10 Secrets Many Senior Pastors Keep
By Ron Edmonson
1. Leading from this position is overwhelming at times. We know Christ is ultimately in charge, but we also know it often seems everyone looks to us to have all the answers.
2. People tell the senior pastor all kinds of things about what is happening in their life or in the lives of others…many we would rather not know sometimes…and sometimes the weight of others problems we carry is enormous.
3. Most pastors walk with a degree of uncertainty, which keeps us in prayer, but also makes us question our abilities at times. It makes depression common for many senior pastors. (Need a Biblical example…see 1 Kings 19)
4. Many senior pastors fear the possibility of failing in their role, so they thrive on the encouragement and prayers of others.
5. Sometimes we allow insecurity to cause us to become overprotective of our reputation and our position.
6. We face the same temptations and occasional spiritual dryness as everyone else. This means we need accountability, but are often afraid to seek it.
7. Our spouse is sometimes the loneliest person in the church and often feels extreme pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations.
8. Loneliness can exist for all leaders and many pastors suffer from it.
9. We seldom know who we can trust, which is why we become guarded and appear hard to get to know. Most senior pastors have been burned by someone they once trusted.
10. We suspect the staff, church leaders and congregation sometimes talks about us behind our back.
I think Senior or Lead Pastors struggle with varying combinations of these. For example, I have learned to differentiate well, so #2 is not usually an issue for me. I hurt with folks and pray for them, but usually do not carry that as an 'enormous weight'. Each of us has our own burdens, I'm doing all I can to just carry mine.
Also, I don't usually feel lonely. I've got a good support system around me, and a few very good friends.
And while #5 still occasionally rears its ugly head, I mostly have tamed that beast.
But #9 is quite real for me. I am quite careful these days about where and when I share my struggles, temptations, fear, etc. Most every pastor I know understands this well, along with #10.
One area I need to improve is accountability, as #6 and the issue of spiritual dryness is often something I have to wrestle.
I'll let Susan speak for herself, but I have at times been concerned about #7.
Now, it's important to note that there are many wonderful things about what we get to do. Seriously, I wouldn't trade this role and calling. Still, it's good to reflect and - in safe places - to talk about lists like these. I think the process makes us healthier, and that's why I'm writing about it today.