Comparisons of pastors have been around since we’ve had pastors. Paul wrote about it in 1 Corinthians 1:12: “Some of you are saying, ‘I am a follower of Paul.’ Others are saying, ‘I follow Apollos,’ or ‘I follow Peter,’ or ‘I follow only Christ.’”
In the first part of the twentieth century, local church pastors were compared to well-known radio pastors. In the latter part of the twentieth century, they were compared to television pastors. Beginning in the twenty-first century, the comparisons were to podcast pastors.
The Idealized Pastor Versus Our Pastor
Church members can have idealized perceptions of pastors they don’t know. These platform personalities often have charisma and incredible communication abilities. It can be tempting for church members to believe their other pastoral skills are as gifted as their communication skills.
We see our own pastors, however, up close and personal. We see their gifts, but we also see their humanity. We see them when they lose patience. We see them when they stumble in their sermons. We see their family members who, like the rest of us, are not perfect. So we often criticize them for their imperfections.
Our Pastor Versus the Idealized Pastor
But those platform personalities will not be with you in your deepest of valleys. They will not be an embrace when your loved one dies. They will not be there for weddings, funerals, celebrations, and moments of deep pain.
Your pastor knows you. The platform pastor does not know you. Your pastor is there for you. The platform pastor does not know where you are. Your pastor loves you and prays for you. Platform pastors can’t pray for you by name, because they don’t know your name.
It Is Time to Rethink How We Treat Our Pastors
It is time.
It is time to be less critical and more prayerful.
It is time to be less judgmental and more forgiving.
It is time to be less expecting and more serving.
The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh patterns and habits.
May some of those habits include loving your pastor more unconditionally, evaluating your pastor less harshly, and praying for your pastor more fervently.
I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. Ephesians 1:16-17
Posted on January 11, 2021
With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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