As soon as the pastor gets into the mindset of “You people are messed up. It is my job to fix you.” It is all over for all of them.
I grew up in a pastor’s home. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night I sat in the car on the way home listening to my parents talk about the messed up people in our church.
I knew who criticized my dad’s sermon. I knew who had an issue about the special music. I know who didn’t like the hymn selection. I knew all the problems and the people who caused them.
I also saw the pain and agony this caused my father.
When a young boy sees his pastor dad suffering and knows why he is and who caused it, that young boy becomes bitter and angry, not only at those people, but at the church.
That’s where I was for many years.
I grew up thinking that I belonged to THE FAMILY that had all the solutions. Everyone else was messed up. My family was pretty close to perfect. We existed to rescue all the idiots around us.
It doesn’t take psychoanalysis to know that this created some “issues” in my head about people.
When you grow up thinking that everyone is a moron set about to cause you pain and suffering, which is why I must save them, you’re going to have some strained relationships.
It does not shock me now, looking back, to understand why so many of my friends left me behind. We were rarely enjoying each other’s company; I was trying to fix them.
Now that I’ve been a pastor for a long time and had some distance from this mentality, and also been shown in many painful ways that my mentality was wrong, I’m changing my views of ministry.
The people in your church are not your projects. They are not “things” you put up with. They are not people who exist for you to demonstrate your skillz and take money from as they bow in adoration of your powers.
No, the people in your church are people. People just like you. People who have issues and sin and yeah, they are messed up. And, by the way, so are you and I.
The job of a pastor is to bring people to Christ. To do the best we can to live out the truth of God’s word and the love of His Gospel. We take every opportunity to know, care for, and serve those around us in hopes of making the Gospel powerful.
We don’t do this for followers, pay raises, building projects, or pastoral bragging rights. We do this because this is what Christ did for us.
Christ is perfect and surrounded by fallen humanity. He didn’t try to fix them; He didn’t charge them money to talk to Him. He laid down His life for them, for us, for me.
It is very easy to lose sight of this and start thinking that we pastors have it all together. The people need us; we don’t need them. They have the problems; we have the solutions. We then judge them as beneath us.
One reason why pastors fail to have friendships is because we look down on people too much and deem others to be beneath us. We show respect of persons rather than the love of Christ.
Watch out for this danger, pastors. It won’t end up well for you or for anyone you come in contact with. We’re all in need of a Savior and lucky for us, we have a great one. Let’s help each other get to Him.