Today, I share with you experiences and concerns I've learned over the years from what members have expressed to me during my visits.
It is my hope that these would not be seen as criticisms but as observations by concerned members whose insights are given to remind us to improve, where necessary, in our attempt to be diligent and committed to the call of pastoral ministry. Though the application is primarily for pastors, elders may find the observations informative, applicable and beneficial.

1. I want my pastor to visit.
Members want to see the pastor outside of the church context, and yet visitation helps a pastor become better acquainted with parishioners. Thereby, he is better able to address their needs, both spiritual and otherwise, through the word, ministry and prayer. Be reminded that it is most important that while the pastor visits, it should not be done alone but with a partner such as an elder or a spouse.

2. I want to be able to reach my pastor if needed.

We live in a world where there are many communication tools such as cell phones, smartphones, emails, social networks and of course land phones. We also live in very tough economic times with a high level of criminal activities. Parishioners have so much more challenges. It is during these times, the need to reach the pastor or an elder is vital. Generally speaking, church members love and boast of their pastors. Being unable to reach the pastor may frustrate the member and lead him/her to question the pastor’s commitment. It is a good idea to list times when you can be reached. Remember, however, that emergencies and needs do not necessarily happen according to a set schedule. It is believed that one suicide committed in the Bahamas in the past few years occurred after the person was waiting for the pastor to come on the telephone line! Messages left on voice mail and answering machines should be answered promptly. Most effective people I know are known by the fact that they get back to you promptly and answer every message left.

3. I want the pastor to lift up Jesus [preach]
If you have pastored multiple districts, you know that members desire to hear the pastor expound the word. Many members don’t read the word as they should, so the sermon on Sabbath may be the biggest spiritual meal they have had all week. Don’t forget to preach the heavenly message of the soon coming king, Jesus, but also preach the earthly message of how to get through each week with God in your hearts as you deal with your fellow man. This takes preparation as well as immersing oneself in the Holy Spirit.

4. I want my pastor not to preach too long
Many types of members make up the congregation. Some are young, others have been there from the earliest service. Still others have health situations such as diabetes that make long preaching a discomfort. However, there are some occasions when time will matter little; however, ensure that you are directed by the Holy Spirit.

5. I would wish for my pastor to be spiritual
It was said a few times in the Bible that “ they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Members expect the pastors to have regular encounters with Jesus. Even though their problems may be physical, they expect pastors to be persons of the Word and prayer. Members are disappointed when they detect dishonesty and an apparent over-absorption of materialism.