Ten Things Church Members Desire in a Pastor

Many of my articles come from the perspective of pastors. That will not change in the future. I am an advocate of pastors and I desire God’s best for them. I have no plans to change my advocacy role.

As a change of pace, however, I recently asked a few hundred laypersons to write down what they desired of a pastor. Their responses were open-ended, and there was no limitation on the number of items they could list. Though my approach was not scientific, these laypersons did represent over sixty churches.

Here are their top ten responses in order of frequency. Since many of them gave one or more sentences as a response, I can provide a representative comment by each of the responses.

  1. Love of congregation. “If we know that our pastor loves us, everything else falls in place. If he doesn’t, nothing else matters.”
  2. Effective preaching. “I don’t have any expectation that my preacher be one of the best in the world, I just want to know that he has spent time in the Word each week to teach us effectively and consistently.”
  3. Strong character. “No pastor is perfect, but I do want a pastor whose character is above reproach on moral, family, and financial issues.”
  4. Good work ethic. “I don’t want either a workaholic pastor or a lazy pastor.  Unfortunately, our last two pastors have been obviously lazy.”
  5. Casts a vision. “Our church has so much possibility; I want to hear what we will do to make a difference in our community and the world.”
  6. Demonstrates healthy leadership. “Most of the pastors in my church have demonstrated a good balance; they have been strong leaders but not dictators.”
  7. Joyous. “Our current pastor is a man of joy. His joy and enthusiasm are contagious. I love him for that!”
  8. Does not yield to critics. “I know that every pastor serving today has his critics. And I know it’s tough to deal with them. I just want these pastors to know that we supporters are in the majority. Please don’t let the minority critics dictate how you lead and serve.”
  9. Transparent. “Every pastor that I have had has been open and transparent about the church and the direction we are headed. It sure has made our church healthier.”
  10. Models evangelism. “Our pastor is passionate about sharing the gospel. His heart and attitude are contagious.”

What do you think about this list? What would you add from the perspective of either a pastor or a layperson?


    • Rubygarlick says

      I really just want my pastor to be real, and if hes tore up from the floor up confess that and change. it bothers me when pastores hide behind man made tradition

      • khoza Rodgers says

        it is helpful we always preach to people but itis good sometimes to hear them preaching back to us.

        khoza Rodge. south africa

    • says

      Realize that they are not multitaskers. Jesus set the example by calling 12 disciples and many others. Each one was given the responsibility to reach others. A good team builder also releases the team to do the work of ministry they have been assigned. Recognize and build up the apostles, preachers, pastors, teachers and evangelist within the ministry; give them the authority to operate within their calling; lead them and guide them into the sprit of excellence portrayed in the life of the leader. Recognize the help God has sent, trust their calling and ability and care for the sheep. Pastor Lenda

  1. says

    Great list. I agree with everything and especially love the 2nd point. Effective preaching is imperative. Not agenda preaching, but being effective in the pulpit. Thank you for the posting this.

    Pastor Livingston

  2. says

    Great thoughts, Thom. thanks for sharing.

    One more seems obvious, but worth noting: an intense love of Jesus. When Jesus called Peter to “feed my sheep”, He didn’t ask Peter if he loved sheep; He asked him “Do you love me?”

  3. Sean says

    Great list! I would like to see how this list might differ if it were for a para-church organization or a denominational leader.

      • Bob Ingram says

        I am a full time missionary to the Military. Everyone of these apply in dealing with Chaplains and with soldiers. I believe these are / should be fundamental traits for all Christians

    • says

      Thanks for the point/question, Sean! I pastor a church-plant, but also work part time with a para-church organization (Youth for Christ), specializing in youth outreach. The only point I would add to this list (which is quite good, btw) is that an effective pastor will know how to relate to his/her “audience”. This has been particularly true in my work with YFC. We do not preach to existing Christians, but primarily to the “unChristian” masses. We dive into the trenches of high schools, middle schools, juvenile delinquent facilities, etc. to touch the lives of broken kids. In many ways I’ve had to unlearn my “church” heritage, just to learn the language, the culture of those without Christ. It’s been a truly humble experience, and one that is far from over. Also, it has helped shape my role as an effective pastor of our new local church.

      Thanks and Blessings to both of you!

  4. Aaron Meraz says

    This list shows why many of our churches are not growing. Evangelism is 10th while “love of congregation” is first. I may be reading this wrong, but when the flock is more concerned about being loved than loving the lost, there seems to be an inward focus. Further, when our people are dependent on us to feed them vs. feeding themselves, we are not doing our job effectively. Evangelism & love for congregation should be the top two.

