Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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People Say the Nicest Things

  • Jim Townsley
  • Jan 11, 2016
Do people really say the nicest things? Yes, and preachers are privileged to be the recipient of more kindnesses than probably any other profession. But, nothing should ever be expected and every kind action should always be greatly appreciated. 
Someone reading this article might think just the opposite, that people say the meanest things. I'm sure every preacher who has been in the ministry for a long time can share some horror stories of unkind actions of members or former members. I have had my share of these moments as well. It is disheartening when a member comes to you immediately before the service and states, "I am leaving the church, but I don't want to hinder your preaching this morning so we can talk about it later." How is a preacher able to concentrate on the morning sermon after such a statement? People can say unkind things which attack the preacher's integrity, his family, his leadership, his sermons, and just about anything imaginable. 
Is it a surprise that unsaved and backslidden people do not know how to live under the control of the Holy Spirit? Every preacher is responsible to teach the members of the church the way to live. Every attack becomes a personal attack but we must recognize that any verbal attack is really directed toward the One whom you serve, the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many reasons that people behave badly but often people are hurting and they are simply frustrated so they lash out at those whom they feel are closest to them. We must resist the urge to fight back.
You will never help anyone unless you show them how Christ would respond to their actions. Remember the words of our Savior, " Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." - - Luke 23:34.  Others are always watching and when they observe your spiritual response to fleshly attacks they are challenged to live the same way. Every leader must be an example to the church family. 
Though there are those ugly moments in the ministry where people are unkind, there are many more circumstances where people are very gracious. Never allow the fleshly actions of a few people cause you to overlook the kindness of many members and friends. Great effort should be made to publicly state your appreciation for the church's kindness when the opportunity arises. 
It is important for every preacher to share the kindnesses of the members with his wife and children. Far too often preacher's children, who only hear of the bad things people say, can develop a bad attitude toward the ministry. Children should hear about the many blessings in the ministry, not just bad things. 
When a preacher makes a habit of acknowledging the special things people do, people are more inclined to do more kind things. In reality the attitude of the majority of church members will become a reflection of the pastor and his family. If your members are not kind to you it might behoove you look at your own actions and ask yourself if you have been training your people properly? The Bible says Christians are to give honor where honor is due. "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." - - Romans 13:7    "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." - - 1 Timothy 5:17.
My wife and I will never forget our first Thanksgiving five months after we started Central Baptist Church. A few members gathered some food items and brought us a picnic basket of goodies. Though meager, this surprising expression of kindness will never be forgotten. After forty years in the ministry I can look back with amazement at all the hundreds of kind words and deeds expressed by so many people. 
It would be impossible to list every act of kindness, but I can generally categorize these good deeds which are a reminder of the goodness of God and the blessing of faithful members. On one occasion the church family provided my wife and I the opportunity to go to Israel and later provided the funds to visit our daughter and her family in Japan. There have been numerous cards, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, money, and numerous other special things. On my fiftieth birthday the deacons brought to the platform a reclining chair to the delight of the whole church family. On another occasion the church, knowing my love for the farm, gave me a cow. (A real cow.) 
Emails, letters, voice messages, children's love letters including pictures they drew during my preaching all have been a means for the church to show their love and appreciation for their pastor. I can't forget to mention that often children bring me my favorite candy bar which is a Milky Way. In fact one year a wonderful lady gave me a whole case of them. I don't know of any preacher that needs a whole case of candy bars, but her expression of love and consideration was greatly appreciated. 
I refuse to allow a few ill spoken words by backslidden members to rob me of the joys found in the kindness of so many good people because people really do say and do the kindest things.