I’ve served as a pastor for over 39 years in churches as small as 4 1/2 (my wife, two pre-schoolers, and one on the way) to churches that approached 2,000 attenders. The locations have included the far west, the midwest, the south, and the southwest. If you were to ask people after I moved from one setting to another how I did, you’d probably get a wide range of answers like I list below. And when we ask ourselves how well we think we are doing, other questions I suggest below often surface.
A sampling of responses to the question, “How well do you think Charles did?” would include…
- He was great. I’m sad he moved.
- I’m glad he left.
- His preaching really inspired me.
- I just wasn’t getting fed.
- He really cared about people.
- He was distant and unavailable.
- He had great leadership skills.
- He’s no John Maxwell.
If you’ve served in ministry for any time, you’ve probably asked yourself this question, “How well am I really doing?” If you’ve not asked that exact question, I’m sure you’ve secretly asked yourself some pretty probing ones that made you feel guilty.
Here is a list of guilt-producing questions pastors secretly ask themselves. Have you ever asked these of yourself?
- Why do I sometimes want to skip church on Sundays?
- Am I spending enough time preparing my sermons?
- Why do people really leave my church?
- I love my wife deeply. But if I think another woman is attractive, am I crazy? Or worse, am I sinning?
- Why do I feel like I don’t measure up to the expectations of … the board, my staff, my spouse or …? Is it their problem or mine?
- Am I spending enough time with my family?
- Do I pray enough?
- Does owning nice things like a nice house or a new car or enjoying things like a fancy vacation diminish my example? Is it wrong to have or experience what others in my church have?
- Why do I often feel anger inside toward people?
What guilt producing questions do you think pastors secretly ask themselves?