I’m sick of it! Permit me to rant for a moment!
And if you’re a pastor/preacher/minister, you’re likely sick of it too. You’ve seen all the tweets and articles in magazines that act as if the pastor is a singular human in their organization, capable of creating and sustaining wonderful health and growth all by his or her own lonesome.
Here are some of the doozies I’ve heard lately:
- As the pastor, you should be the happiest person in your church.
- Pastor, what’s your staff culture? Remember, you set the culture for your staff.
- If you don’t have 5 evangelistic relationships going on, how can you expect your congregants to have any?
On and on the lists go. It all adds up to this: As the leader of your organization you’re expected to have a great family, exercise daily, be studied in theology, history, culture, music, Bible and the local and national news. You’re also solely responsible for the culture and spiritual growth of your staff and congregation, as well as their intellectual and emotional health and growth. By the way, how up-to-speed are you on fund-raising and systems-thinking and strategy- implementation? What about addiction, co-dependency, visitation, guest-services, and community activities. Oh, before I forget, don’t you have a sermon to preach this weekend?
The problem with these little maxims is that they are partly true. As a pastor and leader, you do carry some level of responsibility for all these things. Yet there are so many things to be responsible for that no human can do them all well. I don’t mean to be snippy, just realistic. I pastor in the real world with real-world limitations. And many church leaders I know are stuck in systems that they are handling with as much hard work and determination they can muster. And still others, face challenges that they cannot overcome. There are simply more considerations than some evangelical leaders understand when passing down their leadership maxims. While these considerations run the risk of being labeled excuses, for many people it’s the water they swim in. In nearly 20 years of working near, around and in churches, I know these considerations to be depressingly true.