“Me – lie about my pastor?”
If you’re like most in the church, you are horrified at the thought. None of us likes to think we’re perpetuating untruths about our spiritual leader.
But you may be – albeit unwittingly. It happens when you accept commonly-held beliefs without question. Beliefs like …
Lie #1: “My pastor learned what he needs to know about the ministry in seminary.”
75% of surveyed pastors feel poorly equipped by their seminary training to lead a church, manage people, and counsel others, according to research by R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. and the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development.
That means of the 600,000 clergy serving in various capacities in the U.S., about 450,000 feel ill-prepared for their jobs.
That’s almost half a million people. Chances are good that if you’re a Christ-follower, you’ve come into contact with one or more of them.
The inadequacy these pastors feel is quite specific, centering mostly in relationships.
“Many seminary programs don’t even require courses on the people side (of ministry),” says Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., Executive Director of LifeWay Research, a polling and analysis organization. “They’re focused on theology, biblical languages, and preaching, which are important, but almost half of the pastors felt unprepared for dealing with the people they were preparing in seminary to lead and serve.”
So should a pastor quit?
Nope. Unless you believe Lie #2 …
Lie #2: “My pastor is supposed to do everything in the church and do it well.”
He is expected to be a preacher, administrator, teacher, fundraiser, janitor, counselor, arbitrator, leader and visionary.
And if filling all those roles is not enough, a pastor is expected to be scholarly, compassionate, hardworking, loving, available, patient, healthy, diplomatic, loyal, transparent, steadfast, and more. And do it all well.
That’s a lie.
A pastor is not wired by God to do everything and be everything his congregation might expect (or want.) Scripture is quite clear: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6, NIV). In other words, your pastor has been gifted with specific strengths, rather than every single one on the list of expectations.
Another translation words that scripture this way: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6, ESV).
How You Can Reflect the Truth to Your Pastor
Your pastor is a human being. He has been given particular gifts and abilities. Are you (or others around you) letting your pastor use his gifts according to how God has graced him?
In the face of the two lies about your pastor, you can reflect two truths to him.
- Tell your pastor the strengths you see in him.
- Encourage him to know his strengths and use them. (You can point him to the Leading From Your Strengths profile, for example.)
In doing so, you’ll open the door for your pastor to “listen and add to his learning” (Proverbs 1:5).
That’s from the Word. And that’s the truth.