This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Subtle Errors

cutribbonAnother subtle error is when the preacher is disconnected from the people. Here the preacher stands up separated from the people barking orders at those who must obey or else. These pastors end up being autocratic leaders who who are forever saying “go ye” but never saying “follow me.” Their sermons can degenerate into whipping sessions or strategic planning sessions for where the pastor wants to take the people.

The problem is that the people know when you seemingly are using them as a stepping stone to the larger church. They know when you simply don’t love them. They know it, and it becomes more of a problem for both the pastor and the congregation as the separation grows.

But then there are those who are with the people. They lead not from the detached lofty heights of irrelevancy, but from the trenches. They know what the people need to hear not because they have sequestered themselves from them all week long, but because of their being with them in their sufferings. They know about Brother S who lost his job and Sister B who needs to hear about courage. They know about their associate minister’s struggles to be true to her call and her 9-5 job. They know the people. And the people love them. Other preachers may whoop better than them, other preachers may “wreck the house,” but they wouldn’t trade their pastor for anything.

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2 thoughts on “Separation from the People

  1. Vernetia Miller says:

    I often find this separation from the people in guest preachers who come in and then make accusations at the congregation. It makes me cringe for someone who knows nothing about me to do that. When invited to preach outside your home congregation the preacher should (1) find out something about the people to be addressed and (2) don’t say “you” this and “you” that. If there is going to be a separation of the preacher from the people being preached to consider separating yourself from the offering that may be extended to you afterwards. After all, why would you want money from people who are so horrible?

    Okay, I’ll get off of that soap box

  2. Sherman Haywood Cox II says:


    We preachers sometimes make assumptions and preach those assumptions as if they are certain truth. I often find pastors engaging in this kind of preaching when the congregation does not go along with their pet projects or plans. When the preacher attempts to “set the people right” without knowing for sure it is God’s call for them to do that we end up with a alienation of the people from the preacher…

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