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Scott Sauls: Why Your Brokenness Is Essential to Your Ministry

Photo courtesy of Scott Sauls

Scott Sauls is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s served at New York City’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church as a lead and preaching pastor and has also planted two churches in the Midwest. Scott is the author of several books, including his latest, “Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans.”

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Key Questions for Scott Sauls 

-What were the past couple of years like for you as a pastor, specifically through the pandemic?

-What’s a better way to walk through regret, hurt and fear than by “powering through”?

-How might you encourage church leaders to acknowledge their struggles to themselves, but also to acknowledge their struggles to their congregations or their leadership?

-How might pastors resolve shame that is specifically tied to their churches not being “back to normal”?

Key Quotes From Scott Sauls 

“I think people’s anxiety levels, relational hostility, social upheaval, loneliness, isolation, all of these things just sort of reached a fever pitch.”

“For me, I think a real low point was preaching to an empty sanctuary on Easter Sunday, realizing that I can’t see anybody, I can’t read anybody’s eye contact or body language. It just felt so not incarnational. I felt so not together with our people. And I think that was a universal feeling for pastors of just feeling lonely for the people that God has called us to serve and be in community with. And of course, it triggers all kinds of anxieties and fears.”

“I had bouts with depression, bouts certainly with loneliness and isolation.”

“It’s an occupational hazard, I think, to some pastors to even think about doing real self-disclosure about our various pain points and struggles.”

“In Romans 7, Paul is talking about his own struggle with envy and coveting and discontentment and then the end of his life in ministry. He calls himself the chief of sinners, wretched man that I am…And then we see King David just pouring out his distress in the Psalms, which is our gift of what a robust prayer life, especially for leaders, looks like…And what you see is this incredible authenticity and realness that I think the people of God actually need.”

“I think people are just hungry and thirsty for a leader to show them even publicly what it looks like to struggle well.”

“I don’t want to be led by somebody who has it all together because that person’s lying and that person is not being honest. And I can’t follow that honestly, you know? And so I think we need to get over the illusion that people don’t want to be led by somebody who experiences weakness.”