My primary job is communication. It is something I love, and I believe it is where God has gifted me. The result is that I preach as my chosen profession. On top of that, I teach youth group, lead small groups, podcast, and write this blog. I put a large amount of material into the world.
When I first began this process, I liked to make myself the hero of every story. I thought that people would admire me if I made myself look good all the time. I was raised in a time where even the commercials underlined that “you should never let them see you sweat.” I heeded the advice and became the person publicly everyone wanted.
Somewhere along the way, I began not just to think I was a hypocrite; I felt it in my soul. I knew that I was not this perfect pastor with a flawless personality, impeccable work ethic, harmonious marriage, and an unstained soul. I was a deeply flawed individual who relied on God to make it through each day.
As a result of my awakening, I decided to share more of the ugly side of me. I started letting people hear the real stories of my life. There is my struggle to develop a prayer and devotional life. There are also my issues with people, along with my introverted personality, that has repeatedly caused problems. Not to mention my ministry failures, temptations of every type, and the long list of sins I have committed. My life is a mess, and I honestly struggle as both a believer and a pastor.
Most people welcomed my openness. Others did not. I have been repeatedly told, “That is not how a preacher is supposed to think, feel and act!” Pastors are good people with few flaws, and they certainly don’t talk about them. They gloss them over and work to build confidence in their leadership. I have been called “an awful pastor” by more than one person.
Unfortunately, when preachers try to wear this public persona, it usually makes the Church stronger for a period. BUT it leads many pastors to quit, feel burnt out, depressed, and soothe themselves with some form of sin. After all, if the preacher cannot be real, then he needs to find a way to escape. The end of that story is tragic and leaves a massive wake of destruction.
I know that my honestly leads people not to trust me, to use my words against me, and become a reason to leave the Church I lead. But I am willing to risk it – if for nothing more than my own soul. Paul said that he had to learn a harsh lesson one time. He was given a thorn in the flesh to understand that God’s grace is sufficient. God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
I want to be a model of grace and the power of God. I do not want to be a hypocrite that everyone thinks highly of while living a lie.