Comparing Pastors

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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  • Héctor Rodríguez says on

    Excellent reflection.

  • Jan Miller says on

    This is so right on. Our pastors are our shepherds. They protect the flock. They look for us when we stray. They care for us and feed us (from the Word) as a shepherd does his sheep. Now my question is, who cares for him/her? Who protects him/her? Who feeds them when they need encouragement and support? Who looks for them when they stray? We need each other…who loves the pastor? Do u tell your pastor you have his/her back and mean it? Do u tell him/her, u love him/her and mean it? Do you protect them both verbally and physically when needed? I’m guilty of not doing my part at times. God forgive us and give us grace to give our pastors mercy and grace as God has given us much mercy and grace. We are all human and we all are sinners. We need to love as Christ loves.

  • Precious Banda says on

    Thank you and I so pray people stop comparing pastor because that’s what bringing in all this critics may God help us to love our pastors.

  • Wow! I really enjoyed reading this article!

  • Great article! Seeker friendly Pastors have compromised the Word so as to not offend new attendees….this needs to be addressed. I know God will extend mercy only so far and when no repentance is found He will for the sake of His sheep begin the judgements and corrections for He is a Holy God and cheapening the blood of Jesus will not be tolerated. Love our Pastors but also in that love hold them accountable to the preaching and teaching of the whole of scriptures and make sure there is a discipleship mentoring happening. God bless! Dan

  • To God be all the glory..
    They need our prayers as their congregation and as they are also our spiritual mentor.
    Very powerful. May God bless you.

  • Thank you for this

  • Some pastors (ministers in other parts of evangelicalism) are under lay control in their congregations. Thus, they can do only what they are allowed to do. This means that they can be judged/compared in one way by the congregation and in another way by the leadership. The leadership may never have asked the members what they wanted the pastor to do and never told the congregation what they expected of the pastor, since it was likely subjective.

  • Very encouraging. Thanks!

  • L Sullivan says on

    This is very timely powerful and insightful. My prayer is those of us who are a member of a congregation will take heed to this posting. As a pastor’s wife it is very hurtful to know the sheep that the pastor looks over are so critical of the pastor, and have no compassion for what the role of a pastor is

  • The other important change is how we define what the role of a pastor is. The face of the church, the talent, the reason people come, etc. I think you get the idea. We have lost what it really means to be a pastor. As one Puritan preacher said a long time ago, the greatest gift a pastor can give his congregation is a godly life. His ability to preach, lead, and shepherd flows out of who he is not just what he does.

  • This is awesome and timely! I believe God is doing a major reset on how the TRUE PROCLAIMERS OF THE GOSPEL IS VIEWED, TREATED, PRAYED FOR AND RECEIVED!

    Thank you Sir!

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