I have a heart for pastors. Maybe it stems from the fact I spent more years as a layperson – deacon, committee member, Sunday school teacher – than I have as a pastor. I realize now how much I didn’t understand about the position. The role has a lot more expectations and pressures than I previously imagined. I always loved and supported the pastor, but looking back, I wish I had been an even better pastor’s friend.
One of the other realities, and it’s rather sobering to me, is how isolated many pastors feel from people in their congregation. Isolation almost always seems to lead to a misunderstanding of reality. In essence, and here’s the problem and purpose of this post, if we aren’t careful, we can begin to believe lies about ourselves or our ministries.
(That even seems to have Biblical precedence – believing lies got us into trouble from the beginning.)
Here are 7 lies we often believe as pastors:
“I’ve got this”
The enemy loves it when we begin to think we are completely in control of our life or ministry. He loves us to place total confidence in ourselves. Self-confidence, if unchecked, can lead to arrogance, a sense of superiority, and a lack of dependence on God.
“That didn’t hurt”
It has amazed me how some people feel the freedom to talk to a pastor in ways they’d never speak to someone else – or want someone to speak to them. Sometimes we pretend what the person said or did to us doesn’t hurt. We can even spiritualize it, because we wear the “armor of God”, or even we were called to suffer for the cause.
And, I’m not arguing any of that, but in reality, most pastors I know (this one included) have tender feelings at times – some days more than others. (Right before or right after we preach would be one of those times.) We are human. We like to be liked. Some pastors are even people-pleasers. Maturity helps us process things faster, but we never outgrow a certain vulnerability when working with people.
“I’m above that”
If a pastor ever thinks they can’t be tempted to fail – watch out! The devil will see some points he can put on the board. When we as pastors believe we are above the same temptation the people in our churches face we have the devil’s full attention. We can be tempted with pride, selfishness, lust, power, or any other temptation. Again, we are human.
“I’m in control”
It would be easy to dismiss this one with a strong spiritual response. Of course, Jesus is in control. Hopefully every Bible-believing pastor reading this “Amens” to that truth. But, how many times do we believe we have more authority than we really do – or should? Danger!
“They need me”
We must be careful not to take credit for what only God can do. I can’t imagine God would let this lie continue long without equally letting us “believe” (and experience) being responsible for declining this church. The church doesn’t need us. It needs Jesus.
“If I don’t do this no one will”
We stifle spiritual growth of others when we fail to let them use their spiritual gifts. Additionally, we deny the hand and foot their individual role within the body. And, sadly, we often burnout ourselves and our family.
“I’ve got to protect my people”
I once had a pastor say he couldn’t allow “his” people to believe God still speaks to people today, other than through His Word. He went on to explain he said it because there are too many “strange voices” out there.
And, there are strange voices in the world. I also fully believe the Bible is the main source of His communication, but God still speaks. If He doesn’t, let’s quit suggesting people pray about how much God wants them to give to the building fund.
When we try to protect “our” people by keeping them from His provision, we make them our people and keep them from fully understanding they are really His children. Let us instead teach them how to know God more intimately and discern His direction. His sheep know His voice.
I’m sure there are many other lies we can fall prey to as pastors. Exposing them can help us from being distracted by them and allow us to call on His strength to overcome them. Trading prayers for pastors as I type this post.
What other lies have you seen pastors believe?