      • INteresting says

        It is interesting that it’s often the case that more effort is put on evangelism than creating good Christians.

        • Werner says

          I like what you said, INteresting! Heidi Baker comes to mind; she doesn’t evangelize, she loves people out of a transformed mind and heart. That’s what we ought to teach in our churches to be come laid down lovers (as Heidi would say).

    • says

      This is a wonderful article with challenging insight. In response to some of the critical, let me remind you that if you don’t love the flock you have then you will never be able to reach out to the lost. A healthy flock births more sheep. Secondly, the first command Peter gave in his admonition to the Shepherds in ch 5 was “feed the flock of God.”
      Thanks again for this awesome article!
      Pastor Tim

      • Karen says

        Definitely true love is important. I see many leaders loving the people outside until they get them inside the church and the love disappears after a while. Those are the ones with hidden agendas.

    • David Boulton says

      While I wholeheartedly agree that evangelism should be at the top of the list of importance to any individual follower of Christ, I do not agree with your assertion that the placement of “models evangelism” in the number 10 spot is such a shaming reflection on us (lay-people). Rather, I believe that it is the job of the pastor to lead the church through the display of Christian character, the setting of clear goals for the church (and the FACILITATION of the execution of those goals), and to love all of the congregants (especially the lost). I believe it is the job of the lay person to draw the bulk of people in through engaging in their lives, and the daily demonstration of holy living. The honest truth of the matter is that too many are relient on their pastoral staff (I have been guilty of this) to do the bulk of the evangelism.
      Furthermore, having been part of a church whose pastor was the primary evangelist (he wanted that role, and openly expressed it regularly), I can attest that the pastor is ineffective in leading and guiding the congregation, cannot focus clearly on goals, and is entirely overwhelmed. In that church, the congregation was ineffective in worship, full of gossip, unwelcoming, and failed the entire community around them.

      I think the real problem is that we look to our leaders to do all the work and solve all our own problems. We (pastors and lay people) should be committed to one another in love and prayer, and work to clearly identify and live-out the best solution for each individual situation.

      Also, this article was fantastic, and lined up almost exactly with how our house views the church’s needs of a pastor.

    • Newton Okewoye says

      Hello Aaron, the job of a pastor is to mature the saints. To cater for the people in the household of God. A pastor must primarily have a passion for the flock not the flock-to-be. I saw a trend in some churches I visited in America, the leadership is busy evangelizing while their congregation don’t even know what the bible says about important subjects in the society. A pastor who has other priorities other than tending the sheep is not an effective one.
      I strongly believe in soul-winning but it is not a pastor’s primary assignment. His job is soul-keeping. A shepherd keeps the sheep or tries to find the lost sheep; it must be a sheep in any way.
      So I think the congregation rightly know what their pastor should have. Love for the sheep. No shepherd can love the sheep, if he does not love the owner of the sheep.

    • Deb Poole says

      Perhaps the order in which these appear are reflective of the experiences of church members and not priorities. In other words, church members aren’t feeling loved by the pastor, which is a need, while evangelism is a practical thing – “of course we want a pastor who shares out heart for the lost”.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Marty –

      Absolutely. These issues could be signs of health accompanied by the right motivation. Otherwise they become issues that cause stress when the pastor only seeks to please the congregation.

  5. says

    Just an added thought … Aaron points out that evangelism is at the end of the list … but maybe not. You see, if some of the other qualities aren’t present first, the evangelism will be empty. Got to have a proper atmosphere of training, loving and challenging in place to disciple the new convert. Good point, though, Aaron. My comment comes from 60 plus years in the ministry .. several spent trying to salvage situations created by a leader who was over-zealous in on area and so weak in another.

    • Bro. Rick says

      Paul listed love last in I Corinthians 13 and then said, “the greatest of these is love” signifying that the greatest is not always the first.

  6. says

    As a pastor, my thoughts on pastoral wants from a congregational assembly should be a pastor who knows his first love MUST revolve around a solid relationship with Jesus. This implies alone time in prayer and meditation in the word — beyond sermon prep and Bible study lessons. It implies a pastor who gives what the Holy Spirit gives him to say from God’s word. In other words, it’s all about God agenda rather than pastoral agenda.

    — Pastor Zach

    • says

      As a layperson, I completely agree with you, Pastor Zach.

