Pastors are supposed to obey God. Everyone expects it, inside and outside of churches. Everyone expects it to not happen, inside and outside of churches. When we think of popular culture portrayals of pastors, they show people who are really autocratic and really hypocritical.
And I don’t blame anyone for that portrayal. No one can live up to false expectations. We (the big sweeping generic we inside ‘the church’) decide what obeying God means and we decide what perfection looks like and we decide that pastors have to meet that perfection (which no one can) and then in the debris that results from the explosion, we find fragments of a soul and we say, “see? hypocrisy.”
That’s not how it should be. And two things I read today are helpful.
One of them is a list of ways that pastors said that they refresh themselves. The list isn’t just for pastors; everyone should consider taking a walk, for example, or laugh. However, if we can’t make the time to have our souls be restored, how in the world can we teach anyone else? I have seen the value of some of these, and am learning about others.
The other helpful thing today is from Bob Hyatt. Bob writes a blog called Pastor Hacks which draws on David Allen and other places to help us spend “less time on tasks, more time on people.” However, he also writes a blog on life and ministry and today, on the challenges of living as a pastor, as a shepherd. On one hand, it feels funny to link to something this vulnerable. On the other hand, he posted it, and I read it as the authentic picture of a man who is wanting to have integrity in this thing called being a pastor.
In the old days, churches would have made life difficult for pastors who talked about slowing down, who shared their souls, who wanted to step off the pedestal (instead of falling off). In some places today, it is a little easier.
(full disclosure: the church I’m part of is one of the great churches, looking for honesty and authenticity. Not always getting there, but on the way. So I am a grateful shepherd.)
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