The final week of August is one of my favorite weeks of the year. It was on August 26th, 2002 when I began my vocational career serving pastors and church leaders with Injoy Stewardship Solutions. After a 10-year run helping with capital campaign related issues, I was privileged to then join The Rocket Company this past February.
I now help pastors and church leaders preach better sermons, increase weekly giving, and gain, train and retain volunteers. That’s 11 years and counting serving these great men and women who give their lives to serve us.
I have always counted it a high privilege to be a friend to pastors. It is a humbling responsibility that daily drives me to my knees begging God to help me.
So in honor of 11 years serving pastors and church leaders, the following are 11 things I would advise anyone to do who wish to enter this industry. This is my secret sauce.
- Understand The Value Of A Pastor’s Time – Everyone is wanting it. If they choose to give you some, it is a high compliment so don’t waste it. Your skill level must be high.
- Schedule Calls In Advance – This goes along with valuing their time. Use email, text, or social media to schedule calls in advance. Don’t cold call unless absolutely necessary.
- Be Sensitive To What A Pastor May Be Facing That Day – For all you know, a pastor may have faced people who are sick or dying, unemployment issues with those in their church, marriages failing, staff issues, or even angry emails, letters, and phone calls just before your call. Your conversation should be refreshing and upbeat. They already have enough challenges. Provide them relief and solutions.
- How A Pastor Wakes Up – You woke up thinking about your scheduled call with them because it is your job. They did not wake up thinking about you.
- Use The Web – Before you connect with a pastor, read the church’s website. See what the current sermon series is and know the church’s upcoming special events. Whenever possible, listen to an online sermon.
- Pretend You Are In The Church Lobby – Conversations with pastors should be normal and relaxed. Whenever I’m on the phone with a pastor, I always picture myself in the lobby with them after a morning service. Say what you would say in the lobby.
- Their Issue Is The Issue So Serve Them Rather Than Sell Them – It is counterintuitive but the more you focus on helping pastors succeed, the more sales you will make. The more sales you try to make, the less you will succeed.
- Don’t Embarrass Them…EVER – Whenever you are on a conference call or in a meeting with a pastor, always promote the good things about them or the church in front of their staff. This is not manipulation. It is respect.
- The Pastor’s Wife – Be very, very kind to the pastor’s wife. For that matter, you should show great respect to all the women in the church. You would think in 2013 people would already know this. I’ve been around too many people who don’t.
- Enlarge Their Platform – One of the favorite parts of my job is after a great conversation, I always verify the pastor’s Twitter account and give them a shout out on the web. They love this and so do I.
- Be Their Friend – Once again, everyone wants something from pastors. As a result, many are lonely and have few people they can trust. I have had literally hundreds of conversations where all I do is tell pastors they are doing a good job and they can make it. I may not always make a sale with that individual but God always makes it up ten-fold somewhere else.
And here is a bonus one:
- Follow Up – Always send some form of recap email after calls or meetings. Pastors are very busy so don’t expect them to remember your conversation. This also shows professionalism on your part.
I love pastors enough to give away all my secrets. My desire is for everyone – bankers, architects, builders, stewardship companies, etc… – to treat pastors and church leaders with excellence. They literally fight heaven and hell everyday on our behalf. They deserve our respect and best efforts.
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