A word to really busy famous pastors
October 30, 2015
I don’t know how you men do it!
You pastor churches, write books, travel extensively, speak at all the conferences, blog, pursue advanced degrees, teach, etc. Oh, and you are husbands and fathers and neighbors. Honestly, I shrink at the very thought of it all.
Granted, and I say this with complete sincerity, you all are more gifted than me. That is not false humility on my part. It is just the fact. Some of you have been given gifts that boggle the mind. And certainly, there is a weighty stewardship behind possessing prodigious gifts. “To whom much is given…”
I look up to many of you. You have written wonderfully helpful books. You have gifts for preaching and teaching that most pastors would love to possess. I have personally benefitted from the teaching and preaching of many of you brothers. For that I am grateful. But I am also scared. I am scared that the weight of responsibilities combined with the fawning praise of fans has placed you at enormous risk. Please do not hear this as criticism but for what it is: the genuine concern of a brother who cares for you.
I do not want to see you fall. You are well known. Imagine the harm that will be done to the church if you take a nosedive. Imagine the damage that will be done to the Reformed faith and the reputation of Reformed churches if you fall under the pressure and the fame. Has the recent fall of a prominent PCA pastor caused you to stop for at least a moment to consider your own vulnerabilities?
Allow me to offer a few suggestions:
1. Go to your wife in humility, ready to lay aside some of the very things that have been so personally meaningful. Ask her if you are too busy to love her well. Ask her if your current commitments are good or bad for your family. Ask her if she feels cared for. Ask her if she is satisfied with the time you are able to give her. Ask her if your commitments have placed an unreasonable burden upon her.
2. Go to the session of your church and ask them if your current commitments are hindering your ability to be a proper shepherd to the flock. Now, understand that your session will be inclined to tell you everything is fine. After all, they are not stupid. They want you to be happy. They don’t want to risk losing you. They know that the majority of people who attend your church do so because of your gifts and the name those gifts have given you. The session will probably not want to place limits on you which will make you unhappy. So you are going to have to make it very clear to them that you need their candor.
3. Go to the ministry staff of your church. Ask them if your current commitments are hindering your ability to lead and care for them well. See the previous point.
4. Go to your children. Ask them if they miss you. Ask them if you are gone too often.
5. Look at yourself in the mirror (so to speak). Are you the husband, father, and pastor the Lord has called you to be? Or have the crush of other opportunities so ravaged your time that your first callings are suffering?
6. Go to the Lord in prayer. Ask him to help you see your own heart; your own motivations.