How to Connect with People (as a Pastor) by Pastor Doug Klan
Sept 3rd, 2017
As a pastor, how do you connect with people in your church? Over the years I have met pastors who are arrogant, shy, confident and outgoing; they are extroverts and introverts, just like everyone else. Pastors are no different than any other people on earth.
I found from experience how the first thing you need is to make an effort at connecting with your Heavenly Father before you connect with others. As pastors, we preach how others should act, speak, and treat others but pastors are the examples of how the Father talks and treats others.
When communicating with others, I see myself as Paul: getting to their level and helping them up a step. How do I do this? I learned from spending time with my Dad in Heaven. He taught me how to see and talk with everyone, no matter their walk of life.
Do you find it interesting how those who are teaching and coaching others to change often have closed minds themselves? I find there are a lot of pastors who no longer feel the need to expand or grow. It amazes me how North American pastors are not willing to be teachable.
Now, I have some questions for you: What has God told you lately? Are you doing it? When you answer these, you can see whether or not you're connecting with God.
If you want to connect with your people, learn to ask questions that make people talk about themselves, their family, work, hobbies, etc.
You need to ask God for a good memory, so the next time you speak with someone, you remember their name and follow-up on how they're doing in the situation they told you about in the last conversation you had with them. See; this shows them someone cares about them.
We are creatures of habit. I see pastors who never talk to their people after they finish preaching. A shepherd needs to smell like their sheep. They need to be the example to their sheep.
Pastors need to make time to meet with their sheep. Some sheep are healthy on their own, and others just take up your time. You need to learn time management:
1. Connect with God.
2. Connect with your spouse, children, and family.
3. Connect with your people.
When you do the above in order, you have less stress. You can’t connect with others if you haven’t connected with God, your wife, and your children first.
After you've done the steps I laid out, you need to ask yourself if you connect with certain people but not others.
How do you connect with all individuals? I have a friend who is gay. Yep, gay. He said I was the first pastor he could talk with who never judged him. Are you judging people before or after you speak with them? WHY?
I know pastors who can talk the talk but not walk the walk, saying they love everyone until they meet a gay person or a lesbian. See, the guy who was gay started coming to our church. He got saved, but his lifestyle hasn’t changed yet. People tell me he's not a Christian because true Christian would have changed their life. I respond by saying, “Oh! What about the last fight you had with your spouse counselled you about? Haven't you been saved for 25 years?!” Pastors, you need to love all people and trust the Holy Spirit to work in them and change their hearts and lifestyle. Just like how He's working on you.
The gay man asked me if I would marry him when he finds a partner. I said no because of what the Word says. I gave him scriptures and told him to research for himself. He did, and he said he was sorry he asked me to do it. He could see why I said no. See; this how you connect with and love the person while staying with the Word and telling the truth in love.
I see a lot of hurting people today, so I listen to them and have compassion, but I don’t stay there with them. Jesus had compassion, it even says He wept, but He didn’t stay there. He cried when his friend Lazarus died but then He raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus always lifts people to a higher level. Don’t give them ‘a pat on the back' answer, or a religious answer.
Be real with people. People often tell others about me, “You need to meet our pastor. He's a real person who helps people, rides a motorbike, and gives simple, relatable messages each day”.
I believe in staying in touch, especially in this day and age. There are so many ways to stay connected. Pick one or more; communicate through Twitter, Facebook, text message, email and any other venue possible. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS communicate as often as you can; especially if you are a pastor or leader.
The greater One lives inside you. What do you see on the inside of others when you meet them? Do you leave them a better person than when they first talked to you?
Michael Angelo once told a store owner he wanted a particular stone. The owner asked him why he wanted this one when others didn't.
Micheal Angelo said, "I can see an angel inside this stone." What do you see in others? Can you help them understand themselves better?
Think about what this person can be when you come into contact with them. When I meet people, I think how I can help them and make a difference in their life. This isn't about you preaching a great message. It's about communicating with your people and with all individuals. See; this is what success looks like, and God wants you to be successful.
Your Action Steps
1 Remember, there is a difference between being confident and being conceited. Be clear about this! Confidence is self-assurance; conceit is self-absorption.
2 Ask yourself how you feel around people who behave in a vain, arrogant manner. Do you want to spend more or less time with them? Why?
3 Take some time to think of any areas in your life where you think you know it all or look down on others. What would others say about you?
4 Think about and write down what conceit and arrogance are costing you and the others you care about, especially in the areas of relationships, knowledge, wisdom, opportunities, and personal peace.
5 Choose at least one behaviour or attitude you can adjust so you can be more open and humble.
6 Be honest with yourself. Do you think you are always right and better than others? (Hint: If your answer is Yes, it’s time to change!)
7 Be mindful of those with whom you share company. Do you hang out with any conceited or arrogant individuals? How does this affect you? Is there a way you can limit or avoid time with them?
8 Refuse to engage and participate if conceit is present in a personal relationship. Do not let yourself fall into this abyss. See vanity for what it is ― insecurity and self-absorption on the part of the other party. It is his/her issue, not yours.
9 Lighten up. Despite the importance of this topic, don’t take yourself too seriously; you will be amazed at the number of doors that will open up for you.