Should Every Pastor Publicly Repent? I Did.

Recently our church held a service to celebrate what God had done over the past year. It was a great time of celebration, with a twist. On that day I brought a message that included something I’ve never done before. I publicly repented.

Up to this point in my 30 years in full-time ministry, when I’ve heard that some pastor publicly repented it meant he’d confessed an affair or some egregious sin. My repentance, however, did not involve outright sin, but very subtle attitudes and behaviors that had sneaked into my leadership.

So, in keeping with the Apostle Paul’s thoughts on repentance in 2 Cor. 7.10, where he writes that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret….I felt God prompt me to share 10 “I repents” with the church that day. Here they are.

I repent that…

  1. I’ve allowed myself to get too comfortable in my Christianity
  2. By doing so I’ve encouraged you (the church) to stay comfortable in yours
  3. I’ve subtly fostered a consumer mentality (striving to make each week bigger and better and hipper than the previous week so that people will want to consume our spiritual goods rather than go to the other hip churches in our area to consume theirs)
  4. I’ve unintentionally prioritized bringing people to the church rather than sending the church to the people
  5. I’ve allowed the people pleaser monster to rear its ugly head (Prov. 29.25, the MESSAGE, The fear of human opinion disables…)
  6. I’ve sought too often to minimize risk and maximize safety (J Oswald Chambers: The frontiers of the kingdom of God were never advanced by men and women of caution.)
  7. I’ve allowed organization, process, and systems to trump heart, passion, and people too much
  8. I’ve allowed the barrenness of busyness to slither into the church and into my life as well (Bill Hybels: ”Doing the work of Christ is killing the work of Christ in me.” )
  9. I’ve not given discipleship the attention it needs
  10. I’ve created too great a dependency upon the ‘professional’ clergy

This vulnerability took lots of guts for me to publicly admit these issues to our church. Their response? Overwhelmingly positive.


Do you think God is calling you to publicly repent?

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