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In every position of leadership I have ever held, there were people who felt the need to “inform” the leader.

When I served in an elected office, people told me things I wouldn’t have otherwise known without the position. Sometimes I needed to know…sometimes I didn’t.

When I was a business owner, there was always at least one employee who made sure I knew the inside scoop of the company talk. Sometimes I needed to know…sometimes I didn’t.

As a pastor, I’ve learned there are plenty of people willing to tell me things I would never hear if I wasn’t the pastor. Sometimes I need to know…sometimes I don’t.

I usually never know if it’s something I should know or not until they tell me. If someone has a legitimate problem with a ministry area, I want to know about it, for example. There are some things, however, that I never feel the need to know.

Here are a few examples:

  • Gossip about another person…
  • Prayer requests given with a motive of gossip…
  • Rumors spread without substantiation…
  • Extremely intimate details about a person’s private life…
  • Problems happening in another church…
  • Secrets one doesn’t have permission to tell…
  • Details your spouse isn’t ready for me to hear…

You might be surprised to hear what people try to tell me…because I’m a pastor. Now there are extreme times when abuse or neglect is suspected or occurring to an individual and I may need to hear, but most of the time those are not the intent with the list above. Chances are that if it’s wrong to share with others, it’s wrong to share it with me.

Please understand, I’m not suggesting I don’t care about the struggles of people’s lives, but there is never an excuse to spread gossip or rumors that cause more harm than good to a person or situation. Even though I’m the pastor, there are some things I simply have no need to know.

Pastors, what’s the strangest thing you’ve been told…that you really didn’t need to know?

What else would you add to my list?

Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years of business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been in full-time ministry for over eight years.  

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Jim Ressegieu

commented on Aug 18, 2011

I've found in my short tenure as a pastor that pastors themselves like to tell stories/spread rumors about other churches and other pastors especially if they are about troubles in the congregation or with the pastor.

Chaplain Shawn Kennedy

commented on Aug 18, 2011

I agree with Jim. I don't know how many meetings (elder, pastoral and otherwise) where I've sat around a table and heard, "Well, I really shouldn't say this, but..." As ministers we need to put a cork in it!

Tommy Burrus

commented on Aug 18, 2011

I would add when they share with the pastor what other people are saying about the pastor.

David Hodgin

commented on Aug 18, 2011

What would I add? Just because I'm a good listener and easy to speak to doesn't mean I want to hear ranting, swearing or be in anyway involved in name calling. Whether it's aimed at me or someone else. I may not be a prude, but that's simple civility.

Olayinka Olasode

commented on Aug 18, 2011

The pastor does not need to know personal intimate details of the opposite gender. The information may be deliberate and seductive. The pastor does not need to know about some personal covenant offerings to God.

Jay Hubbard

commented on Aug 19, 2011

I disagree. You're right that such things should not bother people, but should be able to tell them what to do about it.

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