Posted on Thursday, June 5, 2014 in Pontifications
Writing about three pastors who resigned over extramarital affairs, James Emery White makes a point (well, it’s one of several) that all pastors need to remember:
Let me tell you something that you may have never heard before: Ministry is spiritually hazardous to your soul. If you haven’t found that out by now, you will.First, it is because you are constantly doing “spiritual” things, and it is easy to confuse those things with actually being spiritual. For example, you are constantly in the Bible, studying it, in order to prepare a talk. It’s easy to confuse this with reading and studying the Bible devotionally for your own soul.You’re not.You are praying – in services, during meetings, at pot lucks – and it is easy to think you are leading a life of personal, private prayer.You’re not.You are planning worship, leading worship, attending worship, and it is easy to believe you, yourself, are actually worshipping.Chances are, you’re not.When you are in ministry, it is easy to confuse doing things for God with spending time with God; to confuse activity with intimacy; to mistake the trappings of spirituality for being spiritual.
All pastors need to come to the decision point that White did: “I was going to be a public and private worshiper; I was going to be a student of the Bible for my talks and for my soul; I was going to pray for others to hear, and for an audience of one.”