Preaching Articles

Recently, we posted a list of “59 things not to say to a preacher.”  Someone suggested one on things we should not tell a preacher.  The emphasis is on “should not tell.”

Here are ten in no particular order….

1. We should not tell the preacher what we think of his hot wife.

This is one not only to keep to oneself, but to ask the Lord to remove it from one’s mind altogether.  The prayer “let the…meditations of my heart be acceptable to Thee, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” should cover it.

2. We should not tell the preacher we think he is married to a meddling wife.

Only the rarest of pastors could receive such information.  If it happens to be true–pray that it isn’t–let the elected leadership of the church deal with it, and not you.


3. We should not tell the preacher that when he first came, we hated his guts.

I received such a note once. A young couple whom I admired a great deal, wrote me after I’d been their pastor a couple of years.  It was an encouraging note meant to affirm me during a difficult time, but one line in particular will stay with me forever: “For your first year here, we hated you.  You were taking our beloved pastor’s place,” referring to the preacher before me. That was a stunner.  None of the positive things they said compensated for that one verbal blow.

I did not need to know this.  They should have kept it between themselves and the Lord.

4. We should not tell the preacher a bit of gossip we heard that “he just ought to know.”

Let it stop here, now, with you.

5. We should not tell the preacher, “I voted against you when you first came.”

This is more information than he needs to know.

6. Do not tell the pastor, “I think I’m falling in love with you.”

That, you may be horrified to know, has been done.  It is never ever done, however, to good effect. If the pastor is mature, thereafter he holds you at arm’s length (as he should!).  If he is immature, nothing but trouble lies ahead.

Someone insists, “But he is my shepherd, and he can help me with this.”  I respond: He is human and this is information he does not need.  Protect him from your foolishness. If you must tell someone, seek out a godly grandmother in the church who will counsel and pray and talk straight to you.

7. Do not tell the preacher, “I like you, but I prefer the preaching of Pastor Stillwater.”  (or a certain television preacher)

Why would you say such a hurtful thing? Do not do it.

8. You should not tell the pastor, “I think you have put on weight.” 

Even if he has, it’s no one’s business but his own.

You respond, “Oh, but he and I are great friends, and friends talk this way to each other.”  Maybe so. But you have just pushed the boundary on friendship, straining the relationship.  You do not want to do that.

9. Do not tell the pastor “what people are saying about you.”

Innuendo–good or bad–is unsettling to anyone.  The pastor is mature enough to know people are talking. They always talk. But you should be mature enough to keep the rumors to yourself.

Someone says, “But he needs someone to be his eyes and ears in the congregation.”  Perhaps he does; perhaps not.  But unless asked, you should never go to him with such a report.

10. Personally, I don’t think you should even tell the pastor, “I’m praying for you.” 

Just do it. If you believe strongly in the power of prayer and are praying regularly, that is sufficient.  He will receive the benefit of your prayers, and that is what you want in the first place. I am of the opinion that some people spend more time telling others they pray for them than doing it.  Do not be such a person.

Pray for your pastor. Love your pastor.  Protect your pastor as much as you can.  Respect your pastor as the shepherd sent by the Lord.

No one is suggesting you worship a preacher.  But I keep remembering something the Lord Jesus said as He sent the disciples on a preaching mission.

“He who hears you, hears Me. He who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me” (Luke 10:16).

When I honor the Lord’s shepherd, I honor the Lord Jesus Christ.  He takes personally my treatment of His servant.

That should put the fear of the Lord into us. And keep it there.


A friend says “A pastor should never tell his congregation, ‘If you do not believe (a certain translation of Scripture), you are not a Christian.'”  I completely agree.

Pastors should be extremely careful on variations of that sentence. “If you are not baptized, you are not a Christian.”  “If you are not a member of our denomination, you are not a Christian.”  “If you are not on the right side of this or that issue, you are not a Christian.”

“God knows those who are His.”  That’s from 2 Timothy 2:19, and what it implies is equally true:  You and I do not.  So, we should quit trying to do God’s work for Him.

Thank you.

Dr. Joe McKeever is a preacher, cartoonist and the retired Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Currently he loves to serve as a speaker/pulpit fill for revivals, prayer conferences, deacon trainings, leadership banquets and other church events. Visit him and enjoy his insights on nearly 50 years of ministry at

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Mark Reavis

commented on Aug 27, 2015

Well said Joe... I've been amazed at some things I've heard people say in church that were out of line..... I'm not saying we should be fake or stiff in church, but we should be respectful and reverent.

Kevin Mcdonald

commented on Aug 27, 2015

I think #3 is something that any new pastor should be aware of, especially when following a respected and well loved pastor. This is a good list to help us prepare an appropriate response now, for the time when we do hear one of these "bon mots".

Ronald Johnson

commented on Aug 27, 2015

Good words. I do need someone in the church who can tell me what people are saying at certain times so I can handle small issues before they become big issues. For example, we had a difficult annual meeting in which we let everyone know that the budget had to improve or we only had a couple of years left. Some people heard, "The church is closing." I needed to know that so I could reassure people that there was no plan to close the church. We simply needed those who could give more to give more. If I did not have someone who would let me know the rumor was going around, it could have become a significant issue before I knew it was even going around. The thing is, I chose the person who talks to be about these issues. When he talks to me, I know it is not an attack. In the Anglican tradition there is a priest's warden and a people's warden. It was the job of the people's warden to express the concerns of the congregation to the priest. I have asked a member of the vestry to operate as the people's warden. It is important that person be someone with whom the pastor is comfortable, and who genuinely loves the pastor. It is also important that person be someone with the wisdom to distinguish between genuine concerns and gossip. If you are not that person, do not take that task upon yourself.

Sam Martin

commented on Aug 30, 2015

Totally agree with you on this one

Carrie Binnie

commented on Jun 1, 2019

I would love to see articles come out that don't make assumptions about the pastor/preacher's gender identity or that of his/her/their partner.

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