Is It Okay For A Pastor To Lie

Is It Okay For A Pastor To Lie?

Thomas CostelloChurch Leadership 2 Comments

Your automatic answer to this question might be no, but stop and carefully consider what this means.

If it’s never okay for a pastor to lie, that means the pastor must be perfect. However, pastors are humans just like everyone else.

This means they have flaws too. Here are the six most common lies that pastors tell.

Trying To Do It All

Pastors are just like everyone else – sometimes they take on more than they should. So, when members ask for help or want to know if the pastor’s okay, it’s not uncommon for the pastor to lie. They might claim they have plenty of time to help or that they’re doing fine and not overwhelmed at all.

It’s a lie pastors need to stop telling, though. Trying to do everything causes burn out and that’s not good for your church at all.

Only Seeing The Best (Or Worst)

Sometimes pastors tell themselves that everything’s okay or they only focus on the worst-case scenario. For instance, if membership is waning, the pastor might tell everyone that it’s not a problem because they are still plenty of members. On the other hand, a pastor might lie about just how bad membership has dropped to encourage members to invite more people.

Much of this comes down to a pastor being too pessimistic or optimistic. Optimism is important for pastors, but it’s still important to be honest with members. By balancing the good and the bad, members are better equipped to help out and make things better.

Trying To Make Everyone Happy

Church leadership is one of the toughest jobs. Why? Leaders are expected to somehow make everyone happy. Sometimes this results in lying. In trying to please everyone, it’s easier for a pastor to lie and promise to work on changes to the church that will never even be discussed again. It’s a dangerous downward spiral that just causes┬ámore stress on pastors and members.

Sadly, you can’t please them all. Be honest with yourself and your members. It’s better to be honest and lose a few members than lie and lose the trust of your entire church family.

Forgetting To Pray

When members are constantly asking pastors to pray for them, it’s not unusual for pastors to forget a few people. It’s not that they mean to or that they purposely lied. Pastors lead busy lives too. Of course, when members ask if the pastor prayed for them, the pastor often lies to provide comfort to their members. Naturally, the pastor then prays for the member. It’s an innocent lie brought on by a very human mistake.

Omitting Mistakes

It’s common for a pastor to lie simply by omission. After all, they’re supposed to lead by example. However, pastors make plenty of mistakes in their lives. You probably have plenty of ghosts in your closet that you wouldn’t want your church family to know about. That’s okay.

The only problem is when lying by omission makes you out to be perfect. It’s impossible for members to live up to that standard. Plus, if members find out you’re lying, they wonder what other mistakes you’ve made in your past.

Try to let your members in on some of your mistakes. Let your mistakes be examples for members to learn from. Pastors don’t have to lie or leave things out. It’s a great learning experience for everyone.

Embellishing For Engagement

When pastors are trying to grow their churches, they may lie to boost engagement. After all, more engaged members lead to more members inviting friends and family. While the reasoning is logical, it’s still not right. For instance, one church member was devasted to learn that the story they always felt inspired by was a complete lie. In trying to help the church, pastors forget how much members look up to them.

If you have a story to tell, tell the truth. You can do it in an engaging fashion, but don’t lie. Eventually, the lie catches up with you and could harm your reputation and may even hurt your members.

It’s true. Pastors lie. But, it’s often for a good underlying reason. However, the truth is usually best for pastors and members.

Looking for better ways to engage your members without embellishing a few stories? Try a church website to keep members engaged 24/7.


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