Thursday, March 30, 2017


Why so many churches have relationship issues with their preacher

Churches really do have a love/hate relationship with their preachers.  Or at least a frustrating, complicated relationship with them.  And most preachers can sense that.  It is a terrible thing.  It is a natural thing.  And the way that most of our churches and preachers operate, I think it may be inevitable.

And let me say I am a fan of preachers.  I am one.  I have been supported in local ministry, I have been a vocational preacher, and now I am a traveling preacher.  So I see the complicated relationship between churches and their preachers.

Here are a few reasons why that relationship is difficult.

Preachers come and preachers go.  If we love you, you will break our heart when you leave.  And you will leave.  A bigger church will come calling.  Someone will make an offer you cannot refuse.  You may want to move closer to family.  We hire you and say we hope you stay forever -- even knowing you will move on in the next 2, 5, or 7 years.  You tell us you want to stay forever, all the while listening to other offers (otherwise cleverly described as God's call).  Hey, we get it.  We all move all the time for our professions, and for the same reasons you do.  You are not the first preacher we have had and you will not be the last.  So remember that when you talk about the kind of church you want us to be, we know you probably will not be there for the long haul.  

You are paid.  We get that you want to be treated like everyone else in the congregation.  But the truth is, you are not like everyone else.  Nor do you want to be.  We give money to you.  You are an employee.  That is what you call people who get paid.  It is horribly conflicting for you to wrestle with call and profession.  And it is confusing for us.  We should be ashamed of how little we sometimes pay you.  And some of you make more than most of your church.  So it is hard to remember that when you are asking for investments of our time and energy on a project. We are volunteers.  You get paid.  Not just supported, but paid a salary.  And by the way, I approve of that.  Just don't act like that does not make you different from us.

You are not as good as the last preacher.  This is true for CEO's, coaches, salesmen, and any number of other professions.  The last preacher gets better with time.  All you can do is be yourself.  And that will have to be enough.  Some people will never get losing the last preacher.  Even if they really didn't like him.

The last preacher was terrible.  Or he did major damage.  So of course we will not trust you until you prove yourself.  Even worse, sometimes you do not even know the situation you are walking into until you get there.  

So it is a hard job.  So are many of our jobs.  But I am sorry we seem to hold you to a higher standard just because you preach.  I have know preachers who are among the most faithful Christians I have ever known.

And I have known preachers who did horrible things but repented and changed.

And I know preachers who did horrible things and did not repent.  I have been lied to by preachers.  Who then lied about lying.  I have seen preachers steal from the church or church members.  I have listened to ministers say cruel things about elders and had to resist the urge to get up and set the record straight.

I guess what this all means is that preachers are just like us.  They have a job just like us.  They sometimes sin just like us.  And sometimes they do amazing Kingdom work just like us.

Maybe we just need to remember that.  We will try to remember it if you will.  It may help us both.

I chuckled as i read this one Steve. I am here now as a paid minister 10 years. WOW. I am here because of your advice. So I say thank you, and most of our church family I believe says the same thing. I love you brother.
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