Something that you need to know about your pastor is that he (she) is always being watched. For some reason there is this strange fascination with the pastor. People want to know where they live (I try and keep the cave well hidden), what kind of car they drive and even what restaurants they frequent. If MTV did a series of episodes called Pastoral Cribs I bet it would be very popular.
I can only assume that some of this obsession is because a lot of people think the pastor is in some way different from them. It’s like they have somehow achieved something that other people may never experience. Not everyone feels this way mind you but a lot of people do.
Another way pastors are watched is in their conduct. People are looking for us to mess up and we never let them down (refer to the next post in this series). Maybe they want to catch us speeding, losing our temper or doing lines with a homosexual prostitute but whatever the mistake you can bet someone saw it. And that person is usually already cynical to begin with and terrible at keeping secrets. So whether it was just a little mistake or not, for the pastor everything can turn into a life altering situation if not handled swiftly.
I believe this happens for one of two reasons. Either people simply love to point out the shortcomings of others and what a better candidate than the pastor or they feel it excuses them from their own failures. It’s as if they say that if the pastor can’t keep it together then there is no hope for the rest of us so why bother. Sure does make life easier with all of that pressure removed.
With the above in mind let me just say on behalf of all pastors, we are not your excuse. We will mess up because we are human which is the same reason you mess up. The sooner we realize this the sooner we can take our eyes off of each other and start looking to Christ who is the only one who can deal with our mess.
This post is the reason why I protect my home. I am called to pastor LifePoint but wife is not and I do not wish to subject her to the same scrutiny that comes with that calling. I realize that on many levels there is nothing I can do to protect her from it but I will always do what I can.