Pastors carry a huge weight. It is a weight that sometimes is unbearable. A lot of this weight is felt by pastors because they or their congregations assume the wrong things about them and what their life is meant to look like. Paul Tripp in his great book Dangerous Calling points out some of the most dangerous assumptions that congregations make of pastors and pastors make of themselves:
It should be obvious that the unhelpful assumptions made as the pastor is coming to lead the church would be fruit in a whole set of unrealistic expectations. The biggest is that many churches simply don’t expect their pastor to struggle with sin. But he is not sin-free! Since he is still being sanctified, sin still remains and is being progressively eradicated. They don’t expect him to get discouraged in the middle of the war for the gospel. They don’t expect him to be tempted toward bitterness or envy. They expect him to be a model husband and father. They don’t expect him to be lazy or to settle for mediocrity. They don’t expect that in moments of self-protection he will be tempted to be antisocial and controlling. They expect that he will be able to joyfully carry an unrealistic job description that would overwhelm anyone this side of Jesus’s return. They expect that he will be content with significantly less pay than most people with his level of education. They expect that his wife is so fully committed to ministry herself that his coming to the church is actually a two-for-one deal. They don’t expect that there will be moments when he is tempted to doubt the goodness of God. They don’t expect that in a meeting or in the pulpit, fear of man will keep him from doing or saying the things that God calls him to do and say. They don’t expect to hire a flawed man who is still desperately in need of the very grace that he is called to offer and exegete for others.
If you are a church member what are you assuming about your pastor from this list?
If you are a pastor what are assuming about yourself from this list?
How will you change your assumptions to be more in line with what the Bible says about pastoral ministry?
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