One of the most difficult struggles for many an integritous leader is the weight of unfair public judgments . People are tough on pastors. They place them on unrealistic pedestals & criticize their every word or action. I will never debate against pastors being held to a higher standard of accountability but not to the point of robbing them of their humanity.
I recently spoke to a friend who attends a large church with a pastor of significant visibility. He conveyed to me that sometimes he feels frustrated with the pastor because at times there is a “celebrity” projection from him.
This is a pretty intelligent guy and as he explained some of these “celebrity-esque” characteristics that he perceived, I received some insight and asked him to humor me with an exercise.
- Me: If this was not the pastor of a big church, but a friend exhibiting these behaviors that put you off a bit, what would you assume would be the root of the behavior?
- Him: Well, typically they collectively may be indicative of an underlying insecurity or event…
- Me: Exactly! Is it possible that maybe he is dealing with something you are unaware
- Him: Sure…
- Me: Pastors are human beings who go through seasons of highs and lows just like everyone else. Sometimes they are struggling with feelings that are seasonal, sometimes they are lifelong insecurities that are directly attached to events in their childhood…and in the midst of everything they have to get up every week and pour into people when many times then are hurting themselves….
- Yes, they are pastors…Yes, they need to seek healing… Yes, they need to continue to develop and grow… but they are STILL HUMAN! Their feelings get hurt, they weigh themselves in balances and often feel like they should be further or better or whatever…and for those who are caring, discerning and not critical they can pick up as much from what is being conveyed as what is being said.
- Apart from the few personality quirks that you have conveyed how are the messages and the ministry coming out of the church?
- Him: Great messages and great impact. Sometimes these little things just rub me the wrong way.
- Me: Well, recognize that they are very insignificant things compared to the whole of what you just expressed and maybe it’s possible that the problem is as much with you as him. It seems like you are placing an unfair expectation on him and being critical instead of discerning with compassion the possible root of what is frustrating you (both in you and in him).
Love, compassion and the allowances for human imperfection are so important! – FOR EVERYONE!
Ultimately, you should be attending your church because you believe that is where God has placed you. When this is the case, you should then be looking for what you have to add to the whole… Not take away.
It should go without saying, but perfect humans do not exist… Not even among Pastors…so you can quit looking.