The best thing about being a pastor is you’re able to make such a difference in people’s lives for eternity’s sake.
There are so many great aspects to the ministry, things you can do that were not available to you until the Lord thrust you into the ministry. People trust you, they hand you the key to their lives (in a sense), they receive you into their homes as an honored guest (almost a family member from the first), and they listen to you as though yours was the voice of the Father.
That’s a heavy load.
However, there are limitations.
Just because people trust you and hand you a trainload of esteem and truckloads of trust does not mean you can do everything you would like. There are some lines you should not cross, some fences you need to respect.
The no-nos everyone thinks of first might include prohibitions such as these:
Not to preach longer than 45 minutes (25-30 is best). Who made that rule? No one. But unless your name is Spurgeon, it’s probably a good one to observe.
Not to preach a hundred sermons from any one book of the Bible. (Hey, it’s been done! Entire sermons on one little word, a sermon series on two verses. The pastor who does that takes pride in announcing to friends that he spent a full year in First John. Pardon me for not being impressed. Believe me, pastor, your people can no longer find their way through the forest for the minutia with which you are filling their lives.) (On rereading that, it may be too harsh. If so, I’m sorry. But I’m going to let it stand.)
Not to tell Sister Phelps what Sister Lampman said about her in counseling.
Not to use in a sermon that amazing confession from a sobbing counselee just last week. (This may be the wisest taboo of all. Do not ever, ever do this, preacher.)
Not to use verbatim a sermon you read in a book or online as though it were your own God-given message. Plagiarism is stealing, period. You may get by with it a few times, but eventually it will catch up to you and nothing good happens after that.
Nor should you peek into the records of financial contributions to see what each family in the church is giving.
As we say, the number of similar no-nos must run into the hundreds.
But here are three that might not immediately come to mind, ministry activities which pastors should not do …