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What Lay People Want in Pastors

Lay people want a pastor who can laugh. That's what denominational executives and lay members in seven denominations said during a comprehensive study of what people want in a pastor. The ability to laugh indicates several things, according to the study, including whether the pastor and congregation are compatible, whether the pastor understands the congregation's values and way of life, and how much of a people-person the pastor is perceived to be. Congregations also want a person with an authentic religious life that involves both head and heart, and someone who has an open-door policy. In these and other ways, the desires of lay people differ from the guidance and desires of judicatory officials. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research offers insight on the study of what congregations want in a pastor.



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