Every church has one. Or two or twelve… Nobody ever wants to call her out because you don’t want to offend anybody, and plus, she’s just so sweet. She doesn’t mean any harm. She just lovvvves her pastor, and there’s nothing wrong with that, right?

Well, being a pastoral bug-a-boo is more than just annoying, it can be detrimental to his productivity, effectiveness, mental health, spiritual health and physical health, and even to his marriage. As I often tell clients and pastor-friends: a pastor has a 5-point job description: to pray, preach, teach, visit and counsel.  Good pastors have a lot on their plates. They are responsible for covering you and your family in prayer, and they spend hours and hours each week in prayerful and studious preparation for Bible Study and their weekly sermons. Plus, they have to strategize and plan, visit the sick and incarcerated, and counsel those in need, including the energy-sapping knuckleheads. The last thing they need is someone bugging them unnecessarily.

In the bug-a-boo’s defense, I will say that they probably don’t realize they’re being bug-a-boos. I mean, nobody sets out wanting to be a bug-a-boo. Most people, if accused, won’t even admit to it. So, allow me to help you out. If you fall into any of these 5 categories, there’s a strong chance you’re the bug-a-boo who never knew.

1. The One Who Never Calls the Church Secretary or the First Lady
Well since the name of this blog is Order in the Church, I can’t ignore the #1 issue among bug-a-boos of the world: going to the pastor for everything. That’s out of order. If you need anything outside of the 5-point pastoral job description – like building access, information about a trip, details about the choir robes, expense approvals, or have a question about the clergy attire for the upcoming communion service – chances are, there’s someone else who can answer your question. The pastor should not be paying bills, changing light bulbs, providing details for an upcoming conference or calling Deacon Mack to ask him to let you into the Carrie Jenkins Memorial Annex for your Brotherhood Meeting. Learn to contact the right people to handle whatever it is you need. It relieves some of the pressure off your pastor and it’s one less thing he’ll have to do today. If you won’t contact the appropriate person because of some sort of personal conflict, you have some growing up to do. If you won’t contact the appropriate person because you just feel more comfortable going to the pastor… you’re rebellious.

And I gotta tell you, not only do you bug the pastor, but you might be getting on the first lady’s nerves too. And I’m 100% confident that you’re also bugging the administrator and disrupting the flow of order in the church. Contrary to popular opinion, protocol is of God.

2. The One Who Thinks the Pastor is Her Best Friend
I can’t speak for your pastor, but I just don’t think the average pastor is really interested in hearing the details of your day, whether or not the guy from the check-out line called you back, how your boss called you in the office today, Macy’s is having a sale or your ex-husband is being a jerk… again.  He may smile and nod, but that’s just a courtesy. He’s not your friend. He’s also not your husband, cheerleader, prayer partner, doctor, loan officer or lawyer. Stop calling him with all your day-to-day issues. Consider this: you’re just one person. You have no idea who (or how many) called him before you did, nor do you know how many times his phone will ring after you hang up. Don’t add to it. Get a friend.

3. The One Who Goes to the Pastor Every Time Someone Offends Him
Similac or Steak? I hate to break it to you, but if you can’t pull a simple Matthew 18 (v15-17) when somebody ticks you off, you really have some growing to do. Not only are you a bug-a-boo, but you’re also out of order.

4. The One Who Cooks Weird Stuff for the Pastor
It’s not that pastors don’t appreciate their members bringing them their favorite dishes, but I have to tell you: if your pastor has never specifically told you how much he enjoyed your Okra Spam Jalepeno Ritz Cracker Casserole AND asked you to make one for him, chances are he could do without it. It’s possible he doesn’t even like it. If he makes comments like, “ohh, that cracker thing. Thank you so much. I hope I can fit it in the freezer. I still have leftovers from the last one you made” chances are, it’s going to waste and he doesn’t know how to tell you. Don’t put him in the uncomfortable position of having to pretend he loves it or tell you he doesn’t. Believe it or not, that can cause an undue burden. If you want to bless him, give him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant. (And be sure to “bless” his helpmeet, too. Chances are, he wouldn’t be half as wonderful as he is if it weren’t for her). <— I threw that in for free

5. The One Who Bought and Framed His Own Entitlement Certificate
Look, your pastor needs his space. If you don’t think he does, you must not have ever needed a rhema word. If his office door is closed, even if you have known him since kindergarten, respect the boundaries. His towels have his initials on them for a reason. I know you used to babysit him when he was a kid, but now, he’s a pastor – YOUR pastor. I get that he’s your first cousin on your father’s side, or he married your sister, but he’s your pastor now. You don’t get to park in his designated space or drink his special tea or tell the receptionist “well, interrupt him, please. It’s ME!” after she told you he’s unavailable. You don’t get to invite yourself everywhere he’s invited. You don’t get to hang around when he’s about to begin a private meeting. You don’t get to ignore policies or skip the chain of command when you don’t like something. Respect the boundaries, respect his space, respect his office hours, respect protocol… respect ORDER.

Okay, so I know YOU’RE not a bug-a-boo, right? RIGHT???? If not, I bet you knew one once upon a time…