Here’s a shocking revelation for you . . . Your pastor isn’t perfect. Okay, maybe it’s not so shocking.
Here’s a more radical statement. You shouldn’t expect him to be.
Seriously, have you ever thought your pastor is sinless, holy all the time, always goes about thinking lofty spiritual thoughts about the deep truths of God, never even considers doing “bad things” (in whatever human classifications you have devised), speaks only in Scriptural language (thees and thous and -eths), doesn’t watch T.V. (much less OWN one), and wouldn’t dare darken the doorstep of a movie theater (he probably doesn’t even know what’s playing)?
Do you picture your pastor at home always reading the Bible and praying, only stopping to feed himself?
Unless, of course, he’s fasting.
Because only pastors do that.
I can imagine the pastors out there reading this are having a very hearty laugh. If this is how you picture your pastor, stop. Because it’s not true.
On second thought, let me qualify that statement. I’m sure there are some pastors out there who fit this description. But not many.
I am not a pastor’s wife or a pastor’s kid. I am simply a church member who loves the church and supports and respects her pastor. So, how can I say this with such authority? Because, pastors all have one strikingly undeniable similarity . . .
They are human.
Lest you think I’m trying to belittle the office and ministry of pastor, let me assure you, I am not. I have the highest regard and utmost respect for the under-shepherds of the body of Christ that God Himself has called and appointed. Let me also assure you that I absolutely understand that pastors are called to a high level of spiritual maturity so that they can faithfully lead their congregations to grow in maturity as well.
What I’m getting at here are some myths about pastors that congregations are believing. These myths prevent us from having better relationships with our pastors.
Myth #1 – My pastor is so holy that he is unapproachable or can’t relate to the average church member.
Contrasting Truth #1 – NO ONE is that holy. Because we’re all human. Don’t cheat yourself of the joy of getting to know your pastor because you assume he’s “out of your league” spiritually speaking.
Myth #2 – My past is too shocking for my pastor.
Contrasting Truth #2 – Are we talking about your past? Or your present? Because if it’s your past, it’s over. Besides, there aren’t many things that will truly shock a pastor. They’ve heard it all. And then some. Good pastors have a heart for broken people. It’s kind of what they DO.
Myth #3 – I have to “clean up” my act when I’m around my pastor.
Contrasting Truth #3a – This one could come from two angles. Firstly, if you think you have to clean up your act around your pastor or act differently around him than you would anyone else, perhaps your pastor isn’t the person you need to “clean up” for? If you have the conviction to act differently around him, then maybe it’s time for some confessing to the Lord? Go before Him and ask Him to search your heart.
Contrasting Truth #3b – On the other hand, if it’s not a matter of acting differently in different environments and audiences, but simply that you don’t think you’re “good enough” – see #1 above.
Myth #4 – My pastor doesn’t need anymore friends. He knows all sorts of people.
Contrasting Truth #4 – I’d be willing to bet your pastor – and his wife – are two of the most lonely people you know. Pastors need friends. Not isolation. They need godly people who will rally around them and encourage them. They need people to love on them and people to pray for them. Always being the one pouring out to others is exhausting. It is very tough to be the one giving out encouragement all the time. They desperately need people in their lives who recognize that they need to be on the receiving end of that encouragement on a regular basis. Not just once in a while.
my challenge to you
This is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just some statements I’ve actually heard from church members over the years.
The next time you find yourself thinking these things, I challenge you to instead, call your pastor and pray for him. Or send him a card. Or shoot him a text. Or invite him and his family over for dinner. Ask him how you can be praying for him and with him. This goes for all pastoral staff. Don’t just offer platitudes. Really demonstrate to them that you love them by opening your life up to them. Pastors are people, too. And they were designed for community just the same as you were. Invite them into your community and do life together. It will bless you as well as them.
Please Note: If you happen to know me personally and know who my pastor is, I want to make it very clear that my pastor did not put me up to this. He actually has no idea I’m writing this. This is not in any way a reference to any specific pastor I know. I happen to know several and I have the privilege of calling them “friend.” My husband and I have made it a habit over the years to invite our pastors into our lives and try to minister to their hearts at least a fraction of the amount they have ministered to us. Growing up, my parents were very close to our pastor and that relationship is still a great one. I learned a beautiful thing from the example of my parents and I am so grateful for that.