In Defense of Pastors

13 Jul

Long story short, a couple of days ago I stumbled upon a discussion of a well-known pastor and some issues he is experiencing right now.  The discussion quickly fell into a discussion of how you cannot trust pastors, most pastors are in it for the money, the concept of tithing is an invention of the organized church to scam the public out of money, and the discussion continued to sink lower.  I did not know all of those involved in this discussion.  I can imagine that some of them were once involved in churches and had been burned.  Some might have never been involved, but had read news headlines and evaluated messages of pastors and formed their opinions around those (as is our nature to do) and really did not understand what a church should be about and what our obligations, as disciples of Christ, are towards God and towards each other.  I guess I could say many of the opinions and passions expressed might be different if these folks were actively involved with a church family, but perhaps that is not mine to judge …

I cannot speak for all pastors.  I cannot speak for any pastor whom I do not know personally.  And, I guess ultimately, I can only speak for myself in some of these matters.  But I can assure anyone who reads this that all pastors are not the same.

Through my serving churches in Greer, SC, New Orleans, LA, and Florence, SC, I can attest to the fact that there are many men and women in ministry who strive to be ethical and people of strong character.  Most of the ministers I know do not do this for the money.  Some might have left careers in financially rewarding fields (like myself and the industry of Information Technology) to follow a call God placed on their lives.  Many of these men and women are not highly paid, do not live in fancy houses or drive the newest cars.  And that is quite alright!!  They are still some are the richest people I know because they have realized there is more to life than a bank balance and stuff.

Some struggle.  Some struggle with the emotional stress of helping parishioners with massive problems, preparating for teaching and preaching times, keeping things rolling at their respective churches, visiting the sick and comforting the bereaved, being everything they can possibly be for those they were called to serve, and trying on top of all of that to be the right leader of their family everyday.  They feel torn when they have to leave their family at a moments notice, over and over again, to answer the call.

Honestly, many struggle with financial issues.  But no one wants to hear that.  They struggle with unreal expectations that will be impossible to meet.  They struggle with people who compare them to the last guy, or the next guy, or the guy across town, or the next comparison (whomever that might be).  They struggle with the loneliness of the job, the feeling of being ostracized from social functions BECAUSE of who they are.  They struggle to serve their congregation effectively while their own family members struggle and suffer hours away.

I do not write all of this to receive pity or to make anyone angry.  I am simply asking you to pray for your pastors and ministers.  And realize that all pastors are not alike.  Truth is, every pastor faces issues … Temptations … Struggles.

If you attend a church, do not take your pastors for granted.  You probably have a true gem and do not even realize it.  If you do not attend church, realize that almost all of the pastors around you are fine, upstanding, ethical men and women who want nothing more than to help you know and grow in Christ.

And when they make a mistake, PRAY FOR THEM.  There has only been ONE perfect man to ever walk this earth.  And we crucified Him … So ……..

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