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« The Agony of Victory | Main | Take Charge of the Change! »

Tips on Talking with Your Pastor*

Use your pastor’s time wisely.  He can be more effective if you edit out less important details about the subject at hand. If he needs details, he will ask. On the other hand, don’t hold back pertinent facts.  Also, remember that most churches have seasoned saints of God and pillars in the church who can answer questions about spiritual problems or even scriptural matters. Church leaders have especially been chosen because of their spiritual maturity. Talk to them about a problem before going to the pastor. Of course, things of a sensitive or private nature should be reserved for discussion with the pastor only, but a wise saint of God can easily handle many general subjects pertaining to spiritual living. 

If you are confronted by a problem that you feel is essential to take directly to the pastor, many pastors prefer that you set up an appointment to see him during business hours. In the office setting, there are fewer interruptions to deal with and you and the pastor can concentrate on the business at hand. Also, catching the pastor before or after service may not give him the time he needs to reflect on his answer. Keep in mind that the pastor also serves as an administrator for the church. This role requires him to take care of certain things and talk to certain people before and/or after a church service. If he appears to be looking around for somebody while he’s talking to you, don’t interpret this as a rebuff or an indication that he doesn’t care about your problem. He is literally trying to do two or three things at once. 

If you have a problem, don’t withdraw yourself from communication and participation in the church, and then wait to see if anybody will call you or contact you. When you take the responsibility for your own soul’s salvation, you must make the proper calls to let the pastor and the church know what’s going on. Don’t assume that the pastor knows what’s up. He may think that somebody else has called you or he may think that you are merely working, or even on vacation. Also, remember that he may be thinking about you one minute, and then be drawn into another problem the next. That’s because there is a constant flow of activity in the church and everybody is asking for attention. 

Before you talk to the pastor, determine that you are going to follow his advice. If you know you are not going to do what he asks you to do, why go to him in the first place? Prepare your heart and soul before visiting him. He may ask you to do something that you find very difficult. Obedience, however, is always rewarded by God. Also, be realistic. Your pastor is not a psychiatrist, a lawyer, a doctor or some other professional. He may have some good advice to give you about the same issues that you would take to other professionals, but you should not demand answers from him that he is not prepared to give. His main obligation to you is to give you spiritual and scriptural help. 

Never voice any dissent you may have with your pastor to anyone else but him. Anything you feel you can’t discuss with him needs to be kept totally to yourself. People who criticize their pastor to others imperil the sanctity of church unity. If someone is so unwise as to speak against the pastor to you, decline to listen.   

While the pastor may be friendly, and you may feel he is your friend, do not think of him as your buddy. Maintain a “safe” distance between him and yourself to avoid over-familiarity. His words must always be received with solemn consideration because he bears the burden of accountability for your soul.  

*(I have used the masculine gender for brevity. My apologies to women pastors.)  

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