Only being a head pastor for a little over a year now, my biggest fear is failure in ministry.Just a few thoughts about being a pastor as I am sitting in a coffee shop finishing up a manuscript for a wedding I am doing tomorrow. As a head pastor, I feel the pressure, even more than when I was a youth pastor, of needing to look and act perfect inside and outside the church. I know I am not perfect, far from it, but my fear is my church seeing that.
However, I believe our churches must see our imperfections. Growing up in church, I would see the pastor as being perfect. So, whenever I would see a pastor messing up, or showing their sinful side, it would make me question things.
When I decided to become a head pastor, the pressure of being perfect caused me to fear taking on the role of head pastor, and even brought on pressure and stress that wasn’t there to begin with.
So, pastors, don’t be perfect.
1. Don’t be perfect for the sake of your church.
To give your church the mentality that you are perfect and never mess up gives them a false hope in you, and a higher standard for you. My church has seen I am sinful. I confess my sin in the pulpit and in my teachings. I never try to show my church in any way that I am hero, instead I share many illustrations that express my failures.
2. Don’t be perfect for the sake of future ministry leaders.
I needed to see that pastors are imperfect. Whenever pastors share with me their failures, it gives me a peace in knowing I am not alone. If we try to show perfection as a ministry leader, we give future ministry leaders too much pressure when they feel called into ministry. Showing our imperfection will release that pressure from future ministry leaders because, here’s the greatest thing about the gospel! Because Christ is our perfect Savior, God likes to use imperfect people, and if you’ve read your Bible, you’d see throughout the whole Bible God is using imperfect people to display His glory.
3. Don’t be perfect for the sake of the gospel.
If we are going to share the gospel with our words and our actions, then people need to see you are imperfect. The gospel is expressed in our confession and repentance because we recognize our sin and imperfection and rest in the One who is sinless and perfect. It is through His death and resurrection He has made us perfect, not because of who we are or what we have done but because of who He is and everything He has done.
As Dayton Hartman says in his book, Lies Pastors Believe, “The moment we lose sight of who we really are—sinners in need of Christ—is the moment we begin believing lies.”
So, pastors, don’t be perfect. Show Christ’s perfection as we express our imperfection.