      I definitely want my pastor to be a man who seeks after God with all his heart, who values prayer and personal meditation in the Word more than anything, and who helps the congregation become passionate about prayer – dynamic prayer – conversation with Jesus where you hear His heart and His desire become your desires.

    • Rubye says

      Pastor Zach: When I first looked at this list from the top and stopped and said to myself, doesn’t the congregants want a pastor who loves the Lord, worship the Lord with their whole heart, prays and lives a life pleasing unto God. It is imperative that a pastor’s heart be filled with compassion for not only his congregants for all men and women, great or small. Congregants should not only see joy in the pastor but his humility/obedience to the Lord our God in the name of JESUS.

      • Werner says

        I so agree with you! I want to see a worshiper first in my pastor before I see him as the leader of my church.

  7. Gerald Greenlee says

    I like #8 but it seems unfortunate in my experience that the critics are always more vocal than the supporters. Good thoughts Brother!

    • Really? says

      And the critics are the ones who make it a point to be at every business meeting or in the pastors office once a week. If you support the Pastor be public about it and be vocal about it, but don’t say I support you and not be there when he needs you the most!

  8. Steve Drake says

    The surveyed blog points are very helpful today and the responses are wonderful. I have nothing to add except a big, “Amen!”

      • says

        In principle, I agree. Yet, what is not included in serving the sheep. I left a church where it was very clearly expected that you help families on moving day. Service? you bet! Does it match Acts 6, “…it would not be right for us to forsake the ministry of the Word and prayer…” ?

        • Ron says

          Brad… You nailed it brother! The way a pastor “serves the sheep” is through prayer and ministry of the Word. Unless I read it wrong, church members are to do the work of the ministry (Everything else). A shepherd leads and feeds. Personally, I think there’s a gap wider than the Grand Canyon between what church members expect/want from their Pastor and what God’s Word requires of Him. Until church members are on the same page with The Word, there will be stress and tension.

          • Really? says

            The greatest mistake Pastors have made is to serve by peoples expectations rather than their giftedness and serve how God tells us how his church needs serving rather than what man wants/expects. Pastors are not being paid to do the work but to equip others to do the work. Think of the contrast between this list and Scriptures. Scriptures states Prepare the saints, Preach the Word – instruct, rebuke, correct, Pray and Protect the sheep from wolves in sheep’s clothing. Beyond that pastors/elders are to exercise church discipline against continually sinning church members, This is how we are to serve and show love – Love of God first and loving others second. Pastors who cave in set the expectations for all those who follow in his footsteps and sets unbiblical precedence for the people.

        • liz says

          I served at a church where our pastor helped people move. He also bought pizza for all the helpers. He found this a great way to meet people & extended family members. He never felt it was ‘Me against them’. Finest pastor I’ve ever known. His motto for shepherding is ‘Shepherds never hurt the sheep’, even when they bite. And believe me he had been bitten-HARD. But his experiences softened him & never stopped him from putting himself in places where the sheep would most likely hurt him. He is a rare breed. Bible colleges don’t turn out these kind of men.

          • Brad Johnson says

            May his tribe increase! Thanks for your thoughts, Liz. I would like to learn from such a man.

      • Keith says

        I do think also that the Pastor is called first to serve God than serve the sheep, I think that the bible reference this and when it becomes the other way around you run in to dictator Pastors. Serve and feed your flocks!

      • Dan Kitinoja says

        I agree, Pastors are called to serve the sheep of Jesus Christ. We do so primarily through leading and feeding the flock. But one thing I have learned in just a few short years of ministry, is that you function as though you serve the sheep rather than the Lord, you will find them to be merciless, brutal, fickle, and impossible to satisfy. So we serve the flock by doing the things that God calls us to do.

  9. Pam says

    I want our pastor to be all of these, but to also motivate and guide, train and lead the congregation to be the ministers we are each called to be. I think there are times when the pastor does things when they instead should be allowing lay persons to do it. And I think there are too many times when the laity like to slack and say “Thats the Pastor’s job” when we are all called to ministry in one form or another.

    • Really? says

      Phil, how is your church helping your pastor to do this? Are they blessing him and his wife? Are they paying him generously so that he doesn’t have to worry about his needs so that he and his wife can spend more time focusing on the needs of others. Does the church give him plenty of vacation time, bless him with extra vacation money or even encourage him to take weekends off, offer to watch the kids so that they can get away?
      What expectations are on his wife? Is she expected to be perfect always have a smile one her face, serve in every ministry in the church, have children that never cry or act up? Are there kids expected to be perfect Christians at church? If their children sin publicly are they humiliated by the church or even fired? Man there is so much more to this. I wish churches and well meaning Christians would really consider the whole picture as they express their wants from a pastor and family.

