I have never met a pastor who did not want to be more liked, even loved, by their congregation. We are all human. We enjoy relationships. We want our families to enjoy their church experience. We want people to smile when we enter a room. We are made for relationships.
Unfortunately, I have also often had conversations with pastors who defiantly told me, “It’s not my job to be liked. I am a shepherd. And there are times shepherds must take out their staffs, grab the sheep around the neck, and bring them back to the flock. Sheep are stupid.” Those pastors did not last long at their churches.
This post is inspired by and largely taken from the writings of Michael Lukaszewski which you can read by clicking here. The following are 3 Things Any Pastor Can Do To Be More Liked By Their Congregation:
1. Be Accessible
As churches grow in size and importance, many pastors begin to shut themselves off from people. Some of this was absolutely necessary, but part of it was an infatuation with going to the next level. Some go as far as to put up literal walls up between themselves and the people in their church.
This was not a good decision.
While it is absolutely necessary to put some healthy boundaries in place, creating systems to help you hide is a bad thing. Email auto responders that make people feel unimportant and green rooms that subtly suggest you’re above the people can become a wall of contention between you and the very people you are trying to serve. Don’t hide behind systems that separate.
2. Be Authentic
Dr. John Maxwell says, “If you want to impress people, talk about your successes. If you want to impact them, talk about your failures.”
Authenticity is the doorway to likability. If you want people to like you, you’ve got to be real. They need to know you’re a real person, with real struggles. Whether they are financial or spiritual or relational, find ways to relate to real life.
You’ll do more when you talk about your mistakes (even the ones that don’t end with a supernatural blessing) than you will with subtly bragging on your victories.
There’s an important principle here. You don’t need to ACT like you’re on their level…you really need to come down and BE on their level. We are all equal at the foot of the cross, and being in full-time ministry does not give you special access to God or secret knowledge on how to live the Christian life.
3. Be Positive
Complaining isn’t attractive, no matter who you are. Whether you’re complaining about bad customer service, how tired you are, or long lines at Subway, it isn’t endearing talk. Nobody says, “You know who I like to be around? People who complain!.”
People want to be around positive people. Positive people are just simply more likeable.
Be Accessible. Be Authentic. Be Positive. If you do these 3 things, you will be more liked by your congregation.
I also want to tell you about an upcoming special event to help pastors. The Rocket Company is putting on a 2-day event called The Preaching Conference on September 19-20 in Atlanta. You will walk away with a system for developing messages that will make you a better preacher. The cost is $149 but enter the coupon code “preacher” for $50 off. Click here to sign up. I will be in attendance and hope to see you there.
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