The Community Pastors Need

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

“Doesn’t every member of the body of Christ need the ministry of the body of Christ, including the pastor?” (p. 79).

This is not a trick question, but it is rhetorical.  Of course pastors need the ministry of the body of Christ. Unfortunately, many pastors aren’t availing themselves to that ministry.  Many pastors either don’t have that community or if they do, they are usually other pastors with similar ministries, in other cities, who they connect with at conferences once or twice a year.  This wouldn’t be a bad thing if it weren’t the only source of community pastors had.  Their community is typically not in their own churches amongst their own members and leaders.  Their instruction and accountability is received on their own terms at their convenience.  The pastor himself decides when he needs encouragement or help.  It is his own judgment of his heart that determines when and if others have the right to speak into his life.  And so he avoids those who know him best and keeps them at arms-length because only certain people have the right to challenge his character.  And typically it is those who know him the least and who are not privy to his quirks, weaknesses, and character deficiencies.  These pastors interact with other pastors who are doing the same things.  There are pastors who have difficulty sitting down with another member of their church without feeling the need to be in the driver’s seat; can’t have an ordinary conversation without feeling compelled to preach or teach.  They can’t learn from others or listen for too long without getting a word in edge-wise.  There is a pride there that won’t allow them to receive from others unless given permission. 

Pastors must realize they are more like others around them than they are different from them.  They cannot just hang out with other pastors who they think are the only ones who understand them and their ministry as a leader.  This mindset contributes to that pastor’s isolation and narrow circle.  Because all the members of the body of Christ have the Spirit of God dwelling on the inside they are qualified and equipped to contribute to encouraging and building up our leaders. This is the community pastors need but not the one they want. One of the things I am reminded of is when Jesus says “But you (disciples) are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father who is in heaven.  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.  The greatest among you shall be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted (Matthew 23:18).”  Pastors must remember that though they are shepherds by occupation they are brothers by identity and are part of the family of God.  Not only are they not to be called “instructor” or “teacher” by others they are also not to see themselves as that as well, because it creates a hierarchy in the body of Christ that does not exist and tempts them to remove themselves from the community of believers they need the most. 

The apostle Paul says this, “Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches (Galatians 6:6).”  Notice Paul doesn’t say let the pastor, teacher, or leader share all good things with the student or disciple, but the other way around.  Ministry leaders need to invite those whom they are accustomed to mentoring, discipling, and pouring into to encourage and bless them.  Humility allows our hearts to be refreshed by those who are used to being taught by us.  This is not just a sign of humility but also security in one’s own standing before God.


535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles