Top Ten Mistakes Made by Suffering Pastors

The Pastor is Out

Top Ten Mistakes Made by Suffering  Pastors:

In your dealing with others:

  • Act as if you have it all together
    • What we say: “Nothing is wrong” or “I’ve got it under control”
    • What we do: Present a deceitful front to our people and rob them an opportunity  to minister to us
  • Fail to be transparent
    • What we say: “People will think less of me” or “They can’t handle what I’m experiencing”
    • What we do: Set ourselves on a pedestal and demean our congregation
  • Avoid  accountability
    • What we say: “There isn’t anyone spiritual enough” or “I can’t open up to my congregation/church leadership”
    • What we do: Ignore the spiritual gifts of our people and fellow church leaders
  • Avoid people altogether
    • What we say: “If I am with them they will notice I am hurting” or “I don’t want to burden them with my troubles”
    • What we do: Close the door to office and our lives or respond in such a way that drives people from us
  • Fail to seek reconciliation
    • What we say: “They’ll understand that I’m just hurting”
    • What we do: Communicate that the Gospel isn’t applicable to our suffering and relationships

In your dealing with self:

  • Reject medical, psychological, emotional and spiritual help
    • What we say: “I’m okay, I don’t need help” or “I can handle this in my own way, on my own terms”
    • What we do: Allow fear to drive our thoughts and actions or allow pride to rule our hearts
  • Stop praying
    • What we say: “God isn’t interested in my complaint” or “If I really tell God what I think about this, then I’m sinning”
    • What we do: Resort to repetitive, trite sayings and fail to see the emotion of lament in the Psalms
  • Become cold: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally
    • What we say: “I have to invest my energies in recovering / coping / solving my problems” or “You just wouldn’t understand”
    • What we do: Communicate self-sufficiency
  • Fail to search for God’s glory in it all
    • What we say: “It’s all for my good” or “I can’t see why God would do this”
    • What we do: Reduce God down to a level we can understand or make life about ourselves only
  • Fail to minister the Gospel to self
    • What we say: “Of course his grace is sufficient”
    • What we do: Fail to communicate or understand that the Gospel goes beyond salvation and often is accompanied by suffering…and grace in the suffering.

These mistakes have come out of my own personal suffering. Perhaps they’re not true of all suffering pastors, but they were things I struggled with and worked through. Sometimes I still have to work through them. I am curious to your response to these “mistakes” and your input for others you may have experienced, either as a suffering pastor or observed of a suffering pastor.

I do know that the Church together cannot give up on one another. We must seek to intrude into others lives with the hope of Truth and the balm of the Gospel.


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