What should a Pastor be? – Part 3

aloofA question James asked after the last post prompted this one – thanks James!

Number 3. A Pastor should lead the way in being authentic and genuine with those in his congregation.  In other words, Pastors should work hard to make sure they are not “aloof” from the people they are leading.

A huge part of the Christian message is the reality that we are sinful human beings, in need of a Savior.  Pastors are the same – no exceptions.  Too often a Pastor will work to keep himself in a place where he’s perceived as “having it all together” – when we all know better.

I don’t deny that many Pastors ARE in fact, much farther down the road of spiritual growth and maturity than those in their congregations (they should be – right?).  That’s a good thing.  That’s the very REASON they have anything to offer the people they lead – they are more mature.  But to come off as if you are somehow “above it all” and have it all figured out is another thing.  Authenticity goes a very long way towards establishing credibility and respect – it’s humility in action.  And Jesus said that in order to be the greatest (a leader) we would have to become the least (a servant)…

Another way this can be manifested is in a Pastor separating himself from the congregation – not socializing with them, not interacting except on a “professional” level, not being available outside of office hours.  Some people may be thinking, “What?  Pastors actually do that?”  Yep, quite a few do.  It’s a method of “self-protection” that is wrong, but somewhat understandable.  Pastors get hurt.  Pastors get hurt by people IN THEIR CHURCH!  Sometimes intentionally so!!!  So, often Pastors will respond by withdrawing.  BAD CHOICE Rev. So-and-so!

It’s EXACTLY in those times of hurt and pain that people need to see a leader trust God, even with the emotional hurts that may be on the way, and CONTINUE to be real, interactive, and genuine.  Faith is not just for the “easy” times – the times that feel good.  Faith is most important in the times when our instinct IS to be self-protective.  If we Pastors can get beyond the defensive reactions we naturally gravitate towards and trust God with the pain that’s inflicted on us, we might have a better chance of helping the people we are leading to actually see what it means to persevere, to love without conditions, and to live in a forgiving way.


5 thoughts on “What should a Pastor be? – Part 3

  1. What do you do? It’s hard to say without knowing and experiencing the situation myself. I’m stepping out on a limb here – but if it’s REALLY an issue that’s causing disruption or disfunction in the church then I’d say it’s an issue the elders need to address – and that takes some courage.

    I know of a church where the Pastor is pretty much exactly what I’ve described in terms of being “aloof” and the elders see and are scared to death to do anything about it – for various reasons. It’s say to me, though I understand the politics involved… sad that politics even have to be involved at all…

    If you know the Pastor even semi-well, I’d say speak to him about your concerns… you never know what the Lord might do through that…

  2. I have liked your posts about what a pastor should be, but when you are done with that topic, how about what elders or deacons should be. Many of the items you have mentioned in your series so far I have seen more from the elders or deacons. Holding themselves above reproach, even above the pastor. I have seen a few pastors destroyed just by a group of men who thought they knew more or were better than everyone. At the same time, I have seen people in those positions whose lives or families are not under control. How can a church be led by people like this, regardless of what the pastor is like.

    Concerning your statement about not being available after hours and separating from the congregation, I think this can be a tough line to draw. I believe that in each person’s life, including a pastor’s, that God should be first, followed by his spouse, then family, and then congregation. Too much of being available for the flock can destroy the family.

    Thanks for the great postings!

  3. Hey Mike, thanks for the comment…

    What should an Elder be? Good idea… I’ll give it some thought (I’m sure I have some on the subject…) You’re right, the Elders need to be men of integrity too – geunuine and godly. I really will give it some thought…

    I agree with your top 3 priorities – I didn’t mean to imply that I would put the congregation ahead of those three. My main point what that you can’t be a very good shepherd if you are hesitant (for whatever reason) to spend time with sheep! You’re right – balance is pretty important!

  4. Pingback: What should a Pastor be? - Part 4 « the passionate follower’s journal

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