So your preacher needs help.
He regularly shoots himself in the foot with portions of the church and doesn’t know it. He tells too many stories about his family. He only listens to one group in the church.
He is pushing an agenda that will never be accepted. Every week you sit awkwardly waiting for him to rip his britches yet again and most weeks he obliges.
How can he not see that he is playing with fire and steering his raft dangerously close to a treacherous theological or political waterfall? You can see he is destroying his influence one inch at a time, at least with you and those who talk to you freely.
What do you do to help the poor fellow? How do you gain his hearing and get him on a good path?
The word in the aisle is that he won’t hear criticism. Is there a way to get through to him?
Here is a sure-fire recipe to gain influence with the man of the cloth and get a sympathetic hearing for your insights designed to pull his biscuits out of the fire.
1. Gain his trust by becoming his supporter first.
No one listens to a crank. Why would a preacher listen to someone who treats him like an enemy?
Don’t think you can improve the performance of someone who sees you as an obstacle.
Encourage him for what he does right. Be specific. Forget the general “Good job” or “Nice sermon.” What was it specially that you appreciated about how he handled the scripture or conveyed the message? Show that you hear his message, not just evaluate his style.
Preachers want to believe they are saying something that matters. Show that you believe he is.
2. Get to know his heart and vision.
Most preachers see the weekly sermon as a tool for the larger role of leading a church.
If you don’t understand your preacher’s vision, you can’t understand his tactics. Make it your mission to understand what drives him.
What does he believe God is doing in the world and how does your church fit into that mission? What is he passionate about? Why is he in ministry in the first place? Why is he at this church?
Assume the position of a learner first. Affirm his heart before you criticize his methods. Preachers are desperate to be understood and will open up to someone who seeks to “get it.”