Monday, January 12, 2004

Pastoral Stress (Addendum)

This topic has generated several comments so I thought I'd add some additional thoughts.

Other stress factors are mixed or unclear visions. I have seen numerous occasions where ministers come together to pastor a church as associates or co pastors but the vision for the kind of church they want to be is unclear or undefined. This creates much stress as the church matures since the leaders will pull against each other. This disunity is not usually aggressive or malicious but is discouraging, nevertheless. A similar issue to this is an associate to a domineering or authoritarian type senior pastor. It doesn't take long to sap the passion and joy out of serving the Kingdom when its man's Kingdom you're serving and not the Lord's.

Another issue that separates pastors from ministry is their own sin issues. An unfortunate reality is that many of the issues that infect our culture infect our churches and our pastors. The pressure to hide sin is always high but in a person who has influence in large part due to a perceived godly lifestyle this pressure is enormous. This can create an environment where a pastor, in order to keep his job, will refrain from confession of sin. This is obviously counter to the word of God, which clearly states that confession is our route to healing. A pastor who is continuing to minister with a hidden life he is trying to maintain is destined for collapse. Realizing that pastor's are people first and pastor's second they, like most other people, are susceptible to vices during times of stress. When pressure builds most people turn to "comfort areas" for relief. And if a past "comfort" involved addictive behavior it is easy to return to the addiction.

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