastors wish their members would be more considerate and realize that these changes aren’t for the pastor’s personal pleasure. Instead, they’re for the good of the church.
If members don’t approve, constructive criticism and alternative changes are always welcome.
6. There’s Never Enough Time
Pastors constantly deal with being pulled in 20 different directions every single day. Members expect them to be there for them no matter what, even if this means driving all over town to personally visit each member. However, pastors have families, friends and hobbies.
There’s not enough time to do it all. Members may complain, but pastors wish members knew that they needed help. Members could volunteer to go around to visit the sick and elderly. They could offer to help upload sermons online or moderate blog comments. The more time members give, the more time pastors have to do more.
7. Attendance Does Make A Difference
Members might not think staying out makes a difference, but it does. One of the things pastors wish members knew was that attendance does matter. Imagine looking out and seeing fewer and fewer members coming in. Even if members can’t always attend, pastors wish they’d make an effort to reach out at least.
For instance, pop in on social media to comment on the latest church blog post or Sunday’s online sermon. This gives pastors faith that even if members aren’t in the pews, they’re still worshipping and interacting.
8. Don’t Criticize – Help Instead
Most important, don’t criticize without a solution. Pastors are bombarded with criticisms about everything from their sermons to poor church growth. They can’t possibly do everything. Pastors want the church to be great, but they need help. They want members to do more than just point out what’s wrong. Instead, offer up solutions, volunteer and take initiative.
By working together, the church grows and members and pastors are much happier.
Want to improve engagement and church participation? Start with a church website that keeps members interacting with the church 24/7.