Monday, October 20, 2008

Are You Smarter Than Your Pastor?

Answer: Could be.

There is this convoluted idea that pastors are perfect, they have or should have answers to all of your deep theological questions and they always make the right decisions. This idea is frightening in itself because it promotes a notion that often repels people who may have a calling from actually following it. But mostly it sets your pastor up for failure.

Who wants to try and live up to an expectation of perfection? How terrible it would be to live a life based on that and knowing you're not perfect, that you will never add up. This kept me and still challenges me today in my quest in ministry. What if someone asks me a question that I don't have the answer to? What if it's a great theological inquiry I've never considered before? Will I loose all credibility if someone in my congregation or around me is smarter than I am?

We don't need Jeff Foxworthy to tell us that there will always be someone better than you, stronger than you, smarter than you, faster than you. As pastors, we are trained not to be perfect, but to love passionately in the way Christ would have us do and that means teaching and giving people the opportunity to look at things in ways they might not have before. We are given the tools, the theological academics and the community of pastors around us in order to better serve and send out those who we work for.

So I guess this means we're all human and we have to accept our gifts and our imperfections in the same package God put them in. There is no perfect pastor and certainly no perfect church. But...there is a perfect God with perfect grace who gave us a perfect gift in Christ and now we have perfect salvation. And smarter than sin.

Don't put unattainable expectations on yourselves if your pastors, or on your pastors if you're laity. Expect and demand love, ethics, care, teaching, service. These things and many others are not unreasonable to ask of your spiritual leader. Build your pastors' up with love, forgiveness, grace, patience and compassion as you have been shown through Christ. Pastor's are human too. The building up will make them better pastors whereas the tearing down will make you worse congregants. And always act in a manner which is becoming to your name, Christian.

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