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12 ‘Unexpected’ Places To See a Pastor

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Every once in a while, I’m in a conversation where a church member expresses “surprise” to have seen his or her pastor outside the pulpit. I posted some of these thoughts 5+ years ago, but I thought you might enjoy hearing some of these additional conversations:

  1. “My pastor was the greeter in the parking lot this past Sunday.” He had challenged the church to enlist parking lot greeters, but nobody expected to see the pastor waving at cars as they entered the lot.
  2.  “Our pastor showed up at the hospital anyway.” This church member’s family told the pastor he didn’t need to come to the hospital – and they meant it. He came anyway, though, and it greatly blessed the family.
  3. “He was in the sanctuary greeting people before the service!” This church member didn’t miss it when her pastor changed his routine. She was genuinely surprised to see him before he stepped to the pulpit.
  4. “I saw Pastor _____ at the pharmacy today!” We really do live ordinary lives – including going to Walgreens or CVS – but this member still found it unexpected to see her pastor there.
  5. “Pastor _____ was in our small group today.” No pastor had ever simply attended a Sunday morning small group – but this new pastor made a commitment to model what he expected his members to do.
  6. “I didn’t expect my pastor to be serving the coffee at the fellowship café this morning.” This pastor wanted to be more connected with people he didn’t know well yet, so he met them from behind the coffee counter.
  7. “Did you see the pastor in the choir today?” This church member had never seen a pastor who sang in the choir and preached.
  8. “He was the first one here to help on the outdoor workday.” The whole scenario seemed odd to this church member not only because he wanted to guard his pastor’s time to study, but because he’d seldom seen his pastor in anything other than a suit.
  9. “Our pastor was my substitute teacher today.” The young person from his church was pumped about the opportunity to introduce her friends to her pastor.
  10. “Our pastor was here today, but he was sitting in the third row with his family.” This pattern is changing among younger pastors, but there was a time when the pastor was always the one preaching when he was in town.
  11. “Pastor ______ was at the city council meeting last night, and he didn’t even say anything!” I think the member was surprised his pastor was there because of his commitment to the community—not because he was praying or supporting a cause.
  12. “Hey, Pastor, what a surprise to see you here.” I was an interim pastor on a mission trip, and I unexpectedly ran into one of my church members halfway around the world. I was reminded that no matter where we are, somebody might be watching.

This article about “surprising” places to see a pastor originally appeared here and is used by permission.