By Matt Henslee
Recently, a post on a Facebook group asked pastors, “What’s the most unbiblical thing someone has said to you?” Sadly, within 24 hours, the post had accumulated well over 100 comments.
We love the work faithful pastors do “in the trenches” of gospel ministry, even if it’s ignored or maligned by a knucklehead or two.
Here are ten ridiculous statements people have said to pastors:
- “Your church family comes before your personal family.” Friends, while you shouldn’t sacrifice your ministry on the altar of family, don’t you dare sacrifice your family on the altar of ministry.
- “Just don’t forget; you’re only the preacher. You’re here to marry, bury, and preach, but not lead or make decisions.” Do you even Hebrews 13:17?
- “Without committees, we’re not a biblical church.” Hey, committees are great, but a biblical church they don’t necessarily make.
- “I’m not talking about the Bible; I’m talking about the bylaws.” As it’s written, “For the bylaws are living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword.” CSB, updated.
- “Quit quoting Scripture; the Bible has no place in a business meeting.” I got nothing.
- “We’re NOT going to go door-to-door and evangelize; that’s what we pay you to do.” Somehow, I missed that part of the Great Commission.
- “I want you to close your Bible and open your heart.” No, no, no. Don’t do this. Jeremiah 17:9.
- “I know what the Bible says, but we have to do what’s right.” Translation: “We’re wrong.”
- “The church shouldn’t need to change its traditions, style, or music. If the lost world doesn’t want to come to the church as it is, they can stay lost and go to hell.” Sigh. I got nothing. That’s just bad.
- “We’re already saved. We don’t need to hear the gospel every time someone gets up in the pulpit.” As John Piper wrote in When I Don’t Desire God, “Hearing the word of the cross … is the central strategy for sinners in the fight for joy. Nothing works without this. Here is where we start. And here is where we stay. We never outgrow the gospel.”
Oh, and here’s a bonus story:
I had a pastor want to bring me on staff with a part-time salary to work with the church’s students. He asked me what the minimum salary was my wife and I could live on (at the time, she was staying home with our six-month-old child). I said we’d need about $500 a week to pay the bills and that I’d also need to seek another part time job.
He asked why my wife couldn’t work, and I explained the cost of daycare would negate her pay and that she felt led to stay home. His reply? “Your wife is sinning if she doesn’t get out and help pay the bills.” It might go without saying, but we passed on the job.
Stories like these help us know we’re not alone. I encourage you to take a moment today and call a pastor friend or two, pray for them, and build them up. If you’re reading this and aren’t a pastor, well, please don’t say any of these things. Instead, take a moment to send a note of encouragement to your pastor.
In the comment section below, share the most ridiculous things you’ve been told.
MATT HENSLEE (@mhenslee) is managing editor of LifeWay Pastors, pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, New Mexico, husband of Rebecca, and father of four beautiful princesses. You can also connect with him on Facebook and hear his podcast at Not Another Baptist Podcast.