What Pastors Desperately Need: More Advice

Perhaps the guy who spends 39 more hours a week in church than you do knows what’s going on there.



Everyone knows how to be a pastor. I like to think it’s because pastors are so good at their jobs they make it look easy, like anyone could do it.

But alas, I don’t think that’s what’s going on. In fact, based on what people say and how they say it, they think pastors are incompetent.

They assume we need their advice. They assume we aren’t paying attention, that we don’t know what other churches are doing, and that we have our heads buried in communion wine all week.

What’s more amazing is that the advice givers are the ones who are least at church. As if being at church for one hour a week three times a month lends a certain insight. A fresh-take that those who spend their week in church wouldn’t see.

For instance, every single person who has left our church, I knew months beforehand that they would. I could feel it, sense it, pick up on the vibes. I knew it was coming.

Advice Givers don’t realize those people have left until about three months later. “Where are John and Rita? I haven’t seen them for a while.”

“They left the church several months ago.”

“Really?” they say with incredulity. “Well, I knew they were having problems. You know what you should have done?” They go on for several minutes explaining what I should have done, which has amazingly nothing at all whatsoever to do with the problem John and Rita had.

Then they follow that up with, “You know what you should do?” They then give me various strategies for getting John and Rita back, none of which have anything to do with why John and Rita left. Typically this advice has something to do with Jesus leaving the 99 to go get the 1, which has nothing to do with the situation at all.

I, of course, as a pastor, am not going to divulge all the details of why people left. I can’t defend myself or explain anything. So I listen to the advice of the non-informed advisors, I nod my head, smile, and find a convenient way to dislodge myself from their lecture.

When the church is running low on funds, hardly anyone says, “Huh, perhaps I could give more money.” Oh no! Instead the advisors will come and tell you how to run bake sales and garage sales and raffles and carnivals.

When the church needs to cut a children’s program for lack of leaders, hardly anyone says, “Huh, I guess I could step in and be a leader.” Oh no! Instead the advisors will come and tell you how to get other leaders, or switch to a new curriculum, or build an arcade, or how to get parents to step in.

When the church needs some repairs done, hardly anyone volunteers to do it or take care of it. Instead the advisors will let you know what a dumb purchase that was to begin with and now you should just buy the top of the line thing that they won’t pay for, or my brother-in-law sells those and he could get a commission, or how that’s what you get when incompetent volunteers do work around the church.

Ah yes. Everyone knows best. Just ask em. In fact, you don’t even have to ask! They’ll just tell you. Their solutions are flawless and easy, way better than any decision you would make. Sure, they have no idea what they are talking about, but they don’t think you do either, so it’s even.

Yeah, you would think the guy who spends 39 more hours in church would know more about what’s going on, but you’d be woefully wrong.



Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
–Ecclesiastes 5:1

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