Surprise! Not Everyone Likes You

Apparently not everyone likes me. The other day our congregational president was calling members of our church, following up on our recent stewardship effort. One call put him in contact with someone who hadn’t been to church in quite some time. When our president inquired “why,” the response was: “I was a Pastor (“so and so”) fan; not much of a Pastor Eggebrecht fan.”

Hmm. Really?


I guess there are worse reasons not to attend a church. It just sort of felt so “personal” when this information was relayed to me. OK, I’ll admit it, I was hurt. I know I shouldn’t have been. And I know that, as a leader, not everyone will like me. But that doesn’t take away the fact that I’m a human being who has feelings.

As a “pastor type” I want everyone to be happy. I feel a certain burden and responsibility if someone doesn’t like “church” because they don’t like me.

But this isn’t the first time. And it won’t be the last. We live in a fallen world filled with people and personalities, some that get along and others that don’t. Sometimes personal preferences are just that: preferences.

What I’m trying to teach myself is that it’s OK if (surprise!) not everyone likes me. It’s perfectly fine if someone finds a place or a preacher with whom they can better connect.

It isn’t easy for me, because like everyone else I want to be loved. But people in public, visible positions of leadership will not always be liked. The other day I read a tweet by Andy Andrews that said, “If you need everyone to be happy, you should be a wedding planner not a leader.”

I don’t want to be a wedding planner (that’s another story for another day). So I better get used to everyone not being happy. Not that I won’t try to make that happen. I just won’t expect it to happen.

So don’t be surprised when not everyone likes you. Especially when you’re out in front doing uncomfortable things, blazing trails, making well-thought-out changes, or simply being you.

What’s your response when you discover someone doesn’t like you?

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13 thoughts on “Surprise! Not Everyone Likes You

  1. Perhaps this person might consider being a Jesus “fan”, and letting whatever pastor happens to be there fade into the background and fill his role of ministering in persona Christi. We’re imperfect channels, of course, but that’s why we’re not supposed to be the focus! Hence vestments and clericals, which veil our identity (and hence also artistic depictions of Jesus in vestments, to help the point get across). It’s not us at altar and font, and not even us at bedside or graveside. We stand as Jesus – with humility, knowing that it is not US at work, but Him.

    Ah, well. There’s no avoiding the cult of personality, I guess. Just being aware of it is the best defense.

  2. I think it’s easier to handle someone not liking you if you don’t really know it. We don’t expect everyone to like us, but it does hurt when we find out that someone actually verbalized it. A family member of someone I cared about apparently told them that they didn’t like me. It hurt, but I decided that I wasn’t going to let that affect my relationship with the person that I cared about. I know that I’m far, far from perfect, so why shouldn’t there be someone out there that doesn’t like me? The good news, as you well know, Pastor, is the Good News! God loves us so much that He sent his son to earth to die for our sins. So, it’s ok if someone doesn’t like me. I know who does.

  3. I believe most people like to place blame on an easy target. In this case, I think there are deeper issues for this person. It’s not that he/she isn’t a “fan” of you or doesn’t like you. It’s just that you’re an easy target as a leader.

    You represented change in this person’s life he/she would not have liked anyone who replaced Pastor “so and so.”

    I’m currently serving a two year term as the president of the Wisconsin Business Travel Association. In this role, I’ve come to learn that just about anything can cause a few people to form a negative opinion about you. It could be the temperature outside. It could be the person overheard me talking about my kids and they are currently not speaking with theirs.

    I try to remember that the vast majority of our members think I’m doing a good job leading the association forward and pay little attention to the people who may just have an unhappy disposition in life.

  4. It seems Paul has dealt with this same issue. Romans 12:18…”If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

  5. Thanks, Tom. I think I will print this and keep it for ‘those’ days. (We all have them…) May i have permission to use it with the LCMS School Leadership Project? Great thoughts for a new devotion I am developing!