What Do You Wish Church Leaders Understood About Everyday People?

question_mark_778895.gif.jpgI’ve got a question.  (This question is for non-ministers.  If you are a minister, I have another question for you on a separate post.)  

What do you wish church leaders understood about everyday, normal people who are in the church?  What is it that you wish they really understood?

I am really curious and value the comment that you are about to make.  Please just be honest and speak what is on your mind and heart.  It will be helpful.  Perhaps you don’t normally leave comments.  May I ask you to consider leaving one today?  (Just click on the word comment below.)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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33 thoughts on “What Do You Wish Church Leaders Understood About Everyday People?

  1. Actually, I semi-regularly leave comments. But, I can share something that my wife often reminds me about. I’ll summarize:

    As church leaders we often suffer from tunnel vision. We are focused on developing, staffing and sustaining "church" ministries. But, most "church" is not church-building-based. In fact, what a "church" does in ministry, since the church is people and not programs, may well not even be promoted or reported in the bulletin.

    That’s a bit rambling, but I hope you can make sense of it.
    Blessings to you, my friend,

  2. Jim,
    Yet another great thought. I think most ministers/pastors know more about the people they are sheperding than they want him to know. I wish the people in general would be honest about themselves which would allow the pastor to truly minister to them. I would also hope that the people in the church would recognize that they hired a fellow Christian to lead them, not Superman. I have seen many people upset becasue the pastor could not be in three places at one time.

  3. Jim:  Some pastors don’t seem to realize that, while it’s important to offer milk on Sunday mornings, it can’t be the whole meal or even the main course.  After a few years in most churches, you wind up getting the same dumbed-down messages in different packaging.  No wonder that a lot of people – especially men – aren’t too excited about their faith: they have no idea of the richness, depths, and captivation that awaits them in an intimate, growing relationship with the Savior.   (Any paragraphs yet?  I’m about to find out . . .) 

  4. I think it would be very useful to the church if leaders could find a way to help"tap" into the congregation’s gifts.  Each member has so much to offer but how do they use those gifts?  Maybe a shepherding program can bring out the gifts but also leaders should be attuned to the needs of those who could benefit from other members talents.  A good support group would help too especially for working women who need to meet in the evening.  Leaders could maybe find ways to better use or help the elderly.  They are a huge asset for a church.  Sorry this is long.  Gail

  5. Not specific to our church but some things I have thought over the years in different churches in general…
    That everyday people need community and fellowship along with and perhaps even before and sometimes more than worship and bible study. Churches are not structured to meet that need most time.
    That lack of participation is a sign of disconnectedness.
    That leadership needs to be identifiable, approachable, and open.
    That church policies (ie. on who can use the building and when, who can announce things in the bulletin, who is asked to help with different things , and who gets e-mails from the church when things happen in the memebership etc.) communicates volumes to the everyday person. I’m not sure that is fair to church leaders, but it is true. Churches need to really examine what they are communicating through their everyday practices and policies.

  6. sometimes i wish church leaders really saw people that were in the church. I think that sometimes leaders just see people in the church as a number or potential people who could help out with different activities… I think it’s really important to not forget to really see the people that are in the church and tap into who they are and what’s going on in their lives..because people need that i think they really are crying out for someone to really see them

  7. I wish more than ever that my pastors would understand that the majority of everyday, normal people want them to simply be normal, ordinary people. I know there are always old school folks that keep the pastor on his/her pedestal, but I think most people would like to simply have regular folks leading worship and such.On the other hand, many pastors like being on their pedestal. I’m OK with that too, but just don’t climb down once a week and pretend you are a regular guy at Monday Night Football. You get to choose, but you also have to live with your choice.Sorry, a little long, and not exactly on topic. But I feel a lot better now, thanks ‘-)

  8. I long for a pastor who can stand in the pulpit honestly before a congregation.  I don’t need to know details of a man/woman’s life, but I do wish that pastors/ministers would be more transparent.  Often it feels when they aren’t that their comments are directed at the congregation rather than including the pastor him/herself.  I also long for pastors who have Jesus at the heart of every message.  Classes and bible study are better for addressing common issues, and sometimes they are appropriate from the pulpit.  But most of the time?  I come to church thirsty and hungry for a message about Jesus, and feel parched and emaciated when I leave having heard about any topic that doesn’t somehow have Jesus as an integral aspect of it. I can’t remember how I found your website, but I certainly thank you for it.  The title of your blog grabbed me, as I am certainly one of the God-hungry.  Thanks for your words, questions, encouragement. 

  9. I wish they understood how hard it is to not know what is going on.  I wish they realized that the body at large don’t feel represented when they are told of major decisions…after the fact.  I also wish they realized that we live in a modern society.  If I upgrade my home with a color tv set and a new computer chances are I am not going to be happy with 1950’s style of worship service either.  One more thing….I wish they realized that folks who are not either in leadership or family of leadership often feel like they are the over-looked step children. 
    You can thank Mr England for having me comment….

