Recently, I read an article (by Mark Dance) which highlighted 6 things a pastor ought never to say from the pulpit. They were not necessarily related to the actual communication process involved in preaching a message. Also, all were examples of what ought to be avoided “verbally” — from actually speaking. Here is the list of six. If you want to hear the reasoning, you can link to the actual article.
1. “Can I get a volunteer to help in the nursery?”
2. “Does anybody know what time it is?”
3. “I don’t feel good today, but I’m gonna preach anyway.”
4. “I didn’t ask my wife for permission to tell this, but…”
5. “Did I forget any announcements?”
6. “Would somebody change the thermostat?”
Indeed, there are words which you ought never to say . . . .
√ in a marriage – because they can affect the relationship for years
√ to the boss – because it can affect your job
√ to your children – because it really can impact them for life
√ to a judge – because he/she is the arbiter of your case
AND . . . . in a sermon!
The pastor can “says things” that ought never to be said because . . . .
√ it can affect relationships — In fact, it can affect many relationships and for years due to several unique reasons, #1) The church is composed of serial listeners, #2) In a local church setting there are a lot of people who are related by family, by ministry, by age group, and by experiences, #3) “Public Speaking” in a local church setting leans heavily on relationships more than most or any other speaking situation.
√ it can affect your job — There is at least one reason some pastors keep moving from church to church — damage has been done which they cannot be repaired. In fact, at times, the damage is significant enough that it is best to move. To not move is to risk stagnating as a church, speaking to people who really aren’t listening or following the pastor’s leadership.
√ it really can impact people for life — Some of God’s people also move from church to church and even drop out of church life because of a bad church experience. That bad church experience usually revolves around the pastor, not other members. Few see a church as this-or-that person, but most see the church and the senior pastor as connected, as what it is as a local church.
√ the membership is the arbiter of your case — At the end, the church is following or not following the pastor’s leadership. Being the primary speaker and being seen as the leader are not necessarily connected. Leadership and speaking should be related within a healthy church, but they are not inescapably connected. If you want to grasp how well you communicate, see if people follow and/or even attend. Or the reverse, if God’s people do not follow your leadership or come to listen to your preaching-teaching ministry, you will also not find them following your sense of direction in the ministry.
However, I would like you to go a different direction from Mark Dance in the above originally cited article. Mark Dance highlighted six areas which are “things a preacher can say” which are extraneous to the actual biblical message.
A second direction would involve “some things a preacher could and should not say” in or as part of a biblical message. Perhaps, in the near future, we will do that as well. We have already highlighted a specific example of this in a previous article.
However, there is a third direction. Another direction — an unconventional facet of communication — relates to the non-verbal side of communication.
Tomorrow we will examine the first of three non-verbal things a pastor ought never communicate from the pulpit!