  10. Paul says

    Thanks for compiling this list. We recently moved away from a church we loved because the pastor had at least 3 of the above issues which he refused to even admit we’re an issue. Do you think that a pastor with 3 of the above to be someone who should reconsider their position as lead pastor?

    • SometimesDiscouraged says

      I feel like I’m not adequate in 6 or 7 of them, should I be fired after 28 years as a lead pastor? I think it all depends on how you define “having an issue”

      • Dan Kitinoja says

        Paul, I appreciate your humility. I also appreciate the fact that you know where your weaknesses are.

        “Who is adequate for such a task as this?” 2 Cor. 2:16

  11. says

    Excellent list. While these are all qualities I think we as pastors should aspire to excellence in, I also believe, that in reality, there are no pastors who score a 9 or 10 in all these areas, nor should we expect it.

    Perhaps we would do better if we took this approach…looking for these qualities to be represented strongly in a plurality of pastors/elders. If a church has a plurality of pastors/elders then the likelihood of all 10 of these qualities being represented well in the leadership of the church is exponentially increased.

    We don’t need a “Superman” pastor, we need Jesus. Jesus on earth today, the Body of Christ, is just that…a BODY of believers ministering together and to one another.

    • Really? says

      There is a major fault here and that is believing that one man can have all of these traits and meet all the expectations of the congregation. Even many of comments up to this point seem to be from and idealistic expectation rather than the reality that Pastors are Christians first, called by God unto salvation and on the same journey as every other believer. We are then called by God to be pastors. The reality is that if a church wants to see these they need more than one man, but several men who lead as elders and who are recognized by the congregation as able to minister where the main teaching elder – pastor cannot. No man can carry this, not even a man empowered by the Spirit can meet all of this because God designed the church to have elders. This really speaks to the lack of understanding of church structure which propegates wrong expectations that one man can do all of this. I have found that is not the spoken expectations that people judge me by any way. It is the UNSPOKEN expectations which adds a whole other layer to this conversation. Why are elders given? Ephesians 4:11-12 “Equip the saints” period. I believe that if every church in America would throw out their Pastors job description and be bold enough to instruct the church and on what the elders role is it would revolutionize the church. It comes to four major points. PREPARE the saints. Preach the Word. Pray. and Protect. If a church would start with Prepare and tell their Pastor, Pastor we understand your role and ours. You are called hear to prepare US to do the work of the ministry. That is your ministry then the body might actually begin using their gifts to love the others who them pastor can never love or have a deep relationship with, serve, minister, etc. Yeah. I am passionate about this because I left a traditional structure where this was expected to a elder led structure and am relieved because the four men compliment each other. The way one shows love is different than another, but it meets the congregations needs, but we are always reminding the congregation that this is their role.

  12. liz says

    A patient man…not given to anger. Someone who would never say- “Get behind MY vision or you can’t be in ministry!”

  13. says

    Having lived thru’ some “stuff at church”, I simply add this, the body’s perception of the above traits is huge. I bet we could all tell stories about misunderstandings/wrongs; before, during and after…seek to evidence Christlikeness.

  14. Lee says

    I would add to the list- Makes his family a priority. A pastor who makes his family a priority is setting an example for his church.

  15. Greg D. says

    Thinking about #3. Do you think it is a unspoken desire that most church members want married pastor, and with (well behaved) children too?

  16. Willie Davis says

    A badly needed characteristic that is stressed throughout the scriptures but elusive to all of us – humility.

    • Really? says

      #1 – To have the same expectations for themselves that they have for the Pastor, since every Christian is called to do all of the above plus the additional things added by other comments. Pastors are first and foremost a Christ follower just like everyone else. Pastors don’t have a higher standard but the same standard as everyone else. Some need to stop living vicariously through their Pastor and live the abundant as well realizing that the same commands for him also are on all believers.

  17. says

    More sucstinctly than the “strong character” point below – Integrity – His word must be truth. There is no lie in God and there should be no lie in those that tend his flock.

    “Strong character. “No pastor is perfect, but I do want a pastor whose character is above reproach on moral, family, and financial issues.”

  18. liz says

    You can clearly discern from the comments who are the shepherds & who are the sheep. The unspoken, sad observation is ‘us against them’. Perhaps that is the root problem.

