This is my own version of “Things Not to Do to Your Pastor on Sunday.” I’ve seen similar lists over the years, so I don’t claim originality. I’m sure there are more.
7 Things Not to Do to Your Pastor on Sunday
1) Talk Committee or Finance. It’s the Lord’s Day.
2) Share a personal problem that can wait.
3) Occupy their time so they have less time for visitors.
4) Request last minute announcements.
5) Rush in or come late, or ask them to help you find/setup something.
6) Forget to pass on words of appreciation before and after they lead/preach.
7) Interrupt their Sunday afternoon nap!
Why do I think these 7 are important for regular members to remember?
-Because being a pastor on Sunday morning is a lot like being shot out of a cannon. It’s an intense time of final preparation and focused execution, (whether your pastor will admit it or not), and it’s also a time of intense expectations (both the pastor’s and the member’s).
Primarily, you want your pastor to be ready and focused on leading worship. This can be difficult when leaders and members are each expecting “a minute of your time.” (Do the math: there aren’t that many minutes on Sunday morning.) It can also be distracting because so many people share their problems with the pastor, or the pastor asks, “how is your daughter/son/back/job?” This is important stuff, but if things are really a concern, they should be addressed at a better time.
As you know, that there are some members who take more of the pastor’s time than you do, and some save it all up for Sunday. Don’t be one of those people.
Being a pastor on Sunday is emotionally and physically draining. Any pastor who says otherwise is either putting on a brave face, or not bringing the necessary intensity. Even Jesus was drained after teaching. Some enjoy being invited to lunch after worship, others might appreciate baked goods to enjoy before their nap.
Things you can do to help your pastor “survive” Sunday morning:
1) Pray for them.
2) Pray with them prior to worship. Invite leaders to join in a time of focus.
3) Let the pastor GET to worship and enjoy the prelude.
4) Don’t be “that person.” And if you see “that person” taxing your pastor, find a friendly way to guide.
5) Drop off fresh fruit, and check to make sure the pastor has a drink and cookie while they are smoozing (they often don’t get to the goody table).
6) Send an encouraging email or txt later in the day thanking them for something they said in the service. (Pastors suffer from self-doubt, as in, “did I connect?”)
7) Remind your committees and teams not to conduct church “business” on Sunday. Keep it Sabbath.
8] Arrive early and ask “what can I do to help?”
9) Keep an eye out for visitors and take them to your pastor. As a church that wants to grow, you need to help your pastor make these connections after worship. They will appreciate it, and most members will “let go” of the pastor’s time when visitors are being introduced.
10) Ask your pastor for #10!
“Remember to (help your pastor) keep the Sabbath.”
Neil MacQueen is a Presbyterian minister serving in both local church ministry and through his Sunday Software resource ministry.