Pastors are odd people sometimes…

“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28, NKJV)

As a pastor (not now pastoring a church), I have never really understood most pastors. That might sound odd, but it’s true. Most I have met seem to have a distrust of other pastors. They are guarded and generally don’t say too much.

I have been to a few pastors conferences over the years. Most of the time, I have been quite lonely at them. Odd, isn’t it? Oh, I tried to reach out to many, introducing myself, interjecting myself into conversations. But for the most part, I was just met with a blank stare. I went to this one particular conference in another state with a pastor I considered a real friend. After the last afternoon session, I called him to see what he was going to do for dinner. He replied that he was out with his friends. Imagine how I felt.

I don’t understand why pastors aren’t most open, available people in the church; but, truth is, they aren’t. I once had a counseling session with a pastor, as I was going through a very difficult time. His secretary told me I could go in now, so I walked in. He didn’t say hello, he didn’t offer me a seat, he just stared at me. I sat down and said hello. He just stared. (Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable). So, I proceeded to tell him about what I was going through while he never took his eyes off of me. When I was done, I just stopped talking. Finally, he said a few words and ended, saying “Let’s pray.” And he walked me to the door without a word. Really, it was very weird.

Now I know that pastors are people too and they are certainly are not perfect. But I wonder if they have any idea how their lack of openness and engagement affects others. Oh, I got over my bewilderment; but many haven’t.

Over the years I have spoken with many who have been hurt by seemingly “unfeeling” pastors. Some no longer follow Jesus. Some still bear the scars of being burned (but that’s another story).

I hope if you are reading this and you have been hurt, that you will continue to seek out a place of fellowship. There are some pastors out there that are really very caring although it has been my sad experience that there are far and few between.

And if you are a pastor and reading this, please don’t dismiss me as angry or bitter. Actually, I dealt with those emotions a long time ago. Perhaps, just perhaps, you might re-examine the way you interact with your congregation. Are you open and available? Are you vulnerable? Are you accountable to your congregants?

Remember, you are there to minister to them, not for them to minister to you.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Pastors are odd people sometimes…

  1. I’m sorry you have experienced those kinds of pains; but sadly, it is probably not uncommon. There is a performance aspect to ministry, and I am one that does not think performance–the P word–is a dirty word. Any time you are in front, whether in music or speaking, there is a performance aspect to it. But those in leadership, whether it is natural or not, need to cultivate the skills of being human and personable. We had a pastor once who was very good at appearing warm and open on stage, but was impossible to get to know. He protected his space so well. I finally gave up trying.

    So we grant them faults like the rest of us, but their is a responsible there that is not in the congregation–to be approachable. Lord help us if our leaders are so weak. Help your church, Lord.

    The experience with counsel you talked about is disgraceful, and if I were you, on this side of it, I would write a kind letter, explaining how his lack of warmth and wisdom made you feel. He needs a mirror to help him to better minister.

    Some I think want to appear holier than they are. Because they struggle with the same sins, they need to be aloof so as not to feel vulnerable or exposed. But as Christ’s body, that is exactly what we are. We need to see and feel that and see that we need Christ most of all.

    Sorry for the sermon!!

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