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7 Things Pastors Should Never Say

3. I don’t counsel people.

This kind of statement insulates you from the congregation, and while you might think you need to do that in order to go to the next level, bragging about your refusal to engage hurting people isn’t going to do you any good.

You might not to be the primary counselor, especially if you’re not trained to handle specific situations. But you should counsel someone. You should stay connected at some level because it’s helpful, and because you’ll stay connected to a hurting group of people who look to you for advice.

If you pastor a large or rapidly growing church, you may not visit everyone in the hospital, but you should visit someone, and you should create a system that does provide personal pastoral ministry to everyone. “I don’t visit people in the hospital, so if I show up, you know it’s bad,” might sound funny from the stage, but it’s a condescending position that attempts to maximize your visible value to the church. But mostly, it makes people feel unimportant.

Refusing to engage people, even if it’s a small group of people, on a personal level isn’t good leadership—it’s ministry arrogance. I was guilty of this in the past, and I was wrong.

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After two decades as a student pastor, church planter, senior pastor and leadership consultant, Michael Lukaszewski now leads the team at Church Fuel, an organization dedicated to providing insanely practical resources to pastors. He and his wife have three children and live in the Atlanta area. Learn more at churchfuel.com.