What pastors want to hear from their congregations

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

In response to yesterday’s post, “11 Things I Wish More Pastors Would Say,” I’ve heard from several pastors who made similar lists of things they wish the people in their congregation would say.  

Some favorites—

From Eric Atcheson: 

1. How can I be praying for you?
I do a lot of praying with people and for people while rarely asking for prayer in return.  But I definitely need prayer in return, because I am not Super-Pastor.  Some days, I barely even feel like an ordinary, un-super pastor, because on my own, I am simply a very, very weak man.
2. I'm sorry.  I was wrong.  Please forgive me.
This is a direct copy-and-paste of Rachel's own #2 item, because it definitely fits for us as well.  Pastors have to withstand a lot of second-guessing and--in unhealthier situations--ad hominem criticisms, but we are called to turn the other cheek rather than repaying meanness for meanness.
3. Enjoy your time away.
For pastors, vacation time is sacrosanct and vital to our well-being, but I have had to engage in educational efforts to show why my vacation time (of which I get four weeks per year) is so vital, so that I might stop being asked, "How come you get so much time off?  I only see you once a week!"
4. Let's give it a try.
I think that while pastors may have a very hard time saying "no" to their congregants, congregations can be quite skilled at saying "no" to their pastor and their pastor's ideas.  It doesn't even have to be a "yes"--just agreeing to give something the old college try is often enough.
5. Here's what I liked/didn't like about your sermon today...
Don't get me wrong, I'll take the "good sermon today, preacher" compliments.  But you know why we love it when you engage us on the substance of what we said, even if you disagree with us?  It shows that you were listening, and it reminds us that our preaching and teaching is valued by you.
Read the rest here

From Jeremy Serrano:

1. “What needs to get done around here?” (And actually gets it done).
2. “What ministry needs the most help?”
3. “Use my cabin to get away.”
4. “Wasn’t it great that we had children running around in worship today.”
5. ”You don’t need to go to all the committee meetings.”

Read the rest here 

I probably missed some others. So feel free to leave links! 

So, pastors. Today it’s your turn. What’s the most discouraging thing a member of your congregation has said to you? What’s the most encouraging/healing/inspiring? What do you wish you heard more often? 


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