A young pastor recently wrote me with this excellent question. He is still fairly new at his church and has gone to pastor a church in an area and culture that is pretty foreign to him. One of the challenges this poses is how to find common interests with his people in the church, especially the elderly. He finds he is having a hard time connecting on several levels and gets nervous when they invite him to fish or garden when he has never done either one. Here was my response with hopes it might help some of you facing the same challenges in your church:
This is a great question and one to consider in light of where you serve. The best thing to do to win them as your pastor is to go see them where they are and do what they do with them. If you don’t fish, go fishing with them and learn to do it. If they like to garden, go with them and ask them to teach you. I found myself doing many of those things to communicate my desire to get to know them and learn about what they love. If you think about it, it is better for you to go do things with them they love you don’t, as that communicates most powerfully your love for them in those sacrificial efforts as well as a teachable spirit to learn from them.