Pastors are People
I was drinking my coffee, walking towards the room I was about to teach in, when all of a sudden I tripped and spilt coffee down the front of my shirt. I thought, “What an idiot?! Now, I am going to look like a moron when I teach these people about union with Christ.”
A couple of weeks later, I was teaching a group of a hundred people about the Abrahamic covenant and made a reference to Tindr that made it sound like I had used the questionable “hook up app.” I hadn’t, but found myself in a situation where the more I said, “I’ve never been on Tindr,” it sounded like I had been and was trying to convince people I hadn’t.
Recently, my wife and I realized we were exhausted, cynicism and fear had invaded our heart and we found ourselves in front of our home group confessing and crying.
Pastors are people. People who spill coffee on their shirts, people who send angry emails, people who accidentally say dumb things, people who find themselves afraid, people who cry in front of their friends.
What does this mean?
1. Your pastors know the struggles of being human
We, all of us, are vulnerable, wound-able, and touchable. Pastors, like all people, have hopes that have been dashed, loves that have been crushed, and sorrows that fill their beds with tears. They have family members battling cancer, they have bodies wrecked by sin, they have hearts that settle for lesser things.
When you feel that no one cares, that no one could possibly be gentle towards you in the day of your suffering, your pastors know the painful method life employs to tenderize us. Your pastors will rarely have the answer you want, but they will be faithful to hold your hand and lead you to a Savior who is acquainted with the full range of our sorrow.
2. Your pastors love you
They love hearing your voice. They love praying for you. The Apostles Paul and John often refer to the churches they write as “little children.” Your pastors delight in serving you, they want to know when you are sick, when you are broken, and when need arises.
God has called men and women to lead and love his church. I am often challenged by some of our female ministers who seem to have no lack of love and patience for our people. I am challenged to look to their example and consider how I can grow in the affection I have for our people.
3. Your pastors are going to make mistakes
Showing up in coffee stained shirts to stumble through sermons, your pastors are not always “on.” Often, they show up to work just like you. Bleary eyed from long nights with crying children, walking into the office after a prayer-less morning, frustrated by the traffic on I35.
Your pastors delight in serving you, but there service might sometimes seem feeble and frail. Truly, they are undershepherds who are waiting for the appearance of the “chief shepherd,” as 1 Peter 5:1-11 reminds us. When pastors fail, be gracious to them. They are human, like you, and they love you.
4. Your pastors need encouragement
Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
The delight of your pastors is to see you flourish in Christ. The men and women I serve with take joy in celebrating what God is doing to conform you to the image of His Son by the power of the Spirit. They are diligent in prayer asking the Lord to bless and keep you.
Your pastors may stumble into the room, they may walk right past the question you asked or they may seem confused and tired, but they love you. They can’t help it. God has called them, for as long as they are here, to hold forth Christ to the people of God in this church in this city. The hands of your undershepherds, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are faithful, but feeble. But, it is our hope, that you might lean on us as we walk together towards our Savior.