A Plea to Pastors: Be Real
I recently wrote a post that got some folks pretty fired up.
I wrote 7 reasons for why nobody really likes cats. Turns out, that’ll get some people pretty angry. And how I think that “the only good cat is a dead cat.”
I made it clear that it was just a joke post, and that I was just having a bit of fun. I don’t really want to kill cats. If I see one in the road, I swerve to miss it. If I’m at your house and you have a cat, I’ll sneeze and scratch my eyes, but I’ll pet your cat. And I’ll talk to it in that little baby voice we talk to when we communicate with small animals.
I was having a bit of fun with my post. Why?
Because not everything that comes out of my mouth is a Scripture reference and a word of wisdom.
Confession: I am a real person.
It’s okay for you, too, if everything that comes out of your mouth is not spiritual. You have my permission. Especially if you’re a pastor.
In fact, I believe that’s one of the reasons why Grace, where I was on staff, was successful: our pastors were real people. That’s one of the reasons why I believe Long Hollow is successful, too: our pastors are real people. With real struggles. Real pain. Real shortcomings. Real victories. Real families. Real hobbies.
When pastors talk in King James and end their every sentence with, “thus saith the Lord,” it gives the appearance that they’re perfect, inadvertently preaching that they have nothing wrong, struggle with nothing, and have every answer to every question ever asked.
Pastors: please be a real person.
The Danger of Detachment
You have a different calling, with higher responsibilities. There are certain expectations placed on you by God Himself, and God will hold you accountable for the way you taught and led. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon everything in life except your Bible. The more you detach yourself from regular life the more you’ll find yourself detached from the people you’re called to lead. If the people you lead are into football, you need to be into football. If they’re into raising pigs, you need to be into raising pigs. If they’re into hiking, you need to be into hiking. Paul says it like this: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22)
If you don’t have that thing that you enjoy, you’ll burn out too. You can’t be a spiritual superhero all of the time. You’ll burn out and break. You need a release and a chance to unwind. Find a TV show you and your spouse can watch together. Go golfing with the guys. Take your kids to a baseball game. Take off your pastor hat.
The more you share about who you are, even the parts of you that aren’t perfect and polished, the more you’ll be able to show people just how big of a God you serve. If you’re broken, you show people just how much you need Jesus. If you’re a mess, you paint a picture of a King that is full of grace.
It’s easier to relate with a real person that with one who doesn’t encounter regular life issues. It’s easier to connect with a pastor who follows Jesus but admittedly doesn’t have it all figured out. Why?
Because you don’t have it all figured out either.
There was only one perfect man. And He’s the one I point people towards.
Which doesn’t mean that I don’t like football. Or golf. Or that I’m not going to say something dumb some time.
I’m sorry that I do that. I’m human. I don’t like that I’m still fallen and still struggle. But offer me some grace.
And laugh at my jokes, even if you don’t think they’re funny. Please?
CC Image • pira7ex on Flickr