Pastor: Stop thinking your people are just like you… they're not.

I really like the post that Michael Lukaszewski posted yesterday.  He talks about how pastors always think that the people in their churches are just like them.

The reality is… they’re not.

Here are some of Michael’s examples:

They don’t know who John Piper or Steven Furtick are.  They are confused when you quote them without context.

They aren’t familiar with their Bibles.  When you say, “You know…like it says in First Timothy,” they absolutely don’t know.

They don’t work in a Christian environment.  They aren’t surrounded by Christians who love worship music and some have bosses who are jerks.

They don’t go to conferences.  It’s a way of life for many church leaders, but the most people don’t do it.

They don’t go to church every week.  This might be the biggest of all.  You’re there every week; they are not.

Here are some more differences…

Here some additional ones that I’d add:

1.  They don’t have a clue what you do all week, and they probably think you make too much money.

2.  They expect totally different things from you than the way you are spending your day today.

3.  For 90% of your attenders, the next time they think about you or your church is the next Sunday morning or Saturday night… and the thought is “Am I going to get up and go to church?”

4.  They think you’ve got a pretty easy job.  You think you have the hardest job in the world.

What would YOU add to the list?


  • Gary Sweeten January 16, 2013 Reply

    They know how difficult it is to live a holy life on a daily basis. They do not have devotions daily or even weekly.

  • Hal January 22, 2013 Reply

    Very simple: the pastors are not teaching the Bible and how to live a life following Christ.

  • Kathy Widenhouse January 22, 2013 Reply

    They think pastors have the corner on spirituality. People in the pews are intimidated by that. Effective pastors help them realize that anyone can hear from God (and give them tools to do so) — not just those who have been to seminary or who are in the pulpit.

    • Chuck April 10, 2013 Reply

      Indeed (Jeremiah 31:31-34)!

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  • Chuck April 10, 2013 Reply

    Todd, per your addition #1, I’d like to vent a little.

    In 2002, I was challenged about that “too much money” and “what do you really do all week?” issue.

    The lady was a pharmaceutical rep who made lots of $ and was extremely busy traveling. I tried to explain to her the four components of my job description, the accountability system for fulfilling those responsibilities with both church boards and ultimately the church’s members but she kept interrupting. She demanded what each of those components looked like in practicality. As I tried to explain each, she continued rudely interrupting. Finally, exasperated with her, I asked if she was aware that I spent 90-120 minutes/week in her home, discipling and mentoring her husband for the prior five months (in response to her plea for marital help and his response to receive it.) She hadn’t a clue that anything ongoing had been taking place aside from the initial discovery meeting I’d had with both of them because she was gone so much and her husband never related to her that we met regularly.

    So, when I pressed her for how she felt her marriage had improved, she agreed that the time I invested with her hubby had been profitable. “That’s part of what I do,” I explained, “and I don’t get paid for the 95% of my activities that anyone can do… I get paid because of the 5% that I’ve expertise to do and that I am training and releasing others to do.”

    That set her off. “Then why do we need you?” she asked.


    Finally, I challenged her to a job-swap, telling her that anyone with even a modicum of relational skills can walk into an office and peddle chemicals to medicos who already know they need them. But she should try and lead a group of 120 people from where they are to where God is leading them when the vast majority won’t read their Bible (green pastures) and they consistently refuse spiritual thinking and living (good water). “Try convincing comfortable Americans of their spiritual need,” I said.

    I also told her I would gladly swap my $32,000/year salary for her $250,000 just to prove my point.

    She still demanded a meeting with the board as a member with a complaint because she was dissatisfied with my answers.


    For so many ministers, I think we are leaving the professional ministry in droves because we’re figuring out how we can respond obediently to God’s call while not having to put with as much of the stuff this bully tried putting on me.

    And for many, like my encounter with “Jane” these are not isolated incidents, and they are encounters that are just not worth the hassle.

    Jesus may have died for people like her, but I won’t… not anymore and I never should have tried in the first place.

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