Our Hearts Plead for Good Pastors

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I always felt that being a pastor was a lot like this

October has been set aside for appreciation of our pastors. I encourage you to pray for them and their families.

flourish2 Within our personal issues of vulnerability, there are usually great problems. These are tender areas: Alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illnesses, homosexuality, sex addiction, porn and chronic depression are all substantial issues of pain and conflict. But as defeated strugglers we are often intimidated by leadership in the Church.

It seems all we can see is their authority, and we are fearful.  Typically, in our fellowships, our pastors and elders are men.  And that alone can sometimes create issues in hearts looking for a tenderness that will heal.

Rather than opening our brokenness up to our shepherds, we fabricate illusions of sufficiency and invulnerability. We are afraid, and our pain still resides in our hearts.  (We were never designed to carry this.)

As strugglers with great pain and confusion, we often brand ourselves as hopeless and completely defeated.  Some of us secretly believe that they have committed the unpardonable sin. But this is a lie, as God forgives every sin.

They’ve heard they are going to hell no matter what they do, so they are permanently separated from God. They need to know this is a lie, because whenwe confess our sins, the blood of Jesus covers them ALL and cleanses us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Many of us who struggle have a ugly and a twisted sense of our leaders in the Church. We get “really weird” whenever we meet them– an intense paranoia.  Typically, we sense avoidance of those who try to pastor us.  As a result our flaws and weaknesses will only grow us away (not towards) the Church.

Cellulitis is bacterial infection of  the skin and underlying tissue.  While I was in the Army, I developed this inflammation in my right forearm.  It started as a very small spot.  My arm quickly ballooned up, and within days I couldn’t bend my arm.  The infection just continued to grow and spread.  But I refused to see a physician.  When I finally did, they had to drain the wound, and I was put on heavy-duty antibiotics and bedrest. I could have easily lost my arm.

Often we try to live a life separated from outside intervention.  We avoid people who could really help us.  But we are sick, and need a pastor or elder to work through these things. But they intimidate us, and we expect to be rebuked, reprehended and rejected.  Certainly that there is often a need for scriptural correction, but always in love– and even some tears.  

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An Open Note to All Pastors and Leaders:

There is almost always a definite frailty that is common in the hearts of us strugglers.  We have fought for our spirituality, sanity, personality and even our sexuality. We have very few relationships, and the ones we do have are seldom healthy.  We are intimidated by authority and afraid of any kind of transparency.  We live under a enormous pile of shame and nasty guilt.

We need “good shepherds” that can be deliberately gentle and tender. Pastors and elders ought to reflect the astonishing grace of God.  We need His deep love, and you must show us what that’s like.  Please show us.  Verbalize it.  We need to know that we have been forgiven, over and over. Make much of the Grace of God.

You may already know this, but some in your flock have broken walls. Our boundaries are down; they are crumbled, and we are in true danger.  We need you to help us, and share His love and acceptance, and yours as well.  We need to be immersed in the atmosphere of spiritual kindness and forgiveness. It’s not you being a perfect pastor, but us together knowing a perfect God, who flows through yours (and my) imperfection quite willingly.

“We don’t forgive people because they deserve it. We forgive them because they need it–because we need it.” ― Bree Despain

We are not like the “norms” in your congregations.  It is highly unlikely we will be completely healed in this life. Also, many of us are gifted by the Holy Spirit, but we are flawed and we struggle a lot. Pastors must grow in their gifting, so maybe we will grow together. But please consider this; perhaps you need us as much as we need you (?).

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kyrie elesion, Bryan

(Lord, have mercy on us, your little flock)
 
 
 
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About Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, epilepsy, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alaska.
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6 Responses to Our Hearts Plead for Good Pastors

  1. continuingtobloom says:

    As it turned out my pastor was just mouthing the words ‘be real’. No one else took the cue to be real or open either. I left that ship wrecked church almost a year ago now. It had no place for a hurting, broken woman. They all seemed to prefer being busy with outings and food. I’m sure that’s a lot less work. After all, isn’t ‘work’ a four letter word?

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  2. “Rather than opening our brokenness up to our shepherds, we fabricate illusions of sufficiency and invulnerability.” I have seen that sometimes pastors do this sort of fabricating, too. We are intimidated by them, but they are just as much intimidated by our expectation that they be perfect pastors. We are each and every one of us broken, insufficient, and vulnerable. I pray we all see that truth and come to the only One who is sufficient. I pray we give our pastors permission to be vulnerable along with us.

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  3. Thank you. He has left the door open by saying that if I needed or wanted to talk he is there. He knows that I am really struggling and he knows that my issues probably involve my well known husband who isn’t really what/who he seems. I am gun shy as I’ve been burned by the ‘church’ before. I have to trust God to not lead me into a nest of vipers here. I am so hurt and need fellowship of true believers so badly. But the ugly reality is that many people think highly of the person I’m married to and may turn on me again for seeking support and direction. I am at a loss. This could be a victory for God in healing or a victory for Satan in tearing me down again. Trusting people just hasn’t worked out for me. It has taken me nearly 10 years to return to church.

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  4. I am relatively new at my church, been attending since April. But I’ve been going to the Wednesday evening service, as well as the Sunday evening service so I’m pretty well known by now by the ‘core’ (?) group. I must say that I feel way too messy to let out all of my truth to the pastor. But with my mother’s recent diagnosis of lung cancer I have been blessed to find that they’ve become the loving body of Christ to me. Maybe in time, I can open up and maybe in time I can reveal who I really am. It is so complicated. I will see where and how Jesus leads me. I just want somebody to know me and the pastor has been asking us all to be real. Does he really mean that? Or would he be sorry he asked?

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