10 Ways to Keep the “Favorite” Pastor Hat

I read somewhere leadership expert Peter Drucker once said the hardest jobs in America (not necessarily in order) are President of the United States, university presidents, hospital administrators and pastors. I don’t know about most of those, but I talk to struggling pastors weekly. I can believe it makes the list.

Having been in the business and political worlds, and now as a pastor, I have a unique perspective. I can definitely say the hardest job I’ve ever done is being a pastor.

Yet every pastor I know wants to do a good job. They want to be successful in their Kingdom-building efforts. At the same time, they also want to be liked. No one likes to be unpopular. (Frankly, the desire to be so can even be the detriment in a pastor leading well.)

I was actually talking recently with another pastor how hard it is to pastor effectively and make everyone happy. He admitted he was a people-pleaser and I was telling him how impossible this will be long term. To illustrate the point in a humorous way, we began to cite examples of ways to keep people happy. It triggered this post.

So let me say this is written sarcastically. On purpose. Sometimes it’s easier to say the hard stuff if I say it in a humorous way. (Or at least what I think is funny.)

There are some serious issues addressed here that many pastors face. But, after all, I want to be the favorite pastor too, so I’m keeping it lighthearted in my approach.

In fairness, I serve in a healthy, supportive church. Most of what I write now is to support other pastors who may not be. 

Here are 10 ways to remain favorite pastor:

Never turn down a social invitation – Sacrifice your family time. Sacrifice any actual Sabbath. (That command applies to your church, you should teach it, but you’re exempt.) By the way, it might ruin your family dynamic but you’ll keep the church happy.

Don’t talk about money – Jesus never did, right? Don’t be meddling in people’s business.

Never mention sex – Good Christians don’t. They just don’t. They don’t even think about it.

Stick to the sins everyone else is doing – Stick to things which the world is struggling with – outside the church. Don’t mention things like gossip or gluttony. Those hit too close to home.

Don’t challenge anyone. – People don’t want their toes stepped on and definitely don’t want to leave with homework. Don’t make them think how the message impacts them after they leave.

Preach “feel good” messages. – Tell them things like God is going to keep their life problem-free and how they can name it and claim it.

Wear the right clothes – Dress like Jesus did, right?

Don’t mess with traditions – Especially the ones which were started by pastor so and so. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And, it ain’t broke if they are still comfortable with it.

Play everyone’s favorite music – Every Sunday. (You miracle worker.)

Don’t lead – just preach – Give your “best” message every Sunday, and don’t take people anywhere new. Change is never popular.

On a serious note – pastoring is a tough job, but remember, our calling is not to be popular. It’s to be obedient. And, not to a crowd, but to a King.

And, when we are obedient, it’s the best job ever! (Every job is when we are in the center of His will.)

Ever tried to be a favorite pastor? Do you have any you’d add?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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