We Plead for Good Pastors

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

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Within our personal issues of vulnerability, there are usually troubling problems. These are bruised and painful areas, things that result in terrible devastation in our lives and loved ones. Here are just a few of them:

  • alcoholism and drug abuse
  • mental illnesses
  • homosexuality
  • sex addictions, internet porn
  • physically disabled
  • chronic depression
  • suicidal thinking
  • religious deception, cults
  • on and on…

This isn’t a definitive list by no means. (Although each are substantial issues of pain and conflict.) But as defeated strugglers we feel intimidated by leadership in the Church. We feel frustrated, and very much alone.  This is a problem.

It seems all we can see is their authority, and we are afraid.  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. (We need to make room for our sisters to help us out. Just a thought.)

Often rather than opening our brokenness up to our shepherds, we fabricate illusions of self-sufficiency and invulnerability. But we are still afraid deep down, and our weaknesses affect us profoundly. We are afraid of disclosure. We fear that some will find out who we are really.

Because we’re strugglers filled with great deal of pain and confusion, we can label ourselves as “hopeless” and very much lost.  Some of us secretly believe that they have committed the unpardonable sin. (But this is a lie, as God forgives every sin but one.)

Some have heard (or misheard) that they are going to hell no matter what they do, and that they are truly lost and irrevocably 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 an ugly and a twisted sense of our leaders in the Church. We get really strange whenever we meet them– a sort of a deep craziness I suppose. We are afraid of the ‘man of God’ and think he is going to ‘see’ an unresolved sins in our lives and shame us publicly (see Joshua 7).

Pastor, you should understand that some of us feel pretty much lost all the time.

Typically, we avoid those who are sent to pastor us.  As a result of our flaws and weaknesses we will separate from the Church. This reality is we feel like we don’t belong. We may feel like a hypocrite just coming to church. That is a warning light of trouble.

Often we try to live a life insulated from any outside intervention.  We avoid people who could really help us.  We are terribly sick, and need a pastor or elder to help us work through these things. Certainly that there is often a need for scriptural correction, but always in love– and even then with some tears.

There is a spiritual war that encompasses us. The torrents of hell are released on us and  we discover Satan working in various ways. Admitting you’re under attack is not weakness. (If you knew what you are really facing you’d be terrified.) But Jesus Christ stands to intervene for us.

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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 strugglers. They have fought for their spirituality, sanity, personality and even their sexuality. Most of them have very few relationships, and the ones they do have are seldom healthy. They are intimidated by authority and afraid of any kind of transparency.  They live under an enormous pile of shame and guilt.

We need good shepherds who 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.  Pastor, please show them how much they are loved.  Verbalize it.  We need you to help us, and share His love and acceptance, and yours as well.  We need to be immersed into perfect forgiveness. We need the Word of God and the healing that it brings to our souls. We need someone will protect us from the enemy.

It isn’t you being the perfect pastor, but us together knowing a perfect God, who flows through our imperfection quite willingly.

Some of us are not really normal. It is highly unlikely we will be completely healed in this life. We are dealing with that. Also, some of us are gifted by the Holy Spirit, but we are flawed and we struggle a lot with it. We are still members of your flock. Let our gifts touch our brothers and sisters. Don’t hinder what God wants to do. Stay faithful to the flow.

We know that pastoring has its trials and joys. We certainly don’t want to be a burden. There are forces of evil attempting to destroy us both. Be courageous, and cover both of us until the storm passes. We look forward to seeing Him face-to-face. We’ll worship Him together in glory.

We love you with His deep grace.


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Published by 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, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)

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  1. 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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