7 Of My Favorite Compliments I Receive as a Pastor

Everyone loves compliments – me included. I received a compliment recently from someone who met me for the first time and it was so encouraging.

I met some visitors in the hall at church one Sunday. It was their first time and they didn’t know where the preschool area was, so I walked them there. (I actually took them in the preschool wing through the wrong doors, as I found out later, but I got them there. What do I know, right?) They didn’t realize until I got up to preach I was the pastor. The lady sent me an email the next week and apologized for inconveniencing me. I had actually told them that morning it was not a problem – I actually enjoyed helping them. Then she wrote, “I felt like you were just a nice person. I didn’t know you were a pastor!” She meant it – and I took it – as a compliment.

It reminded me of some of my favorite compliments I have received as a pastor.

Pastors, do any of these make you smile when you receive them?

Here are my 7 favorite compliments to receive as a pastor:

“You hang out just like a regular guy.” or “You seem pretty normal for a pastor.”

Well, thank you. It may be because I pretty much am a regular guy. I am full of mistakes, fears, frustrations and heartache. I’m called to be holy – “set apart” – but, so are you. This doesn’t mean, however, I don’t know how to have fun, can’t laugh, or talk about things you talk about – such as sports, families, current events, or life struggeles – which I have too.

By the way, as a normal, regular guy, I’m also capable of disappointing you. I hope I never do, but I am. It comes with being normal.

“I can understand you when you preach.”

Well, good I’ve succeeded. Of course, you could be saying I’m simple-minded, but I’d own that statement too. “Jesus loves me” still blows my mind. But, one of the things I strive to do is take a more complex truth and make it simple and easier to apply to someone’s life. When I hear a 6th grader takes notes in my messages and then I hear a person in their 80’s say I challenged them  – I know God is using me most effectively. 

“I liked your speech today.”

This is always said by a visitor who has seldom – if ever – been in church. I hear it frequently from internationals, but also from people who simply don’t know church language. I love it. It shows we are reaching people far from God.

“You were speaking just to me today.”

It may appear this way and I’m glad you took it personal. Sometimes I’m staring into the crowd – and, because my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be – I can’t see anyone well. It always amazes me though how God can take one truth and apply it to a dozen different people in their individual circumstances. So, if the shoe fits with today’s message, please wear it. Probably, however, it is God’s Spirit trying to speak to you. My question – will you obey what God’s Spirit says to do?

“Thank you for being transparent about your mistakes.”

Seriously, I try. Honestly, I don’t have a choice. When you’ve found yourself on the bottom so many times you certainly aren’t comfortable trying to be someone you’re not. To me, the real test of integrity, is living Monday through Saturday the life I claim behind the podium on Sunday. So, to do that means you’re going to hear evidence of how I’m not perfect when I preach. 

“Thanks for what your church does to help the community.”

Wow! Thanks! I hear this frequently when I attend community functions. This is certainly our goal. Thank you for recognizing one of our values is actually being accomplished. We love our community and we are here to serve! 

(Side note – Jeremiah 29:7 is a verse which challenged me years ago for how we do ministry. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”)

“Where’s Cheryl?”

People are always looking for my wife on Sunday – mostly to give her a hug or a prayer request. I love knowing our church loves my wife as much – okay, being honest – more than me. I know so many pastors who wish their wives were more active in their ministry. I’m blessed. Also, if you do get mad at me, since I’m just a regular and normal guy, at least you’ll keep coming because you love my wife. She never makes anyone mad. (Not even me.)

What’s a favorite compliment you receive, pastor?

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24 thoughts on “7 Of My Favorite Compliments I Receive as a Pastor

  1. I had one afew weeks ago when a lady at church left me a message that said, "I loved your sermon yesterday. It probably made some people upset but who cares! I come to church needing to get my toes step on."

  2. That's a huge compliment. Losing potential at revenue to pay respects. You don't see that often anymore.I lost my dad in the last couple years. I'll pray for you.
    Twitter: Ronedmondson

  3. Sometimes the biggest and best compliments aren't spoken…

    My father died a few weeks ago, and some wonderful things were said about him by the people who knew him. But the biggest compliment of all – to his memory and to my mum – was that the local wine growers stopped the harvest to make sure they could get to his funeral. They put celebrating his life above their own livelihoods.

  4. Since I'm a gramma, and love being a gramma, I guess my favorite compliment(s) would be anything from the grandkids. Especially the "Wow, gramma, your spaghetti is always soooooooooo good!" When they have their weekend stayover with us each month, it's tradition (which began 10 years ago when the oldest was able to move up from baby food to regular) that I make a spaghetti meal their first night with us. My daughter-in-law calls me the "messy gramma"… we do LOTS of crafts and "messy fun" when the grandkids are over… I consider that a compliment.

    I also like hearing that I'm a "cool" gramma. LOL!

    Enjoyed your post! Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    • I look forward to being a grandparent someday. I have fond memories of my grandmother's cooking!
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  5. The one compliment that impacts me the most is "You're a good father," or "You've got a great family." As a leader and teacher, I sometimes worry too much about the mechanics of leadership… it's good to know that I am doing well in the foundational area of leadership…

    • That's a great one. Honestly I should have included it, because it is one dear to my heart. I used to hear it more, but now my kids are gone…not living in the same city…so they don't get to see how awesome my boys are.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  6. Thank you for being real… now that is a compliment I love. Or "I thought I was the only one…" which is sort of a spin off of 'being real.'

    Of course, I'm not a pastor. I'm just a mom, and I'm always a little surprised that anyone would think I'd be anything BUT real. Still. My reasoning is similar to yours.

    Mostly, I don't have a choice. I mean really, I already have too much to do. Pretending to be someone I'm not takes up far too much emotional energy. Thank you for this today.

    • Thanks, but seriously, I've never met “just a mom”. Mom's are awesome! They rule the world!
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  7. I was trying to think about what my favorite compliments are, but I just can't pinpoint one…. I hear things like "Hey, where ya been?" when I've not visited a particular location for awhile. I take that as a compliment… or "I don't know how you can be so nice to them after everything they've done to you!" I really think this might be my favorite… I'd rather be nice to the mean guy than hang out with the "good" guy. It gets some interesting reactions all the way around!

  8. That's cool. Of course, some from the mission wouldn't agree that is a compliment. We like conformity, but I value the fact that you are your own person, not bound by the traditions of others. At least that's the way I'd take this compliment.
    Twitter: Ronedmondson

  9. The best compliment I ever got came from a very highly trained, dedicated and effective African Christian. "I am glad you were at the meeting. You don't talk like other members of [name of mission withheld]."

  10. I love hearing these same ones ron. One of my favorites is #1. We have a man who is the Gen. Mgr of a Harley-Davidson in Bloomington. I went to visit him shortly after moving here and he introduced me as "this is my friend, Bill." At first, it was strange since I had always been introduced as "this is my pastor, Bill." But I love Jim's approach. It totally disarms people since they don't have to put on airs. I also like #2 & #3 & #4. well, you get the point. I like that people can understand me. I like that people recognize me as a cyclist, although with glasses and helmet (and spandex) it is sort of difficult. 🙂 Two that are comical are "What do you do during the week? Do you have another job?" and "Are you really 58? (at least for another week) 🙂

    • I get the different one a lot, probably because I spent too many years in business. I never hear the 29 comment.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson