Pastors Are Tempted by These 7 DEADLY Diseases of Pastoral Ministry

tempted

Full-time ministry is dangerous. The temptation toward spiritual pride is deadly, and it infects the body like nothing else. There are 7 deadly diseases that pastors are tempted by in pastoral ministry.

Pastors suffer uniquely with this temptation. Because people cast their gaze on us, we’re tempted to believe we’re more important, more righteous or wiser than we are. Spiritual pride is constantly creeping into my heart, and I need to be forced to face my idols squarely on to demolish them.

With that in mind, here are seven dangerous diseases particular to full-time ministers of the gospel being tempted by:

1. Pastors Can Be Tempted by the Island Syndrome.

For whatever reason, pastors tend to isolate themselves from accountable community. This is beyond dangerous — it’s stupid.

Maybe it’s the fear of losing respect when we reveal our sin; maybe it feels like one too many items on the task list. Whatever the reason, it’s not acceptable. Pastors need a community within which they can confess sin safely.

Simon and Garfunkel said, “No man is an island,” but more importantly, the Apostle Paul said, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’” (1 Cor. 12:21). When pastors isolate their sin, that’s effectively what they’ve done.

2. Pastors can be tempted by the Robot Syndrome.

Whether because of personal ambition, congregational expectations or a false sense of religious duty, pastors tend to see themselves as mini-supermen.

Just recently, a brother from abroad shared with our class the struggle he faces in his homeland: Pastors are literally expected to die from ministry burnout. He was condemned for resting from the church-planting effort in his country to come to America for training and refreshment.

Through Redeemer Church in New York, he found a voice for his struggles: He was burning out, because he was equating holiness with a superhuman ability to sustain himself without rhythm and rest.

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Nicholas McDonald
Nicholas McDonald is husband to lovely Brenna, father to Owen and Caleb, M.Div student at Gordon Conwell Theological seminary and youth/assistant teaching pastor at Carlisle Congregational Church. He graduated with his Bachelors in Communication from Olivet Nazarene University, studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University, and has spoken internationally at camps, youth retreats, graduations, etc. He blogs about writing, preaching and the arts at www.Scribblepreach.com, which has been featured on The Gospel Coalition, Knowlovelive.org and Challies.com. He currently resides in South Hamilton, MA.