If you were to be really honest, you might admit that being a pastor is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet.
You are likely surrounded by people on a daily basis. People who look up to you or need you.
In fact, I bet people in your congregation could be characterized as Bob from the movie What About Bob. “Gimme. Gimme. Gimme. I need. I need. I need. I need.”
I bet you can’t go to a store without running into someone who knows you.
Yet you stand alone.
No one really understands the pressure you face as a pastor.
Without knowing it, people expect their pastor to be perfect.
- To make all the wise choices.
- To know all the answers.
- To have the most well-behaved family.
But the truth is, you don’t make all the wise choices, you don’t have all the answers, and you don’t have the most well-behaved family. You may be surrounded by people, but I doubt those people truly know you. The state of your life may even feel the opposite of connected and known.
God didn’t intend ANYONE to live disconnected, unknown, and alone. And God didn’t intend PASTORS to live disconnected, unknown, and alone.
So if that’s true, let me give you a few reasons why you as a pastor need to find community and connection with others.
ONE: Pastors are wired for community and connection.
You and I both know God didn’t intend for us to do life alone. In fact, in Genesis 2:18 He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Now this was after God had spent time creating all the things. He filled the earth with all sorts of creatures, yet out of all that God had made, there was only one thing that He said wasn’t good: it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone.
Adam needed a person, so God gave him Eve. But God wasn’t just saying Adam needed a wife. God was saying Adam needed company. Conversation. Community. To be known by someone.
You see, from the beginning, God wired us for community. He even wired pastors for community.
TWO: Pastors need community to experience connection.
It’s easy for pastors to feel like they need to have it all together—that they don’t need to need anyone. And with that effort can come a lot of fear of vulnerability. You may fear opening up and being real. The result of that fear is shame. “Is there something about me that if someone knew it would make me unworthy of connection?” The answer to that question often keeps pastors at bay from truly connecting to others. But in order for connection to happen, you have to allow yourselves to be seen.
THREE: Pastors need community to serve as safeguards.
Most of the time, pastors spend their time safe guarding others, but never allowing someone else to do the same for them. Sin always happens in secret, in isolation. It grows and flourishes in the dark. Being in community is a place of light. And we aren’t just talking about a major moral failure or career ending sin. The sin of pride, for instance, can just as easily taint the heart of a pastor. Someone in your life needs to know what is happening in your life. Someone needs the right to ask hard questions of you.
FOUR: Pastors need community to be comforted.
Pastors exert a lot of time and energy comforting others. There are countless counseling sessions, hospital calls, or moments caring for someone after the sermon. One of the beautiful things for a pastor to experience is the comfort from someone else.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV).
When you allow someone to step into your life and comfort you the way you’ve comforted others, you allow them to experience something like Jesus.
These reasons why you need community and connection are likely not new to you. These are probably reasons why you’ve told others to be in community.
But even still. The truth is…
- We all need a cheering section.
- We all need a tribe of people who are a support system.
- We all need people who we can let our guard down with.
- We all need people who we can be our real self with.
- We all need to feel connected.
And since even you, the pastor, were wired for community, is there a place where you can be the real you? Is there a place where you don’t have to be the leader?
Today, I want you to answer those questions. And if the answers are no, then I want to ask you to take a step.
- Find someone (or someones) to connect with.
- Think about someone who fully accepts you.
- Think about someone who is safe to talk to. And initiate a connection.
- Take a step towards community.
It may be awkward. It might even be messy at times. But you are worthy of love and belonging! Connection brings purpose and meaning into our lives. And if God hardwired you for this, don’t you think it will lead to a greater life story?
Don’t do life alone. Don’t let the pressures of being a pastor isolate you.
You are worthy of connection.
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