Dumb & Dumber Mistakes Pastors Often Make

I’ve served over 33 years in different churches in various roles and have made lots of mistakes.

I didn’t make these mistakes with ill will or with an evil heart, and neither do most pastors. However, we make them, and sometimes they are, well, just dumb.

Here are some of the dumbest mistakes I’ve made.

1. Assuming everybody understands what I meant.

Just because people remain silent when I share my idea does not mean that they get it or agree with it. I’ve learned the hard way that I must pry feelings from those who don’t speak up when I share a new initiative. Otherwise, their concerns will show up later and probably surprise me.

2. Getting defensive when somebody didn’t buy into my plan.

Sometimes I’ve unintentionally conveyed to others that every aspect of the church vision must start with me. And if it’s not my idea, if must not be from God. Perhaps in the Old World, top-down, command-and-control style of leadership, that thinking worked. It doesn’t in today’s environment.

3. Believing that my position as pastor automatically elicited trust from the church.

Positional leadership does not guarantee trust from potential followers.

I’ve learned that church people only give a certain level of trust in leaders, often low at first. And most likely the trust they have extended to spiritual leaders has taken a hit in the past.

I’ve learned that I must go the extra mile to build trust with those in the church.

4. Not communicating enough.

I’ve heard megachurch pastor Rick Warren say because vision leaks, he revisits the church vision every 30 days. He’s right.

We must continually communicate not only the vision, but other important issues in the church as well. We almost can’t overcommunicate.

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Charles Stone
Dr. Charles Stone is Lead Pastor at West Park Church in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of five books including Holy Noticing: The Bible, Your Brain, and the Mindful Space Between Moments (Moody Press, 2019). His sixth book coming in October by Equip Press, will be Every Pastor's First 180 Days: How to start and stay strong in a new church job.