  19. Jim says

    After 30 years of pastoral ministry, I’m now sitting in the pew. Our church is awaiting a new lead pastor. My number one hope is that our new leader will be bold and courageous!

  20. Sosanya says

    Critics in the Church are on the increase day by day though this may vary in degrees. Where the Pastor is sticking to the Gospel message when others around are popular preachers so to say with much of entertainment, this Pastor will be so unluck because of many who will want him to be like others. Here, he should know what God is asking him to do per time likenthe sons of Issacchar. That is why I love the points on preaching and critics.

  21. Reg Cox says

    Impossibly schizophrenic…this list exactly reflects the causes of stress and unrealistic heartache I wrestle with as a pastor. No other normal profession demands such a range of extreme examples of excellence of expectations as is reflected here in this list. No wonder pastors commit suicide and quit at a rate greater than other professions. The vast range of positive responses to this list from your readers only makes my angst greater. Any pastor who is a great preacher, great vision caster, great evangelist, and great at deflecting criticisms and at the same time demonstrates consistent transparency, joy and bulldog work ethic is the world’s greatest con man or one of the rarest anomalies of all time. Thanks for sucking the mojo right out of my soul.

  22. says

    I am saddened by a couple of the responses on here but I don’t want to single anyone out so I will try to write this more generic.

    1) No where in this article did it say everybody wanted these 10 things as a minimum standard – it is a list of the top 10 responses (it makes one wonder if you read more into it than what it actually says whether you will do the same with the text). That being said, it is possible that everyone responding had 10 things but Rainer doesn’t say that or infer that.

    2) I also understand that many make their living off of the Word of God. I also understand that many consider it a profession. I don’t. It is a calling. That is not to say you can’t call yourself – you can – that is when it is a profession. This may sound harsh, but if the profession is too hard – pick a different profession. However, if it is a calling, then it is not of your power that you do what you do, it is a result of His!

    3) Where is the trust? We face so much less than our biblical counterparts in most cases and yet we have it tougher?!? I wonder how many pastors that find the list of 10 things above hard or impossible to deal with would be pastors if they regularly faced crucifixion, 40 lashes – 1, being beheaded, boiled in oil, firey furnace (long list here) If I sound condecending, please forgive me. God led the people out of Egypt – NOT Moshe!

    Take up your cross, don’t take an extra set of clothes, don’t even take a begging bag . . . .Rely on me and yet it is also going to cost you much – for most of you, your very life.

    Can you just imagine what a scarred an lashed Rabbi Sha’ul who had also been stoned to near death and who treated his body hard, and who worked to pay for the needs of his whole entourage so that the local congregations would not feel the burden would say about some of the responses on here?

    You realize we are in a war here? There is some urgency here. People are lost – people are going to die lost – people are going to die without every hearing the message of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ). Congregational meetings (church) are important! There can be no doubt of this in the text. However, the church is not the commision. Discipleship is the commision. The church is failing this comission.

    Think I’m wrong? How often does Barna say the average person attends congregational meetings? 2 times a year? How often does his research say that people actually study their bibles? On Sunday when the pastor tells them to open their bibles to the following passage?

    I am sorry if some of you are feeling some stress as a pastor. It is part of the package. Toughen up! We serve an awesome God!!! He is going to allow us to be tested and to feel persecution so that our character can be built. Just remember what HE went through – for us – and remember how He dealt with it. Remember what Sha’ul said when he said imitate me as I imitate Messiah . . .

    It is my hope that my passion has not lacked compassion in this post.
    Be blessed,
    Be strong,
    and be strengthened!

    Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek

  23. Bro. Lord says

    Every God-called preacher, pastor has at least three things we need to think about. John 1:6-8 says “There was a man, sent from God, to bear witness of the Light.” Number one, that pastor is a man. He has faults and limitations just like everyone else. He get tired, stressed, etc. just like you do. He is on call twenty-four hours every day. Number two, he was sent from God. So love him, take care of him, pray for him, fellowship with him!The church calls him but he wouldn’t be your pastor unless he was sent from God. You mess with God’s man and you are messing with God! Number three, he was called to “bear witness of the Light.” That means he is there to preach the Gospel of Christ and to feed the church. Support him!

  24. Mo says

    I believe the entire list is great. I also think that if takes God being the center of the whole church in order for these things to be present. Our pastor has all the qualities on the list plus some. Because it is very apparent that he is filled with God and that our congregation is also. The only thing that could get better is for all of us to continually keep our pastor lifted up to God in our prayers and to not let the evil of today interfere. As my daughter (17)will quote from the Bible ” Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3 NIV. I think if your shepherd is God’s man then he will surely have all these qualities.

