The humanity of spiritual leaders
(Originally written on May 21, 2010, this was to help me process the struggles of leadership and being an example to others.)
Often times I talk with pastors and lay leaders in the church and one of the biggest stress we face is our inability to allow ourselves to be human and fraile.
Our leadership role produces extreme stress on us to never fail in any area of life. We can barely have a time of decompression to vent about the constant pressure placed upon us by God, those we serve and the thousands of people with whom we would love to share Christ.
Should we have a thorn in our side, would any of the people around us be as forgiving and patient as our Lord?
Do you see the conflict? It is ok to read about David and Paul make mistakes and fail to be restored by God… it makes all of us say “if they struggle and fail, then I’m not that bad.” It also provides hope of restoration by God and man.
However, we don’t allow those leaders around us the same ability to struggle or fail. If a leader admits to have moral, financial, marriage or family problems they are often immediately removed from leadership, rejected from fellowship, suffered from gossip within the leadership and congregations of the church among many other things.
Picture this, if your pastor were to make the same mistake as king David and cheat on his wife, what would be your reaction?
If your sunday school teacher admits having problems in his marriage, what would be your reaction?
Would you seek to restore the brother/sister as directed by the Bible or would you turn and run away? would you brush it off with “I’ll pray for them”?
We, the leadership, should be held to a higher standard of conduct; but we also need to feel safe in admitting that we aren’t perfect. If you are able to be imperfect and allow God to use us to restore you and counsel you… we also need to have the same grace applied to our lives.
Take a moment today and pray for the leaders God placed in your life, past and present and future. Then approach that leader and let them know they can feel safe with you in sharing their failures and problems. You will become more valuable than you may understand.
(It’s sad but I feel obligated to state that I am not writing this because of some hidden sin in my life. Unfortunately many of you probably already made that assumption.)
This is an open discussion really. I find it very hard to be in the limelight all the time and never allowed to make a mistake. Always under the microscope, however we have to realize that all Christians are really examined on a daily basis by others around us, some wanting us to fail and make a fool of ourselves. I don’t know, no one is perfect, but as leaders in the church our lifestyle should be one that can be emulated.
What do you all think?