3 Things You Ought Never To Say In A Sermon — #3 . . . .


It Is De-constructive!

I am sure that there are more than three non-verbal message which a pastor “speaks” to his audience.  Perhaps I have focused on these three because . . . .

  • they are the most common ???
  • “3” –  keeps the focus on the most identifiable — Some are much more subtle!
  • “3” – curtails the criticism of being too critical of pastors
  • “3” – attracts attention — “What are the 3?”


The process of destruction happens because there are non-verbal ways to communicate! Because some do not understand the nature and process of non-verbal communication, it is possible that some have already sunk the ship, or are taking on a lot of water.


The links to #1) and #2) are here and here.

#1) My Way Or The Highway
#2) It’s About Me
#3) I Have It So Rough!

There are ways to communicate that “You Have It So Rough!” — to generate pity and compassion for you and the difficulty of being a pastor!

At times I am not surprised that pastors find themselves moving from church to church more often than seem reasonable.  I say “than seems reasonable” because of the very nature and essence of pastoring.  Pastoring is about relationships, community, and building – building an effective ministry with and among people in a community and which has an impact.

There may be good reason for constant change when it comes to other occupations and employs . . . .

  • a better opportunity
  • salary & benefits
  • working with unethical people
  • being asked to engage in questionable practices
  • a lack of any potential personal development
  • a questionable future
  • the recognition of a poor business plan or strategy
  • unpleasant people and/or working conditions
  • horrible supervisor-boss

And while we could point to some amalgams of the above reasons, which affects a pastoral decision to move or change ministries, seemingly the ministry should be more stable than other employs.

The reason? . . . .

. . . . because PASTORAL ministry is surely far more about . . . .

Relationships, Not Benefits

One of the reasons for such pastoral flux (surely not the only reason, and surely more complicated than any single or simple reason) is concentrated in the area we call communication.  Ministry is all about communication.

There are attitudes which a serial speaker who addresses a serial audience can communicate verbally and non-verbally!

Again, the examples below are not exhaustive but suggestive.

Don’t actually say, “I have it rough,” but repeatedly. . . .

  • reference your busy schedule.
  • reference your lack of time to — prepare your message, be at, attend, etc.
  • reference how hard it is to find a time to get away or vacation.
  • mention the criticism you are subjected to by others.
  • mention how pastors are too often underpaid.
  • bring up the difficulties of raising PKs.
  • talk about the hours you spend, have spent in ministry.
  • reference what you live without because of ministry.
  • cite the demands of ministry

I used the word “repeatedly” because in many cases it is not that any of the above should not be referenced.  Rather, it is the repeatedly and varied references to such which begins to speak a message of — “Nobody Seen The Troubles I Have.”

There are many people in the congregation which have difficult and hard jobs which are marked by their own demands, limitations, problems, and/or struggles.

Pastors have it good in many ways!  To communicate that you have it rough is not only unwise, but is probably the result of a lost and/or flawed perspective.

In many situations, you are your own boss.  Your schedule is decided by you and you can probably work wiser and ameliorate some of the believed and may be imagined demands!

The audience members really don’t want to hear it and probably don’t see it as you see it, any more than you understand their demands!  They do not need to leave with your seeming weight.  They need to leave with their burdens lightened.

You are the doctor, not a patient.  Be the doctor!


If you do not like the demands which accompany the ministry, please get out!  It is like a fireman which doesn’t like the demand of have to wake up in the middle of the night. Please don’t be a fireman!  Don’t be a pastor if you want to complain about it. We already have too many with that mentality!




2 thoughts on “3 Things You Ought Never To Say In A Sermon — #3 . . . .

  1. “Remember you are the DOCTOR. . . classic “Marten-izing” that makes Pastor Ted so effective. This is great advice for pastors but I would further say for ANY Church leader or Christian leader in the “world”. GREAT STUFF!!


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