One of the best ways to discourage a pastor is to make him feel he is unneeded. In fact, a pastor’s desire to feel needed shows itself in a variety of ways. The most obvious way the desire for significance manifests itself is in the pastor wanting to do all the work. He has to make every visit. He has to preach every Sunday. He has to be at every meeting. He has to conduct every wedding and funeral. Because of this desire, he will not delegate tasks. He will not take his vacation time. He will not allow others to help. This controlling posture in the church can easily be camouflaged as faithfulness and zeal to labor hard in the work of the ministry. However, it eventually leads to two common results: burn out and family neglect.
The demand for significance can also lead to the neglect of the family when certain people in the church make him feel more significant than his wife and children do. A pastor can easily deceive himself that he really needs to meet with a young man in the church to help him work through his problems—even if it means missing dinner with the family for the third straight evening. A pastor should not underestimate the persuasive power of a young man who thinks he hung the moon and hangs on every word he says, when compared to a tired, spent wife and cranky toddlers that await his homecoming.
Pastors, we all desire to feel needed. Do not allow that desire to cloud your discernment that will inevitably lead to bad decisions and skewed evaluation of our priorities.
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the husband of Cara and adoring father of four children, son, Samuel and daughters, Abby, Isabelle, and Claire. He has served in pastoral ministry for over fifteen years and is currently in his eighth year as Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He is also the author of Visit the sick: Ministering God’s grace in times of illness (foreword by Mark Dever) and Test, train, affirm, and send into Ministry: Recovering the local church’s responsibility to the external call (foreword by R. Albert Mohler Jr.). Both of these volumes are published by Day One in their pastoral series designed to serve pastors, church leaders, and those training for local church ministry. Brian has also published Help! He’s Struggling with Pornography and Conduct Gospel-centered Funerals (co-written with Phil Newton).
A Faith That Endures: Meditations on Hebrews 11 is Brian’s newest book, released in fall of 2011. His next book on The Pastor’s Family, co-authored with his wife, is due to be released by Zondervan in Fall 2013.
To find out more, please visit Practical Shepherding.