According to Lifeway Research, 48% of pastors say people’s strong opinions about nonessentials are a challenge in their ministries. Bobby Pell, pastor of Northwoods Church, joins Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, to discuss the Greatest Needs of Pastors study and how to handle the strong opinions of others on non-essential issues.
Ben Mandrell: 48% of pastors say that they are impacted by the strong opinions on non-essentials. Has that worn you out?
Bobby Pell: Oh, yeah.
Ben Mandrell: In what way?
Bobby Pell: To go back to social media for a second, I look on Facebook and see all kinds of people’s opinions—that I happened to pastor.
Ben Mandrell: And they’re very vocal.
Bobby Pell: It’s very clear. And sometimes they’ll communicate that to me, as well, as we pass each other.
Ben Mandrell: And you then are stuck. And you either agree or disagree. And “is it even worth engaging?” is the next question.
Bobby Pell: That’s right. And it’s not. As a pastor, my responsibility, for example on social media, is to only communicate what is encouraging. Only communicate those things that are beneficial and helpful. If there’s any way that it’s not essential—it’s not primary—I’ve just learned to step away.
Ben Mandrell: You know, it’s really hard to get tone in social media. You might say something that you said in a happy tone, but people took it in a negative way. I wish more pastors would lean on what you’re saying in terms of let’s use social media to encourage and share uplifting things—not a place to disagree.
Bobby Pell: There are a lot of people who have no idea what my opinions are on a lot of things.
Ben Mandrell: And that’s probably good.
Bobby Pell: That’s my goal.
Ben Mandrell: They’re either going to agree or disagree with you, and that may affect their church membership. It may affect their commitment.
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