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Pastors Are Tempted by These 7 DEADLY Diseases of Pastoral Ministry

7. Pastors Can Be Tempted by the Answer Man Syndrome.

So maybe this is more of a fresh-seminarian problem (what are you lookin’ at?).

When people ask a question, we’re chomping at the bit to correct their misconceptions. When they express a personal struggle, we’re just waiting to shove theology down their throat.

There are no questions we can’t answer, no theological stones left unturned.

It’s arguably easier for pastors to get away with this than anybody else. After all, people are coming to us for advice, right? No — actually, they’re coming because they need a shepherd.

Yet no three words terrify us more than, “I don’t know.” Even more terrifying seem to be the words, “I was wrong.”

When was the last time you repented for something you publicly preached or published? We seem to think once something’s in print or said from the pulpit, our new job is to defend it like the gospel. Here’s good news for all of us: It’s not. Sometimes the best thing we can do for people is say, “I messed that up. I’m sorry.”

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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.