Pastors are under constant spiritual attack and desperately need our prayers. Nowhere was I reminded of this more than when me and several friends sat down with a pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in America.
As I listened to him describe the pressures he hears other pastors facing most often, my heart just broke from what I was hearing. I was stunned by how many similar issues I am dealing with.
He noticed how personal ambition is getting in the way of many pastors. It is harsh but they are simply are not called to ministry. Boredom and fatigue set in quick. Boredom comes from just tilling the land – doing the daily grunt work of ministry. They begin reaching for things. He then made a strong statement, “Fatigue is from claiming promises that weren’t yours to claim.”
He then moved on and began to describe the impact of social media on many pastors. The way social media works is “I need to compare myself to someone.” This results in many pastors living in the land of either Pride or Pity. The only thing which will diffuse Pride and Pity is living out your unique Purpose.
Furthermore, most pastors dealing with “trying to take the hill” are dealing with father wounds. They are driven by an unhealthy sense of accomplishment resulting in Pride. Mother wounds lead to Pity. Father wounds say, “I try to take more than I can handle.” Mother wounds say, “I’m no good.”
He then went on to discuss 3 Kinds of Hearts he sees in many pastors:
- A Divided Heart – This is the rich young ruler. The biggest division we have is who do we work for? Public achievement grants permission for selfish ambition. Selfish ambition is the #1 thing for pastors.
- A Distracted Heart – This is Martha. Every time I look at my phone it is a distraction. Distraction requires my attention. Attention requires my energy. How much energy am I depleted by with this phone.
- A Discouraged Heart – Discouragement eats away at pastors. Anything that eats itself cannot be sustained. Discouragement is removing the effectiveness of many pastors.
Divided, Distracted, and Discouraged hearts are not limited just to pastors. Every person in your church deals with the three same issues. Life change in churches is great but darkness is happening just as fast. And pastors face darkness each day.
So the question begs – Where do pastors go with the Divided, Distracted, and Discouraged issues they are carrying internally and from others when they are held to the strictest of confidences. Simply put, many (if not all) pastors could benefit from counseling and some well-deserved extended time off.
A few final thoughts for pastors:
You are not called to build a church. Jesus said I will build my church. You are called to change a culture. And finally, we desperately need you. With most communities now largely unchurched, we need you right now more than ever. So guard your heart. And we can’t wait to see you Sunday!
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