Imperfect Pastors

Books and articles dealing with the subject of pastors under attack are legion. Often these narratives are little more than sob stories and hand-holding. Most of them miss the fact that we pastors deserve much of the criticism that comes our way—and God knew this would be the case.

Pastors are shepherds (by definition), but they are also sheep (by nature). We are shepherd-sheep or sheep-shepherds. Either way, we have been given an impossible task by the Chief Shepherd. We have been called to lead the flawed people of God when we ourselves are plagued with defects and blemishes.

The best of us say the wrong things at times; we may be insensitive, distracted, too weak or too strong, prone to frustration, and the list goes on. We will offend people; we will wrong people; we will stumble—and we had better get used to it.

One consolation is that our Lord knows what kinds of people He has placed at the helm of His church. This is not an excuse for sinfulness, but it is recognition that perfection will never be the mark of human shepherds. God is not surprised by this. He intends to build local churches through the labor of imperfect people, and that includes their pastors. Our Lord has designed things this way because the interaction and even the failings of God's people, when responded to biblically, produce maturity in the body.

Gary E. Gilley, This Little Church Had None (Darlington, England: EP Books, 2009), 147.