By Joy Allmond
Thankfully, most church leaders have had access to solid training, teaching, and mentoring. But unfortunately, most have also received some harmful pointers when it comes to ministry.
Facts & Trends recently took to social media and asked, “What’s the worst piece of ministry advice you’ve ever received?” Here’s what people said:
1. “I had a pastor tell me he always gets a boring preacher to fill in when he’s away. Says it makes his church appreciate him more. Said I should do the same.”
2. “I was told, ‘Don’t get too close to your people’ by a professor in seminary, who also said, ‘Don’t show emotions.’ Worst thing ever said to me. Sadly, he later had a nervous breakdown. I don’t judge him, but I wonder if he was able to have close friends and connections.”
3. “‘Ministry is a job like any other. 40 hours a week means 40 hours. If people want to talk to you, they should contact your office, not home.’ Said by an applicant for a youth ministry position I was hiring. That person’s services were not required.”
4. “‘Never state that the person whose funeral you’re taking is now in heaven with Jesus.’ The reason given: ‘What are you going to say when you’re not sure that they are?’”
5. “Make her a Sunday School teacher and then she will be more faithful to attend church.”
6. “I was told by a senior leader, ‘I have to make the hospital visit first so they will know I love them before they know you love them.’”
7. “Never let your people get between you and the door.”
8. “Only fight for your own ministry. Make sure it gets first billing.”
9. “Sometimes you just gotta toot your own horn.”
10. “Once you finish seminary, make sure your first job is at a First Baptist Church—no matter what the job is.”
11. “Never look ‘em in the eye.”
12. “I was told to never get close to anyone in the church. Never be friends. Keep everyone at arm’s length. I didn’t listen to that advice.”
13. “You shouldn’t have any music if your church doesn’t have good singers.”
14. “I was told to lead a community group but not use the Bible. I was told to use a self-help book.”
15. “My husband had a repeat complaint that he ‘preached too much from the Bible’ and ‘they want to hear other new ideas.’”
16. “‘Don’t get too close to anyone. Remember, Jesus entrusted himself to no man.’ Wait…what?! Advice given to me in a lunch conversation by a pastor of more than 30 years.”
17. “The Lord told me he wants you to do xyz.”
What horrible ministry advice have you been given?
JOY ALLMOND (@joyallmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.