  25. James Jacobs says

    Excellent list. I find #8 to be instructive. After all, where would we be if Jesus yielded to his critics? I wonder what message we send when we say that we want our children to stand up against peer pressure and then they see a pastor yielding to his critics? Just my 2 cents.

  26. Anthony Mistretta says

    You state that your approach to gathering the information was non scientific , yet, it has all the elements of a qualitative study. This would certainly make it scientific, albeit, a social science! Can you comment? Thanking you in advance!

    • Thom Rainer says

      Anthony –

      You are correct in that the research has the traits of qualitative study. My unwillingness to give it scientific status is connected to the more superficial nature of my interviews. I asked a single open-ended question of a number of people. From my perspective, it felt more like an informal poll than qualitative research. There are so many good qualitative studies taking place today; I did not want my less rigorous interview process to seem on par with much better studies.

      Thanks for asking. I hope my response helps.

  27. Willie says

    In “Ten Things Disciples want in a Pastor” can serve some measurement to discipling others in the Body of Christ. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ariticle because of the biblical principles that are addressed. Pastors are called to connect people with God. Romans 12

  28. RDH says

    Ok, interesting to see what “men” want / expect from a Pastor. I am a layman, and I think it would be VERY healthy for you to turn the tables. Give your colleagues the opportunity to express what they would love to see from their Church Members. Yes, it is good for a leader (Pastor) to reflect on how he is doing. However, this can truly be a two way street.

    As one who loves my Pastors, I would be curious to know if there are things I could do (better), or change that would be a blessing to my Pastor, his family and his ministry.

  29. Ann Jones says

    I would have liked the list better if the pastor was referred to as “she” now and then!!

    It is important to me that a pastor not let his or her ego get in the way. Have known too many who let their churches become their fan clubs, will tolerate no dissention about their perfection, and have wound up leaving a church totally unable to function without him or her. We may laugh about a “bully pulpit,” but don’t put a bully in the pulpit.

  30. says

    Some people may have said they want their pastors not to yield to critics, but the reality is that when a pastoral oversight committee (whatever it’s called in your denomination) passes on criticisms to the pastor, they expect the pastor to address these issues, and there is often a great deal of pressure put on the pastor to make changes. pastors are highly aware that these criticisms can lead to church splits, to them losing their position, or to holding the church in an unhealthy state. It’s easy for people to say they want the pastor to resist criticisms, but the entire church must bear some responsibility about how criticisms are leveled, about what is respected in response to them, and about supporting a pastor even when you may be seeing his/her weaknesses at a given moment.

  31. says

    I don’t have a problem with the list or with the fact that my congregants have expectations of me. After completing nearly 12 years of pastoral ministry at two different churches I totally understand that different congregations have similar expectations of a pastor. This list is helpful to the new pastor who are trying to find his/her way and a reminder to the experienced pastor that the work is not over. I know that the Bible has different expectations of us than our congregations and to hat I have these responses: (1) a good pastor can reshape congregational expectation by TEACHING what the Bible expects from both pastor and disciple. (2) the Bible is he ideal expectation while the congregation represents the real expectation that they have. If you’re going to do real ministry to real people in the real world you must other meet the expectations, change the expectation or deal with the consequences of not meeting hem and that differs between congregations. Either way, I’m thankful that Thom posted this list and stirred this discussion.

  32. says

    the is very good posting,As a nigeria Pastor based in Awka,I would like to say that a Prophetic pastor is good.We need Holy spirit to lead us.

  33. Susan Olsen says

    What is the proper etiquette these days to ask the Pastor a theological question? And should we expect an answer in a reasonable amount of time?

    I grew up with battling parents of two denominations, and have since converted to the one I am most comfortable with practices and teachings. Growing up our parish decided to build a school before the church. And they were pushy about money. So, I did not experience worship in a sanctuary. It was in the gym, in close rows of metal folding chairs. I went to public school, not there.

    I want to learn more about the beliefs of my chosen religion. I have moved all over for work, following a former husband around, and life. Had friends of all faiths (some were Minister’s children) and have been in many different churches as a visitor. I also had bad experiences, twice, with Pastors playing favorites to the select group that ran the church, so I am leery now.

