Some preachers hunker down and hyper-tweak their sermons during and between worship services on Sunday. Is it possible to make as big of an impact in the hall than from your pulpit on Sunday mornings? I don’t say that to take away from the power and primacy of preaching, but I don’t think you need to choose between loving and feeding your people each Sunday.
Here are six reasons to get out of your office on Sunday mornings and engage your people.
So You Can Engage in Worship
Stop flipping through your notes during the worship. Seriously.
If you think that your members are not watching you worship, you are being naive. If you think they should not be watching you worship, you are being unscriptural (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
My pastor preaches three consecutive services on Sundays. This was a challenge for me for the seven years I had to do it. On some days I honestly needed to crash on the sofa in my office while the people transitioned between services. Nobody would have blamed me for skipping the first two songs, but I needed to provide visible leadership during worship, and so do you.
So You Can Talk With Your People
Pastoring is more than preaching. You get to talk to your people as you preach, but how often do you get to talk with your people? Some pastors hide in their offices while their people are fellowshipping without him before and after the worship services.
The introverted pastors who have boldly ventured to read this far may be convulsing at this point. I hear ya. This is much harder for you than for your extroverted peers, but you signed up to pastor your people, not just preach to them.
Grab some coffee, lock yourself out of your office, and roam the halls between services.
So You Can Touch Your People
I probably just lost a few more pastors, especially the germaphobes and hugaphobes. Non-huggers are so missing out! I had a widely known boundary rule to not hug females unless they were old enough to be my mom (confession: I rarely resisted side-hugs).
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. (1 Peter 5:14)
So You Can Enjoy Your People’s Company
Remember the McDonald’s Hamburglar? I was the Donut Burglar on Sunday mornings. People loved it when I walked into their classes and hung out before the lesson started. I made a point to sit through each of our 40 adult groups twice in the course of my last ministry.
Your members probably assume that you love them, but you should not assume they know that you like them. Make Sundays feel like a weekly family reunion.
So That You Can Pray With Your People
Ask them about their lives and they will more often than not tell you. Some of them came to church with no expectation of a personal connection. When someone shares a deeply personal issue that needs prayer, pray for them on the spot. Go for it right in the middle of the fray. Your members should not find it odd to find people praying in the house of prayer.
Let them see you write it down before you move on, then send them a card later that week. I wish I had done all of that better, but it was so rewarding when I did do it.
So You Can Have Stand-up Meetings
I know it is tough to get ambushed by the church box-checker right before you go preach, but that should not keep you from handling short, stand-up meetings. If you see your members as interruptions to your plans, change your plans. Jesus did that all of the time.
Be the first to show and the last to go on Sunday mornings. Sunday is GO time, so get out of your office and GO out in the halls where your people are waiting for their weekly hug.