Just as children go through developmental phases, a Christian goes through progressive sanctification. One folder in the file cabinet of life is our perceptions and understanding of the responsibility of the pastor. Let’s look at 5 false perceptions we build from sources outside Scripture.
1. Pastors Change People: We have heard of many occasions when people have reached out to their pastor and unloaded everything that has come to a head after years of being away from God. The follow-up question is may sound something like this… “Can you fix this?” When pastors spoon feed people and do the work for them, they enable the false perception that they become the change when in fact this is the role of Jesus. John 8:36 “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
2. Pastors Are Responsible For Us: This one is huge! When we redirect personal responsibility on our pastors we are not following Jesus, we are following our sin. The reason we may not desire to be in the word or discipleship is that we are very aware of the fact it will cost us something. So instead of living the life Christ is calling us to live, we live in the shadow of the pastor. We may be able to hide and be safe, but we can’t hide from God. Romans 14:12 “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.”
3. Pastors Have It All Together: “The preacher… is not a professional man; his ministry is not a profession; it is a divine institution, a divine devotion. We are fools for Christ’s sake. But professionals are wise. We are weak. Professionals are strong. Professionals are held in honor. We are in disrepute. We do not try to secure a professional lifestyle, but we are ready to hunger and thirst and be ill-clad and homeless.” John Piper
- We don’t have it all together. There are times we want to throw our arms up and be done. But we love you guys… And God keeps bringing us back week after week. Here is a question. How often do you pray for your pastor?
90% of pastors work more than 46 hours a week
80% believed that pastoral ministry affected their families negatively
33% said that being in ministry was an outright hazard to their family
75% reported a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry
50% felt unable to meet the needs of the job
90% felt they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
70% say they have a lower self-esteem now than when they started out
40% reported a serious conflict with a believer at least once a month
37% confessed having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church
70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
~ Courtesy of the Fuller Institute of Church Growth
4. Pastors Are Closer To God: John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” This verse came to mind to deflate the false ideology of the Christian hierarchy of “godliness.” When we look at this verse it is so comforting to be reminded we are either in Christ or we are not. There is no gray area; we are either in or out. Some readers might push back “But, Jeff you bypassed the keyword, to remain or abide in Me.” No I didn’t miss anything. See the branch never went anywhere. The question is; Are we getting our source from the vine (Jesus)? If not we won’t receive what we need to mature by design.
5. Pastors Are Naive To The “Real World”: This one is usually attached to a comparison that may sound something like this… “He won’t understand my pain and suffering.” It is true our pastors may not understand all the components and details of every circumstance, but we are not immune to pain and suffering. Everything the world throws at you comes to us as well. There are pastors being imprisoned as we speak. Many brothers in Christ have gone to the side of Jesus because they simply were following Jesus. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
To conclude, Jesus changes us and we are His responsibility. He works all things for our good and has provided the means to bring us into His presence. Yes, the current world is tainted and broken, but take heart, Jesus is above everything the world can portray. And He is coming back to bring us home in complete joyful euphoria forever in His presence.
~Grace & Peace