If you have been following me for awhile, you know my favorite quote from CS Lewis is, “The prayer that precedes all other prayer, is may the real me meet the real you.” I strive to live by that quote as much as possible.
There’s something about being real about who you are, good and bad, that gives a sense of freedom. There is risk involved, and balance that needs to be obtained, while figuring out how real you should be. The goal is to be real in order to open yourself up for others to step in.
I will be real about my emotions, pain, sorrow, struggle, happiness, joy, etc. Although, there are a few stipulations I place on being real:
- You need to be real with me too.
- My vulnerability is not something for you to take advantage of
- Social media, even this blog, will not always be a place for me to share all of me. So, that means, we need to meet in person, then we can get real together.
The problem is, as a pastor, I know how hard it can be for other pastors to live in this freedom. One of the main reasons is the idea of vulnerability. Pastors do not want to open their self up to attack, rumors, trust issues, and much more.
However, there are some major reasons pastors should consider in regards to sharing their personal struggles, and weaknesses.
- Breaks Down Walls: It is an unfortunate reality, but so many pastors carry themselves in such a way that makes them seem sinless. They walk with a posture of perfection. People come to them for advice and confess their struggles, which puts them in a place of power. The power creates a barrier in how honest they will be about their struggle, especially since the fear of losing power can creep in, as they consider being open. When people see the pastor as human, then it might make it easier for them to come to seek advice. Pastor: Be wise and use discretion, but be willing to be real.
- Teaches the Congregation: When the congregation hears messages that only discuss how the outside world is sinful and broken or the congregation has the issues, the risk that comes in to play, is people who have come to accept Jesus could begin to believe that they are sinless. It becomes an US vs THEM mentality. We aren’t against people, but Satan. People need to know that even the pastor is susceptible to sin. Being real allows freedom for pastors to step down from a pedestal. It also teaches the congregation that the only one who can be lifted high is Jesus. No pastor is above weakness and trial, and the congregation needs to know that.
- Brings Freedom: I have touched on this, but the importance of freedom needs to be stressed. So many pastors who hold back on sharing their past or struggles they are currently going through get worn down. They are carrying a burden that is unnecessary. Hiding your past is not healthy. You don’t need to give dirty details, but be real about being dirty (I mean that in a clean way). Allow yourself to experience the freedom of being real about your struggles and rest in Christ’s calling on your life. He didn’t call perfect people to follow Him, so why do you feel like you need to be? Your freedom can assist in others achieving the same feeling.
Being real requires boldness, honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. Yet, it requires wisdom and discernment, especially with how far you go.
CONGREGATION CONVERSATION: Allow your pastor(s) to be human. They will fail you, but it doesn’t make them less of a pastor. Take them off the pedestal and allow Christ to speak to you through their words to guide you. Give your pastor(s) space and be people they can trust to share their struggles with.
May we find strength and boldness to share our burdens with each other. May we remember, although we are pastors, it does not mean we are not human. May we find freedom in being open about our trials, struggles, and weaknesses.
Peace and blessings friends.
QUESTION: If you’re a pastor: How hard is it for you to share about your brokenness to your congregation?
If you’re a church attendee: How would you respond to a pastor who was honest about their issues?