The modern pastor has to be many things to many people on many different levels at many different times. He is a preacher, a counselor, an administrator, an evangelist, a visionary, a superintendent, a shepherd, a coach, a husband, a father, a confidant, a teacher, an organizer, a speaker, a worship leader, and a follower of Jesus Christ. Too often, we (congregants and pastors alike) forget that he is first and foremost something else: human…flawed, fleshly, feeble human.
Is the pastor to lead with repute and character? Absolutely.
Is he to set forth an example of holiness and godliness in his community? You better believe it.
Is he to practice what he preaches, while living in a glass house? This goes along with the territory.
Is he to hold high the standards of biblical principles and precepts? If he doesn’t he should find another job.
But, is he supposed to fulfill his responsibilities as some sort of different life form? Not hardly! He is human.
He is a sinner, simply saved by the grace of God. The apostle Paul could attest to this fact. He was the “chief of sinners” the “least of the apostles.” He didn’t boast himself as some out-of-this-world, super-sized spiritual giant who never tasted the waters of affliction. He knew his calling and entitlement came from God. But he was human; and so are those who lead the people of God from week to week.
Here are seven signs that your pastor may very well be a human after all:
1. Your Pastor May be Human if he has a difficult time being in 10 places at once.
No need for an explanation here. One man simply cannot do the tasks of 10 men. No matter how gifted, young, or talented he is, he lacks the spiritual gift of omnipresence.
2. Your Pastor may be human if he doesn’t always preach the very best message you have ever heard every single Sunday.
One of the greatest fears in life is public speaking. The preacher does what most men fear to do multiple times a week. On top of that, he has the responsibility of delivering life-changing, bible-based, attention-getting sermons. Sermons he will be accountable to before a Holy God. This is no easy task. If he doesn’t hit a homer every time, he may be human.
3. Your pastor may be human if his family has struggles, worries, problems, and trials just like yours.
From seasonal sicknesses to spiritual attacks, the family unit is under pressure these days. Don’t be alarmed if the preacher’s family isn’t the picture-perfect, every-thing-is-always-right family that you envisioned them to be. Should they model excellence? Yessir, above and beyond that which is required. But many times, the family of the pastor turns bitter because of unfair expectations.
4. Your pastor may be human if he fails to have a photographic memory about any and every thing going on in every person’s life.
The older I get, the more I depend on pen and paper. It is hard to remember every business meeting, doctor’s visit, and prayer request of every single person; especially in a growing church. If he cannot recall what happened on the job five years ago with your boss or neighbor, cut him some slack. Do you remember what he preached last week?
5. Your pastor may be human if he has a hard time being mistake-free in his administrative, pastoral, spiritual, familial, social, financial, and networking responsibilities.
Mark it down, it will happen. There are regrets, mistakes, and mishaps in the ministry. The preacher should safeguard himself to secure that mistakes rarely, if ever happens; but the truth is, the only perfect part of the body of Christ is the HEAD, Jesus Christ.
6. Your pastor may be human if he occasionally is in an odd, weird, or even bad mood.
He sits in the same traffic you do. Enough said.
7. Your pastor may be human if he, by chance, seems under pressure by the mounting and unrelenting spiritual attacks that come at him and his family every single day.
This works both ways. The preacher should be sensitive to what is going on in the life of his parishioners, and vice versa. When a member (or pastor) seems uninterested or disconnected, it may very well be that he or she is in the fight of their lives.
I am blessed to pastor a church who understands the humanity of their leaders. We work together as a team understanding, forgiving, and embracing one another as grace-given sinners. For this, I am humbled and eternally grateful. I could not ask to pastor a better church or ministry. But I meet pastors and leaders every week who struggle with unfair and unrealistic expectations. The difficulty of living up to extra-biblical requirements is daunting. Even though men of God should blaze the path with convincing character and poise, it is unrealistic to think they are something more than what God created them to be. Pray for your leaders, lift up their arms. Call their names out to a holy God. Although it is often concealed, they are indeed human.