My faith would be much happier without constant feedback about it from everyone and their mother.
Preaching is to be a major part of what a pastor does. I like my preaching to be personal, an extension of my faith. If I haven’t lived with it, struggled with it, or incorporated it into my life in some sense, I probably don’t preach about it.
This is good because it gives personality, emotion, and first-hand experience to the passage preached on. I think it becomes authentic and real. My sermons are not copied out of a book; they are taken from my life.
Not only does this make better sermons, it also keeps me on the road to spiritual growth. If I aint living it; I’ve got nothing to say!
The massive downside to it is that my sermons are mine. That’s me up there. That’s my heart being talked about each time. When criticism is leveled at my sermon or doctrine; that’s criticism of my faith and my heart.
It hurts to have something so personal be criticized, ridiculed, and rejected. It gets old after a while and makes a guy wonder why he keeps doing it. My faith has taken a beating since becoming a pastor. People’s opinions affect you. You may not want them too, but they do, for good and bad. Weighing their opinions against your own and God’s is a weekly battle. One I don’t always win. I imagine I’m not the only pastor who deals with this.
I do hope that you as a pastor can get to a place where what other people think of you doesn’t matter. The only opinion that matters is God’s and He judges the heart. Get the right intentions in your heart before God, do what flows out of that right desire, and don’t care what others think. Not as a jerk, not as a know-it-all, sometimes what others think is right!
Take what they think into consideration and then, before God, make the decision. Someone will always have a problem with what you are doing. Confidence comes by faith in God’s Word and His character and the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide you into doing what is right.
This is quite honestly the one thing I hang on to that keeps me able to do this job. Me, standing in front of a group of people three times a week talking, telling them my deepest heart on the Bible, which is the most important thing in my life, is constantly terrifying to me. Someone will mishear it, misunderstand it, or fully understand it and reject it and tell me how dumb I am.
I don’t need that. My faith would be much happier without constant feedback about it from everyone and their mother. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit I do this.
But every Sunday there is dread in my heart and self-doubt and why are you doing this and who in the world do you think you are for saying this stuff? Every week. Every single week. Almost twenty years now. Every week several times a week.
I’m a private person. Not just introverted; private. I think I would function quite well in life without human interaction for quite some time. But I also have learned that I do need people. But I’ve also learned I don’t need that many of em!
It’s brutal being exposed weekly on the most important and personal aspect of who I am. It kills me. But it’s the job. If you can’t expose your personal faith as a pastor; then don’t be a pastor. Your growth is to be seen by people. They have to know this is real for you. This will massively help a couple people. The price is that you’ll be hurt by many more people than will be helped.
Fight this battle if it’s one you face. Find a security in your stand before the Lord to allow you to continue to put yourself in the firing line of human opinion. According to Paul, you’re dead already anyway! Dead people don’t care what you think about them! We die daily. Die over and over in practice who you are in Christ anyway–dead to this world and yet fully alive to God. That’s transformative stuff right there. It’s been my experience, however haltingly, but I know enough to know it’s the answer. I also know most people hate that answer!
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.