It would seem that very few pastors would agree with their need to be pastored. Various pastors have told me that they are the Lord’s anointed or that they have the gifting and abilities that lead them to be above and beyond that “lowly” need of the flock. Actually, it isn’t just pastors who have this attitude, a lot of “mature” Christians who are in ministry suggest such things all of the time.
I completely disagree. I think one of the reasons that many pastors/leaders have character issues is largely due to the fact that they are unwilling to allow people to shepherd them. Sure, they may be a part of a denomination that provides oversight, but often times those that oversee are treated merely as managers. Very rarely, it seems, do those relationships go into do soul-searching and soul-building depths.
Unfortunately, the problem is two fold. On one hand, many pastors are arrogant enough to think they are “above the law” until something actually happens (moral failure, loss of vocation, etc.). These type of leaders avoid any accountability that comes there way and generally lead in a way that becomes known as dictatorial.
On the other hand, churches have become increasingly defined by a culture that assumes that pastors should have everything together and be, more or less, Jesus. If a pastor admits to struggling through issues or needing spiritual care, he’s considered less than “pastoral” and, often times, finds his way being escorted out the door. And we’re not talking about doctrinal heresy or even “major” sin here. We’re talking, “Hey, I need prayer because I’ve been really struggling with depression.”
So who pastors the pastors? Easy answer. Christians. People who love Jesus provide spiritual care for their leaders all of the time. And we need it. So, yes, ask us how our prayer life is going. Ask us what we’re reading in the Bible. Ask us how our family is doing. We really need it… just like you do.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.