Saturday, March 11, 2006

Shepherding the shepherd

“This is the problem when pastors are neglected to be pastored. Pastors need pastoring, too.”

To piggyback on Evan’s point, there’s a big difference between leaving the ministry and leaving the faith.

A man may leave the ministry because he has left the faith, but leaving the ministry is not, of itself, the same thing as leaving the faith.

You can obviously be a Christian without being a Christian minister. The pastorate is simply a social role which some Christians take on, and you don’t know what it’s like until you do it.

Some Christians may go into ministry for the best of intentions, but find out that they are not cut out for the job. They may have the wrong temperament.

You don’t know what you’re good at or bad at until you try your hand. Like dating, you may not find your wife to be on the first date!

It’s very easy for a minister to become emotionally isolated. Unless he manages his time well, he will begin to neglect his friends and family and prayer life. His sermon preparation and Bible study will become mechanical rather than devotional.

Ministers are subject to the same dry stretches as the rest of us.

Back when he was a member of a local church, or a seminarian, he had a circle of peers to turn to.

But as a minister, everyone looks up to him. He is the role model. The “official” Christian. It isn’t safe to let his guard down.

One source of pastoral burnout can be a point of strength as well as weakness. A naturally compassionate man is easily hurt and emotionally exhausted, for his sensitive nature cuts both ways. He can only get close to others by allowing others to get close to him.

If he’s betrayed and abused, he will react the same way that any large-hearted man will react.

It’s a delicate balancing act. Some men are too thin-skinned for ministry, while others are too aloof or to combative.

Some men would have had very successful ministries had they not run aground a particularly vicious clique within their church. That beached them for future ministry.

The ministry of the church should reach out to men who have left the ministry.

It should also reach out to men who have left the faith.

There is, though, a difference between leaving the faith and turning against the faith.

A difference between walking out the church door and burning the church to the ground so that no one else can go in.

When a backslider or apostate becomes a spiritual arsonist, then it’s time for the rest of us to hose him down.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I would like to share with you a good ebook that's free to

    help pastors and their wives with discouragement and burnout. You can

    find it at: . It's quite helpful.

    If you have pastor friends or even their wives, we are

    currently inviting pastors and pastor wives to join charter

    membership club for free for 2 months,you might want to share this

    with them. You may visit for more


    We would also like to invite you to view our video on this topic at

    Feel free to share this with your friends or people you care



    Susan David