    I met with the associate Pastor of my new church who was falling asleep. Yes, I am needy right now. I have no family, illness took my money, I live in pain with a disfigurement every day, and a drunk with a long record wrecked my parked car an hour after I moved here. I am not from here, am much more educated than most locals and do not like drinking and all that goes with it that is an acceptable part of daily life. I am trying to rebuild my life and get back into the workforce, wherever that may be. I believe that God is everywhere and do not go to church every Sunday. I am trying to fit in with a group that raises money for the church but is really more of a social hour of lifelong members that seem to be catered to.

    This is a stop along the way. I want to contribute to my church and feel like a valued member. Am I expecting too much in assuming a phone and email message asking a simple, direct question about my religion’s viewpoint to be returned? Am I doing something wrong.

    • Thom Rainer says

      Susan –

      I am sorry for all the pain you are experiencing. Pastors are humans like the rest of us. You should have the same expectations of them as you would other Christians.

  34. dcn chinakwe ifeanyi says

    pastor, you have just inspired me again, if our pastors could actually desire and follow the ethics of ministry, the church will be more healthy and respected. i dont want to look at it in the order numbered point as some persons asserted, but i see them all as important as it is needful for the church. God bless you man of God, continuin the good work.

  35. Jessica B says

    Thank you for posting this! My husband and I recently had the displeasure of leaving a church due to the transparency issue. Our hearts are broken, but we know we couldn’t stay under such a secretive and despotic leadership style. Everyone in the congregation was on a ‘need to know’ basis…. and only a small, elite inner-circle were let in on what was going on with finances, the vision, etc…

    It was frustrating and sad.

  36. leku mapika says

    its not how you live on earth that matters, but it is what you live behind when you are gone that really counts, and that alone defines the character traits of a pastor or any leader at any level. it reveals one’s agenda based on the function of their gift, and it puts you inline with God’s will for a good pastor (read 1timothy 3:1-7).
    you can never know what you have in God until you find who you are in God, as leaders let us invest time in finding ourselves in GOD first, and he will find us in the world (Matthew 6:33). always remember that In every head there is a brain, in every brain is a mindset, in every mindset, is a thought process/way of thinking, in every thought process are mind molders/shapers, and in mind molders there are agendas.

  37. Minister Victor E. says

    Call by God to be a Sheppard and an Overseer. One who is called to lead and the breed leaders, and is passionate for the flock. He is a fisher of men and feed the hungry (spiritually, mentally and physically). He leads by example, and has a gentle spirit. He is clear, and transparent as crystal. He may not be fully recognized and appreciated, but his fruits speak of what God is doing through him. A pastor, simply a man of God:

  38. Jean Wang says

    I think the following is necessary for a pastor:
    1. Committed to serve God and His people whole heartedly, not half heartedly.
    2. Passionate to help God’s people grow spiritually (discipleship/mentoring) and not just satisfied by running the religious show each week.
    3. Listen to the congregation with a humble heart, not running the church as if he is the owner and has everything figured out already.
    4. Most importanly having the Holy Spirit leading his service, not by the flesh.
    5. Accept imperfect people or people with different opinions and help them grow by putting them in proper positions in church, not only use people who never have different opinions.

  39. Matt says

    Good post. I agree with the list. Being a pastor is a high calling and a tough job. Strong, caring pastors who set a godly example are a tremendous blessing to their congregations and communities. May God strengthen and guide all our pastors!

    • blanche mcvey says

      blanche thank you so much for this list.It sure opened my eyes to the fact that i am so blessed to have a Pastor like i have Brent Stancil .He tells it like it is right from the word of God.He lets his light shine and that is all a Pastor needs to do. God will supply all the rest.

  40. Katelyn says

    I think this is a good pastor is so nice. her name is pastor carol. she always is wearing a pretty dress and she even makes us do exercises. it is fun. i like being in her class.

  41. says

    I am a pastor and I agree with everything except, not yielding to critics. I do not mean we need to bow down to everything people say especially when people who are completely unreasonable. But I do believe we need to be open to hear if we have missed the mark. I once had a pastor that was extremely harsh to his congregation members, in fact it was abusive, and when I, as his associate pastor went to speak to him about it he was not at all open to hearing what I said. He actually got worse. I ended up having to leave and the church quickly collapsed not long after. They need to be approachable not closed off. If the Pastor has heard from God then they must stand firm. Openness is essential for a health pastor.

