It is one of the great dilemmas every Sunday for the pastor. Who do I speak with and for how long? Most pastors stand at a doorway after the morning service to greet those who are leaving. Others stay down front inviting folks to come and speak with the pastor to ask questions about the sermon. It is a constant juggling match that most pastors feel they fail at most of the time.
What adds to the madness is the person who aggressively hunts the pastor down after the service and feels entitled to his undivided attention for a long time. This is the person that feels a complete disregard for others that are usually patiently waiting in line. In our church, this person usually is someone who has come in off the street, does not know any better, and wants clothes, food or money.
This could also be a church member in your church who does not choose the best time to hash out their marital problems with the pastor. Yet, we still do not want to miss any opportunities for ministry to these needy folks, especially if they are souls under our care. What do you do? Three suggestions:
Give them a moment.
We can take this caution too far and not bother with these kinds of people at all, and that is wrong. Regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what their reason is to talk to “the pastor,” give them a moment to find out the basics about them and their need. It will help you know how to proceed with them and possibly involve another leader.
Train other leaders to step in to help.
After preaching and concluding a very important ordination service in our church, I was quickly approached by a homeless woman who walked up to the platform to speak with me before anybody else could get to me. She began to tell me about all her problems and they were many. She needed serious help, and if I would have stood there for two hours, she would have continued to talk that long.