An Open Letter to Pastors (Hint: You’ll Want to Read This One)

There are several things I want to say to pastors as someone who sits in your church each week.

open pastor letter

I write this post with tears literally in my eyes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “Whenever God means to make a man great, He always breaks him in pieces first.”

As a member of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, I get to have personal one-on-one conversations with over 1,000 pastors each year. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who stand in our pulpits each and every Sunday. There are several things I want to say to pastors as someone who sits in your church each week.

  • I respect your competence. You are smart and the world’s best communicators. You have a supernatural ability to take a passage of biblical text and pull out the truths that bring us comfort and guide us toward right living.
  • I respect your patience and kindness. You love us unconditionally in spite of our bad advise on how you should preach or lead the church.
  • I respect your bravery. You do not shy away from tough passages which are not well-received in a politically correct culture.
  • I respect your diligence. There are countless hard choices you are forced to constantly make.
  • I respect your preparation. Every seven days you give us a fresh word from God.
  • I respect your family. You live in a fishbowl and have to appear perfect.
  • I respect your generosity. You love people so much you are willing to earn far below the level of your education so we can know God.
  • I respect your compassion. Your knees are callused as a result of constantly praying for us.
  • I respect your commitment to Jesus and His mission. Because you love Him so much you answered the call to go into an incredibly unstable profession.
  • I respect your vision. You see those in your church as what they could be, not just what they currently are.
  • I respect you for being by my side. Every significant moment of my life—salvation, baptism, wedding, hospitals, baby dedications, funerals. You were there.
  • And I respect what no one sees. I respect the fact that you were broken to pieces by God. Personal Heartbreak. Sadness. Doubt. Disappointment. Devastation. Hurt Feelings. Sleepless Nights. Unspeakable Pain. You don’t talk about this part of your journey much. But one of the main reasons God uses you so effectively is you have been broken to pieces for His glory and our benefit and did not quit. You will finish this race.

And for this I say “Thank You.” And I and countless others will thank you every day for eternity because you were willing to pay a personal price others did not. And because you paid that price, I and others I love met Jesus.

You may not think anyone notices the price you paid. But this is not true. You are loved and respected. And I just want to say one more time to you and your spouse, “Thank You.”

Brian Dodd
Brian Dodd is a church stewardship & leadership consultant. See www.briandoddonleadership.com for additional insights.
  • John Crowe

    These statements seem to praise a pastor superstar type person that congregations often expect and many pastors burn out trying to live up to. Both Spurgeon and Martin Luther experienced a lot of pain during their entire ministry for they both fought depression. Unlike many clergy who fight with depression in our day, Luther had no problem speaking about it or writing about it in his day. We can’t today because it does not fit with the perfect pastor image.

    • Really…because the very last one talks about respecting what no one sees. I don’t see anything about not walking in a level of transparency.

  • Henry Wollman

    Amen. Pastors are expected to be perfect, heaven help them if they admit to more than a superficial flaw.

  • senga

    Hmmmmmmm now a days you can’t understand some of these pastor’s oh most of them are in wolves in sheep skin, the way they preach , talk, and wear very very expensive clothes even more than the church members who always contribute to the church. The bible ye shall know them by their fruits.

  • Ross Haldeman

    It is never about who we are and/or what we do nor what we do not do! It is all about Him who suffered and died for ALL of us. If ” we ” think that we are ” good ” then he suffered and died for those who are bad. If we think that we are sick then He HAS healed us. If we think that we are better off than others then He died for all those others.
    Even to Peter He said, ” get behind me Satan,,” etc..Who was it that was spat on, who was it that IS innocent ? Yeshua it is!
    We are all under His Lordship not matter where we stand nor what we preach or witness.
    Blessings to you all.

  • David Waterman

    I don’t have a problem with this. I do not see where it says the pastor is perfect. I see a paragraph alluding to the pastor being wounded, hurt, and broken. Hardly the picture of the perfect pastor. Just the description of a person who kept on and tried to do what he could do for the flock. If it had said something other than respect I would have had a problem, but it says respect. I have sat under a lot of different pastors and I respect many of them, not because they are perfect, but because they are keeping on the task. And I especially respect the pastors I have known who stand up and admit mistakes and step aside to regroup and rest and get right with God before continuing on. Maybe I am seeing something here that others didn’t see? But then, I have been there and have battled severe disabilities and know what it is like to try and try again and come up short until I learned what God was trying to teach me, and when I have learned it, I will share it and strengthen the church with my personal lessons I learned in the Word. It is all I can do. So I would love to know that those who are close to God could respect me, not for putting up the perfect pastor image, but the committed servant of Christ even when things in my life are broken.

  • Pastor Perky Knoll

    I think that this is a very good article. They are not saying that Pastor’s are perfect, we are far from it