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Joe McKeever Christian Blog and Commentary

12 Things a Pastor Should Never Ask a Church Member

  • Joe McKeever
    Joe McKeever says he has written dozens of books, but has published none. That refers to the 1,000+ articles on various subjects (prayer, leadership, church, pastors) that can be found on his website -- joemckeever.com -- and which are reprinted by online publications everywhere. His articles appear in a number of textbooks and other collections. Retired from "official" ministry since the summer of 2009, Joe stays busy drawing a daily cartoon for Baptist Press (www.bpnews.net), as an adjunct professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, writing for Baptist MenOnline for the North American Mission Board, and preaching/drawing/etc for conventions and churches across America. Over a 42 year period, McKeever pastored 6 churches (the last three were the First Baptist Churches of Columbus, MS; Charlotte, NC; and Kenner, LA). Followed by 5 years as Director of Missions for the 135 SBC churches of metro New Orleans, during which hurricane katrina devastated the city and destroyed many churches. Joe is married to Margaret, the father of three adults, and the proud grandfather of eight terrific young people. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College (History, 1962), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters in Church History, 1967, and Doctorate of Ministry in Evangelism, 1973). Joe's father was a coal miner who married a farmer's daughter. Carl and Lois McKeever, both of whom lived past 95 years of age, produced 6 children, with Joe and Ronnie being ministers. Joe grew up near Nauvoo, Alabama, and attended high school at Double Springs. Joe's life verse is Job 4:4, "Your words have stood men on their feet."
  • 2015 Sep 02
  • Comments

I’m thinking of one-on-one conversations in which a pastor might ask this of the church member… Not a good idea. Do not ask the following questions:

1. How did you vote on that issue?

2. Are you a Democrat or Republican?

3. Will you support my political candidate?

4.  Why did you not support me in that project I was pushing?

5.  Have you ever committed adultery (or any number of other things)?

6.  Would you give me money? Would you lend me money?

7. How much money do you make? How much do you give?

8.  If I will preach this sermon you’ve been asking for, will you do (something) for me?

9.  Have you ever seen my wife with another man? (or any of a thousand variations on that)

10. Do you think I’m handsome? If we were not married, would you be interested in me? (or anything equally horrendous)

11.  What do you think are my best assets? My strongest points? (The variations are endless:  What do you like best about me? or even “How do you feel about me?”)

12. What did (someone) say about me?  (Believe me, pastor, you do not ever want to know what others are saying about you!! So, please do not ask.)

Is this a foolish exercise, suggesting that pastors not do something so blatantly offensive?  To those who think it is, I wish you could read my mail.

The most recent letter–it arrived this morning–told of a minister saying to a new member, “You are so beautiful I wish I were not married!”

Here is a prayer that works perfectly for those of us prone to going verbally where no one in his right-thinking mind should venture…

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).  And this: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

If you are as prone to mis-speaking as I am, you will want to join me in praying this daily.   God help us all to let our speech be pure and our hearts likewise, and to work only to bless those in our charge, and never ever to use or manipulate them.

Publicationd date: September 2, 2015

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