  10. As a retired preacher and now an elder, I appreciate hearing postive suggestions on how to help our groups grow, which these have been. Thanks for asking the question.

  11. I wish the leadership would really hear that keeping the traditional style of the 1960’s congregation at all costs is not a sign of biblical correctness. It seems they are more concerned with staying conservative and less concerned with seeking Jesus and being Jesus. It is so suffocating when we have to even address not being able to use projected songs or watching a movie in the fellowship hall. People are seeking deeper things and they are getting lost in the traditional details.

  12. What a great question. I’d like them to know that my life is complicated and messy. I don’t need “pat” answers and tidy three-point sermons. I need genuine passion for Christ. I need to know how to live with doubt and trust that my faith is still real. I need to know that I’m not alone.

    Pastors, don’t be afraid to tackle a difficult topic because there’s no easy answer. Those are the subjects I most want to hear about, and I’m more encouraged by a pastor who doesn’t have all of the answers than one who pretends to.

    A pastor who can sit by a hospital bed, weep, and say nothing. That is what I need most.

  13. R.A fine comment!  In particular I am drawn to your last line.  There is something about learning to just be present with someone that is so important.What you are saying in this comment is very important.  Thanks. 

  14. Thanks Bev.  One thought I had after reading your comment was, "What are we addressing before the church?  What signals are we sending to the church by what we select to address?"

  15. Johnny, Thanks.  I really think it is important that we (church leaders) listen to what people would like to tell us.

  16. Donna,Now that is an observation that I’ve heard at different times.  It must be so frustrating for church leaders to not communicate to the church and so you feel as if you are very much "out of the loop." 

  17. Jen,Thanks for the kind words regarding the blog.  I am glad you come here.  And—thanks for this comment.I think you make several good points.  Minister’s being transparent, etc.  But what struck me was what you said about Jesus.  Surely it is reasonable to want/expect to hear something about Jesus on when God’s people come together.Thanks. 

  18. Christine,I suspect a lot of people would echo what you said.  It is hard to come to church and just feel invisible most of the time.Thanks, 

  19. Dave,You’ve given some of us a lot to think about!Am I a "normal guy" or a "pedestal guy" or a person who wants to go back and forth.  It might be interesting to know just how we are perceived in some of our churches.Thanks 

  20. Gail,A great post and you make some very important points.  In so many churches, the giftedness of many people is neither really seen or affirmed.  Thanks for making me think.

  21. Thanks Finrod!  (Still working on the paragraphing.  I communicated this to my host and they are going to look at it.)

  22. SG–Good points and you actually introduce a larger point, "What do churches communicate to people within and people outside by what they do and the way they do it?"

  23. I’m new to your blog and have been reading but never posted (That I remember.)
    I wish my church knew that when I wasn’t at church it doesn’t mean I’ve backslid or that I’m not having church wherever I am. Somtimes I can’t be there every Sunday and every Wednesday.
    This is what I am interested in knowing… and I’ve never put it into words before so I’m not sure how it will come out.  Are we supposed to seek the Lord 100% of the time? I mean we have to live Life too right? There are seasons where I feel really close to God and then there are seasons I am not so close. By close I mean the times I am in prayer most of the day or reading the scripture more than twice a day. So here is my question, when I am not in the season of seeking and really expreiecing a powerful move of God am I backslid? I’ve backspaced too much so I’m going to close now. =)

  24. Vicki,I’m glad that you are reading this blog and that you commented today.Your questions are very, very good.  In fact, they would probably be a great subject for a post.For now— God is Father and it helps me to think of him much like I think of my own children.  My relationship with them is not based upon their giving me 100%.  Now certainly I want their devotion and their response.  When they were small, that even included their obedience.  Yet, my love for them was not based upon how well they performed that day or week. Vicki, I think there is a way to relax in his love and care and yet be very intentional in our lives as we live every day as Christ-followers.I think part of the issue here is what it means to be "close" to the Lord.  The definition of this may be part of the problem.  Thanks.

  25. I would like to hear  how to better cope with the sometimes harsh realities of life through faith in Christ.  Life is tough and living by Faith is also tough many times. But sometimes there is a tendency especially among televised evangelisits and preachers to present Christ as a cosmic candy store that cures every problem in a flash. This type of preaching to me is the most damaging today.

  26. Having recently moved from working PT in a church to working a 9-5 with a long commute, I wish that church understood the need to provide community. Also like another comment I read, things seem to happen in the church, big decision without any accountability, I dont want a vote, I just want to understand why big decisions are being made and no explanation is given. Christ loves the church and I know we are called to love it to, no buts.

  27. Larry,I completely agree with you!  Life, everyday, on the street is a lot tougher than many recognize or admit.  I appreciate what you said.  It is important. 

  28. Liam,You make a good point.  Far too often, church leaders just don’t communicate or communicate poorly.  It leaves people frustrated…