5 things a pastor should not do

August 18, 2022

Being a pastor is hard. They do a lot—placing others above themselves, helping people out of messy situations, and sharing the hope and joy of Jesus with the world. Because of this, many pastors feel like they’re always being asked to do more, not less.

However, there are certain things a pastor should not do because they are harmful to themselves or others. Many of these are obvious or common sense, but others are less apparent. 

Let’s take a look at five activities that pastors should avoid in order to thrive and make a greater impact in their communities. 

5 things that pastors should avoid

1. Skipping vacations

42% of pastors considered leaving ministry last year. While there are many reasons for this, one of the primary signs of an unhealthy pastor is stress. Church leaders suffer when they don’t take time off to unplug from work, relax, pursue healthy interests, and bond with their families.

Studies show that regularly taking a vacation is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, increase productivity, and decrease pastor burnout. If your church is committed to caring for your minister’s mental health and overall wellbeing, encourage them to take a vacation.

2. Entrusting church finances to just one person

Church fraud has exploded in recent years and is expected to reach $80 billion by 2025. One of the most common causes of fraud or church embezzlement is a lack of oversight, especially when pastors entrust one person with everything tied to a church’s finances. 

Matthew Hirschy from Brotherhood Mutual shares this advice to help pastors keep their church’s finances safe: “Make more than one person responsible for everything. The person opening the mail shouldn’t be the same person who makes the bank deposit. The individual making payments from an account should be checked by another person who balances the account. Always look for ways to reduce the temptation for those who handle the church’s money.”

Establishing a team of people working together, such as treasurers and accountants, along with regular reporting of a church’s finances to a board, creates a safe system of checks and balances. This allows pastors to focus on other important matters beyond money management. 

3. Ignoring your church’s online presence

Many pastors were forced to move their churches online and start live streaming their worship services during the pandemic. However, the fact is that a person who goes to seminary wants to become a pastor, not a computer expert. Balancing in-person worship and discipleship with online tools, like websites and live streaming, can be frustrating. 

This leads some church leaders to focus on their physical gatherings and ignore their online community. While this may be a tempting strategy, the reality is that most people will look up your church online before ever visiting your building

Rather than pull back from online engagement, pastors need digital tools that enhance their in-person worship services, classes, and discipleship programs. Investing in these kinds of online resources will help people build deeper connections with their church and propel them forward in their spiritual formation. 

4. Relying too heavily on social media 

Many pastors are attracted to social media because it’s free, offers useful tools, and promises a chance to reach a wider audience. However, social media today is full of problems that can distract and discourage pastors. Offensive comments, cyberbullying, censorship, and political divisions are just a few social media issues that contribute to stress that pastors experience. 

There are many valuable skill sets that pastors should develop that bring better results than learning how to use social media. 

5. Using peer-to-peer money transfer services

A recent trend  for some pastors, especially church planters, is to use peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps like Venmo, Zelle and Cash App to accept charitable donations. After all, they’re easy to set up and are often little to no fees if you don’t withdraw money very often. 

However, using P2P payment services for churches puts both a pastor and their ministry at risk. For example,

Pastors are better off using safe and secure church giving platforms that integrate with church management software (ChMS) platforms and allow them to send end-of-year tax exempt contribution statements. 

What pastors should do

If you’re a pastor, you have a lot of responsibility and tasks to juggle. It’s important that you protect your own mental health, care for your wellbeing, and find ways to reduce the overall stress of your job. The right tools can save you time, help you do more with less, and allow you to focus on what’s important—sharing the gospel and making disciples. 

Subsplash supports tens of thousands of pastors and church leaders by offering simple-to-use digital tools like church websites, mobile apps, online giving, church management software, and much more—all on one unified platform. Fill out the form below to meet with one of our experts and discover how you can use technology to reach more people and make better disciples.


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