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But of course,  we have personality weaknesses, dark fears, sometimes unhealed hurts… and these can sabotage us.

Can a pastor fail? – and, why we must stand for each other.

Based on the many promises we find, the clear answer is no.

1 Cor 15v58:  says our labour is not in vain.

John 15:  for example speaks of our fruitfulness as being an organic process- and that our bearing fruit is a gift of grace as we stay connected and dependent upon Christ. Isn’t that the default posture we all ought to have? Isn’t that simply the way we are – grafted, given new life, called and anointed? So we cannot fail, right?

Yet –

a pastor can fail:

To be diligent

To be vigilant

The Scripture too calls us to these two postures we are to take: to be diligent and to be vigilant. We are to work hard and follow through; we are to be careful and alert. We are to lead ourselves before leading others.

But of course,  we have personality weaknesses, dark fears, sometimes unhealed hurts… and these can sabotage us.

Or — we   may   feel   like   we  failed:

…. when our flock doesn’t respond.

…. when our weaknesses and limitations are not acknowledged and we are not protected; but expected to perform like another pastor.

This has become more real for us as we enter a different phase as pastors. We are now part of a church-plant, we have young children, we live in a crazed-paced society that demands quick results. There are days when the enemy would love for us to believe we have failed and to bail out. We also see and hear stories of other crestfallen pastors who feel like they failed because all they hear is the critic.

agape

~ unconditional love ~

If you are a pastor, listen:

yours is a high, holy, and difficult calling.

And sometimes you will feel the worst of all of life because it is made precisely worse for the community you build is not the community you can count on. This is not biblical, but it is real. You allay other’s fears and burdens and there seems no one to do the same for you. You reach to love others’ children and there doesn’t seem so many who love yours (especially if they are special or challenging). You are bleeding and you need to attend to and bandage another’s wounds.

In times like these, we must run to Jesus our Author and Perfecter, our Redeemer, our Prince of Peace, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father…. and more…

In times like these, there is one more thing to do. We as pastors must be tender-hearted toward each other. After all, who can understand the woe and weal of the pastoral life better than another pastor?

But I have been a lonely pastor. I have seen many lonely, wounded trying to soldier on. I wonder if we do not reach out to each other perhaps because –

~ we are not reconciled with our calling and our pains?  Most of us at some point are literally shocked at the Cross we are called to bear. Recently, i heard a missionary share how she riled against God for putting her through so much, how she wondered if it was worth it, if her faith was real… these are genuine struggles we go through and our average member may not bear this burden with us. We are then left to stoically press on and perhaps even end up living in some form of denial or avoidance.. ..and as a result, maybe we choose to avoid other pastors because it just reminds us too much?

~ we are too busy building our own enterprise and forget that this is God’s Kingdom and we are all assigned a part; and it takes all of us to see the grandeur of it all?  Our fix-it tendency is to focus our energies fixing ourselves and our problems, rather than sit with a brother or sister and pour our hearts out. The latter seem so fruitless. But we so wrong. Spiritual conversations and burden sharing belongs to the royal law of love. Pastors need community, safe places, safe people.

Our pastoral calling is going to stay. The reality of biting sheep and hemorrhaging congregations is going to persist. We have to find a healthy, godly way to navigate this.

What is yours?

As you think about it, maybe this article can help:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/march-online-only/friendless-pastor.html