Thom Rainer interviewed 23 pastors with a simple and open-ended question, “What do you desire in church member?” The pastors could respond with an unlimited number of desires, but most pastors mentioned fewer than four.
Here are their responses in order of frequency with a follow up with a representative quote.
- Vibrant prayer life. “While I do want church members to pray for me specifically, I really want them to pray faithfully in all matters.”
- Spirit of unity. “I want our church members to be uncompromising on cardinal issues, but I also want them to be willing to yield to others on minor issues and issues of preference.”
- Respect of pastor’s family. “It’s okay if my family is not given preferential treatment by the church. We really want it that way. But I don’t want church members to have unreasonable expectations on my wife and kids just because their husband and dad is the pastor.”
- Members who are critical to my face. “Like most people, I don’t like criticism. But I know it goes with the territory. I would just ask that any critics speak to me directly instead of speaking about me behind my back.”
- Encouragers. “I don’t have to be applauded for everything I do, but I sure do appreciate those members who are the encouragers in my life. I don’t know what I would do without them.”
- Faithful attendees. “I’m really not numbers obsessed, but when people faithfully attend worship services and small groups, I know the church is important to their lives.”
- Members who share their faith. “I’ve been in ministry 34 years. The most faithful church members who make a difference in my life and the church are those who are consistent in sharing their faith.”
(read the last three at Thom Rainer's website)