  42. says

    As a matter truth, we pastors must noticed that we possessed ten fingers. And these fingers are very useful & well demanding, likewise the ten points must be highly considerable & actively observed inorder to have a successful ministry:D

  43. Pete Kiefhaber says

    As a bi vocational pastor it is easy to get to busy. One thing that has greatly helped me is recognizing the need to be a servant to the people in the realm of being a shepherd. Leading not pushing, loving with mercy and truth. Working for the good of the people in discipling them and realizing that followers don’t always understand why we are headed in the direction we are.

  44. charlotte parker says

    Why would the pastor (singlehandedly) change the name of the church in a denomination without the members or any of the boards or ministries agreeing to it. He had the church administrator read a letter after morning service and said if anyone had a question that his phone number was on the Sunday morning bulletin. Please response Help me understand this.

  45. says

    Great list. But is it accurate. These all seem like the Jesus answers. You know the ones I mean, the acceptable good nice answers that make everyone feel good. As a pastor I have experienced these, but I have also experienced in every situation a few not so feel good expectations. I would love to walk into a church that said these and then the rest. We expect your family to be at every event and service even if ours aren’t, we expect you to be here 24 7 even when on vacation for any issue we may have, we expect you to do everything the way it was always done even the things that didn’t work and get the church back to the way it was x number of years ago. This is not said out of anything but love for the people I pastor. I love what I do, love that I’m called and wouldn’t change it for the world. I know that these are the expectations, but that knowledge has come from failing in one of these areas, as opposed to being told.

  46. Joy Devore says

    I just want a pastor. I haven’t found one yet, though I’ve been involved in several churches since I was 14. A pastor is someone who knows you by name and by heart, rather than a distant spectacle. It’s hard not to become a spectator when that is what the pastor is. I don’t want somebody standing up there on a stage every week talking about whatever. I want to know the pastor and his family and vice versa. We should be at each other’s houses all the time building relationships and strengthening each other’s faith in Jesus. This won’t work with a thousand people, you think? Correctomundo! Those aren’t pastors. A real pastor could probably handle between 10-15 people. How on earth do all these guys study the Bible and come to the conclusion that we are supposed to gather by the hundreds under the roof of a building with staff that costs at least 70% of the church budget? How! I don’t understand it. Then they wonder why they are depressed and their marriages are falling apart and their children are forsaking God. Pastors, you weren’t called to be a god.

  47. says

    I want a Preacher who finally gets it – that Jesus actually finished His work on the cross – that we owe God nothing – that sin is no longer the issue because Jesus took it away…nailing it to the cross – that God forgave all sin once for all by the shedding of His Blood – that God forgives sin by Christ’s Blood whereas man forgives his fellow man by a negotiated apology, and to mix the two is dangerous. A Preacher who presents the “Good News” as truly “Good News” rather than as some sort of “lease agreement. What lease agreement? You graduate from high school, Dad hands you the keys to a new car. As you run across the front lawn to take it for a spin, Dad calls out while he holds up an envelope, “Oh – there’s one more thing!” You stop and turn. “What’s that?” Dad hands you a thick contract. “It’s your lease agreement for the car. The car is yours as long as you pay the monthly lease, keep it insured, and stay out of trouble with the police.”

    That is not a gift! That is not good news! That is a terrible trick to play on a son!

    “Religion” and bad Preachers tell their Pew-Sitters that Jesus died for their sins, but then they burden those Pew-Sitters with so much bondage (sin-management, confession for forgiveness, forgive others to be forgiven, asking/begging for for forgiveness, etc.) that Jesus is pushed beyond reach and the “Good News” is turned into the “Terrible News.”

    When Jesus died and shed His Blood for our sin, God tore the Temple veil in half from top to bottom. Religion’s Pharisees are sewing that veil back together as fast as they can.

    Write me if any of this touches a nerve. Roger

  48. Anonymous says

    My son has been in the hospital for 5 weeks now and although our pastor is aware ,he has never offered to pray .
    I don’t feel comfortable with that .
    Shouldn’t pastors be concerned with the flock and their families?

  49. tim says

    you can see the sheep and pastor here but what I notice is several of the sheoherds were using scripture to support their comments.That should be the source.
    what does the bible say a pastor should do
    not what he thinks or what the congragation thinks but what does God think he should do.
    There is a disconnect many times on what churches want in a pastor as far as what he does vs what God tells what a pastor is to do in his word. This started as early as Acts the church.

  50. says

    The scriptures states that a shepherd needs to be an example to his flock and not be domineering
    Matthew 20:25-28
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[a] 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,[b] 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    1 Peter 5
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    Shepherd the Flock of God

    5 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,[a] not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;[b] not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

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