When a pastor makes a stupid statement, you can assume it will be recorded, published, then shared. “A foolish heart publicizes stupidity” (Proverbs 12:23 CSB).
In addition to speaking the truth in love, we must also work hard to refrain from saying everything that comes to our minds—especially on Sundays and social media. This short list only scratches the surface of the foolish things I have said or heard or both.
“I’d rather burn out than rust out.”
This cheesy vibrato deserves a place in the 1980s Hall of Shame. It not only demonstrates false modesty, it also demonstrates poor discipleship. God’s plan for your life and ministry is to neither burn out nor rust out. If you practice the Sabbath consistently, you won’t do either.
“I never look at the clock when I’m preaching.”
I can assure you that you are the only person in your church besides the worship pastor who doesn’t know what time it is. Make sure to check your watch and zipper before you go up to preach so that you can know what everyone else does.
“I’m not going to deacons’ meetings because I’m not a deacon.”
I really liked the ring of this when I first heard a pastor say it. It lost its luster when I heard he eventually resigned under pressure. God sent deacons to help the New Testament churches’ first pastors who were overwhelmed with ministry demands. They will be the best ministry partners you have ever had if you treat them with respect and love.
“If we build it, they will come.”
Pastors are more likely to think this than to say it. Even though the film, Field of Dreams came out in 1989, this one belongs in the 1990s Hall of Shame. Buildings can either hinder or help our churches with numerical growth, in the short run; however, they are not an effective ministry strategy unto themselves.
“I’ve outgrown my church.”
This smacks of arrogance. Just like it hurts us when members justify their exits with nebulous platitudes, we should be careful not imply that we have become too spiritual for them. If you believe that God is moving you to another ministry, leave your current church with humility and dignity.
“You can’t pay me to go to church.”
I’ve never actually heard this from a pastor, but the irony was too much to pass up.
Every Sunday I preach with a measure of fear and trepidation because I know I am always one stupid statement away from distracting someone from the gospel.
I would be very interested to hear other things a pastor should NEVER say. Please leave them in the comments section.