Jimmy Dodd served as a pastor for 20 years before creating PastorServe in 1999 as a response to helping pastors know they are not alone in their struggles, and to offer encouragement and guidance. He believes that “Every pastor needs a pastor.” Jimmy shared with us the biggest lie pastors believe and why it’s so important to remember the Gospel.
In his book, Survive or Thrive, Jimmy talks about the lies Satan tells pastors and ministry leaders. What are some of the common lies you see pastors coming to you with they’ve been believing for so long?
“The very top lie, by far, is, if people knew you, that they wouldn’t like you, so don’t be honest with anybody. You do so much for God that you actually deserve this, that we know that this is just a little pornography in the side, a little contact with your old Facebook friend who’s like your high school sweetheart. It’s just because all you do for God, you actually deserve this. That’s a huge one. Just the fear of that you haven’t been trained you know that you shouldn’t be in this work, that you’re not competent, that you’re a fool to think that you can do it, that you don’t have anything that’s worth saying.
That you know what? You have some habits, but obviously God, He created you that way, because if He hadn’t, you wouldn’t keep doing these things you do. They just go on and on. When we walk through this, it feels like almost everyday. Satan has a very small toolbox. It’s a very small, very, very limited toolbox, and the main tool that he has is, he just whispers lies into our ears. And oftentimes, we just believe them. But those are lies that we hear just constantly from pastors.
I’m telling you, in the past two days, just to give you a little bit of context, I’ve talked about this exact issue with pastors. One guy struggles massively with huge anxiety, and he just says, “I don’t know what I’m doing in the pastoral world. I have anxiety and it’s like I shouldn’t be a pastor. I should be in any other role, because I’m asked to stand up and speak.”
Massive anxiety. I spoke with a pastor with massive depression issues. So this, for me, has been one thing I have just stressed all throughout my life. It’s a drum that I have beaten constantly, because I have had massive struggles in my life and massive doubts with my own weaknesses. Because from the time I was a small child, I had such a bad stutter that I could hardly speak. That’s not an exaggeration.
It’s like, “What’s your name?” I’d say…I would invent reasons to leave the room. I would think, “I have to use the restroom,” “I have an appointment,” “I have to leave.” I would do anything in the world because I could not say my own name. It was like, “My name is…” Half an hour later, “Jimmy.” It was just terrible. Anybody would say, “Dude, then being a pastor is probably the last thing that you ever thought you should do.” Absolutely. I thought it was a mean joke from God when He was like, “I want you to be a pastor.”
I’m thinking, “No. I want to work in the back room of some building, never speak to anybody. That’s what I’m called to.” But God, He made it very clear, “No, I want you to be a pastor.” So I had to struggle. It’s been struggles for a lifetime. I could tell stories for hours and hours. I could have 15 podcast just on this topic, and yet, it has been so good because, really, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, because it’s kept me on my knees.
It’s kept very humble. It’s kept me more humble, because I’m still prideful, but I think I’d be a mess without this. Gosh, I’m a mess now. I’d be a bigger mess without this. It has kept me more and more dependent upon the Lord to say, “Lord, you made very clear I can’t do this apart from you. I have to have you. I absolutely have to have you.”
So you know what, in hardness and all these weakness, insult and difficulty, all those things, when I’m weak in myself, I’m strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think that pastors need to just embrace their weakness. If you have anxiety, if you have depression, if you have epilepsy – we could go on and on with everything – God can use that for His glory. We know God delights and he takes the weak, and He can use things for His glory.”
Don’t miss the full conversation with Jimmy as he shares the six relationships every pastor needs.