What’s Wrong with Being Nice?

Most pastors I’ve met are nice. My pastor is one of the nicest people I know. It seems to be a part of the job requirement. Sure, there are a few pastors who are jerks, but overall when I think about pastors, I think they’re mostly nice. Which is a good thing…and a bad thing at times. Let me explain…

It’s great for pastors to be caring, kind, helpful, put others first, etc. Those are great traits to have.

Until…it starts to hurt the mission and vision of the church.

You’re probably asking how, so let me give you a few examples.

  1. Nice people tend to avoid conflict. It’s not fun having a conversation with a volunteer who never shows up on time. Trust me. I’ve had a few of these, and people didn’t think I was very nice. I tried my best to explain the importance and be as nice as possible, but feelings still got hurt.
  2. Nice people tend to hire the wrong people. Many times instead of hiring the most qualified, pastors will hire the person they like the most. It doesn’t even have to be a paid position. This happens all the time with volunteers. You have someone in your church that would be a much better worship leader than your current one, but you and your current worship leader have been friends for ten years. That makes it difficult.
  3. Nice people tend to never fire anyone. It doesn’t matter if they’re paid or a volunteer. It’s hard to remove someone from his or her position, especially nice people. So, we’ll leave someone in a position that doesn’t have the capacity to do the work, letting the ministry suffer.
  4. Nice people tend to avoid the facts. This means the church can be losing people, but they’ll find a way to justify it. I’ll give you an example. They’ll say things like, “People aren’t coming to our church because they know we preach the truth.” When the truth is, no one comes to their church because they’re still doing church like it’s 1988.
  5. Nice people tend to sacrifice the flock for the sake of one sheep. This happens every time someone gets up on stage to sing that you and I both know have no business singing. “God laid this on my heart” is not a good enough reason to hand someone a microphone.

Now, don’t get me wrong, as pastors we should be nice. In all honesty I’ve probably became quite a bit nicer as a pastor over the years. In the beginning it was hard for me to be nice because there was so many issues that needed to be addressed.

So, be nice, but don’t sacrifice what God wants to do through you and your church because you’re worried about hurting feelings. Jesus did it all the time.

Is being too nice something you struggle with? In what ways? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you need help deciding what’s your next step as a church check out my coaching page, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.