I’ve liked what I’ve read from Craig Groeschel’s Confessions of a Pastor so far. The transparent honesty is encouraging. The very first few pages describe the making of an impostor out of his own life, and he describes what he calls the “pastor’s mystique” – a mistaken notion of church leadership that he bought into. It’s the idea that people want to see their pastor “as superhuman, better than the average person. Church members want to believe your marriage is always strong, your faith never falters, and you are virtually without sin.”
Believing that, Groeschel and many pastors like him have been led to be overly guarded, careful not to reveal any cracks or deficiencies in their lives. The problem is we all do have cracks and we all do have deficiencies. We need other people to help us through a lot of the crap that comes with the business of living. The advice, “Don’t let them know the real you. Always dress the part. Always talk the part.” is good advice for self-protection. The pain of being hurt by someone we love can be avoided if we never allow anyone close enough to love.
But it leaves us alone, and it leaves us with no footing for real leadership. If I am hiding myself from you, how will I lead you? How can I follow a leader I don’t even know? We can’t lead the church of Jesus to conquer the gates of hell from within a shell of our own making.
Groeschel notes that, “Somewhere on my journey, though, I forgot that God called me… not to be like a pastor, but to be like Christ.” If you’re one of my ministry friends who reads this – be encouraged to lead your ministry as Christ leads you, not as some poser who fits flawlessly into a role or position or system. Learn to trust the right people with your life.
You’ll probably get hurt more – but it’s worth it.
You’ll have to give up that shiny image you’ve worked so hard to keep polished – but let’s be honest, the polish is wearing pretty thin anyway.
You’ll eventually be betrayed by someone you love who’ll use their understanding of you for their own advantage – which ironically puts you in company with Jesus.
He’s pretty good company…