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Pastors Are Tempted by These 7 DEADLY Diseases of Pastoral Ministry

3. Pastors Can Be Tempted by the High Priest Syndrome.

This is especially tempting for those of us with degrees, people pleasing tendencies or shepherding gifts. Though we’d never express it blatantly, we act as though we are the mediator between God and our congregation.

Rather than replicate ourselves through nondegreed leaders, or free lay-people to plant churches and lead small groups, we hoard ministry opportunities and train people to treat us like their high priest.

Once again, this is bad ecclesiology — “If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” (1 Cor. 12:17-18).

4. Pastors Can Be Tempted by the Copycat Syndrome.

It’s a great thing to have a mentor; but it’s dangerous to be a copycat.

The other day, I made a jab at a prominent ministry leader, to which a friend replied (jokingly) — “Don’t you DARE insult so-and-so!” It was a funny moment, because inwardly we both knew our tendency to set superstar pastors on pedestals and proclaim, “I follow Paul! I follow Apollos!” (1 Cor. 3:4).

Rather than make it our goal to copy the ministry of someone we admire, we need to learn what we can while also contextualizing Jesus’ ministry to our particular time and place (imagine what would happen if Tim Keller moved to Minnesota, John Piper moved to 1500s Geneva, and John Calvin moved to New York and no one changed a thing … it would be a ministry disaster!)

More importantly, we need to rest in the way Jesus uniquely created us, rather than trying to be justified by becoming like someone else.

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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.