I might get in a little trouble for this blog, but as a pastor I must lead with levity. If I did not poke a little fun (and receive it), then I would go into an intense-seriousness-coma. My wife hates my extended gravitas. So at the risk of being flippant, allow me to label some different types of church members. Understandably, every church is unique, as is every member, but there are some commonalities I’ve noticed.
Remember, pastors, you must lead and shepherd all types—that’s what God called you to do when He sent you to a particular fellowship in a specific location. You have to work with the people that are there. In short, you must love your church where it is now, not where you hope it will be. With that being said, let’s look at some church member stereotypes.
The friend. Every pastor should be blessed with at least one person that doesn’t care about the fact he’s the shepherd. These friends help pastors stay sane. They just enjoy the pastor for who he is, warts and all. I have several people at FBC Murray that would still be my friends even if I was not the pastor. I love hanging out with them.
The supporter. This person is a vocal supporter of leadership. When the rumor mill gets turning, they stand up and call people out. When dissension begins, they work hard to bring back unity. They love their pastors and champion the vision of the church.
The dude. For whatever reason, every church seems to have at least one guy with great hair. Dudes take on many forms. In rural settings, they can have killer mullets. In urban settings, they can have crazy, hip, flock-of-seagulls hair. The one consistency is they have hair—lots of it. And they always seem to play Jesus in the Easter production.
The Mulder. Remember X-Files? Remember how Mulder always had some crazy conspiracy theory about aliens? Seems like there’s always at least one hyper-spiritual person in the church that thinks demons are behind everything that goes wrong. Don’t get me wrong; I believe in spiritual warfare and do not take it lightly. But I don’t think a demon named “Techno” is causing the microphones to go dead.
The caregiver. These people truly enjoy being selfless. When you thank them for their “sacrifices,” they look at you funny. What most view as bothersome chores, they happily accept. For instance, I have a few adopted grandmothers and grandfathers at FBC Murray. They help take care of Maggie when Erin and I need to get away. And they truly love changing those diapers.
The opportunist. He uses the church for a business network. She uses it to gain political access to a constituency. They avoid church leaders unless their networks or constituencies are threatened. Then they get nasty.
The Pharisee. I like to call them the silly police. They enforce neckties in the traditional church. They enforce coolness in the contemporary church. In every case, it’s about “the look” of a person and not the progress of discipleship.
The mentor. This member is a rare breed. I have one at FBC Murray. I hang on to his every word. If my Dad’s father were still alive, they would be the same age. He is light years beyond me in spiritual maturity. And he will never know how much of an influence on me he has. I am forever changed because of his guidance, and I am a better pastor because of his influence.
The warrior. This person prays unceasingly. If we had more of them in our churches, then revival would break out across our nation.
The Axl Rose. They can belt it. They have incredible stage ability and top-notch musical talent. But they are temperamental. You never know when they’re going to slam a microphone down, start a riot in the choir room, storm out, and go into seclusion for a year.
The anxious Annie. This person feels the need to tell everyone to pray for their third cousin’s best friend’s neighbor’s son’s cat that recently coughed up a tough hairball and had to go to the vet. Poor thing. Now let’s pray for Scuffles.
The chinwag starter. Most everyone is guilty of some form of gossip, but this person is the hub for all the rumor spokes.
The follower. If we are honest, this category accounts for the majority of our churches. Most people are happy with your leadership, on board with the vision and direction of the church, and willing to help you with ministry.
I could name a few more, but who do you all want to add to the list?