I was ordained as a pastor at 22. And I love my job. I’ve also hated it. But most of all, I am grateful. Thankful to God that He saw something in me and allowed me the privilege of serving His people. But I have messed up so much, that I’m constantly surprised that He keeps believing in me. I’m humbled that so many people have supported me. Sat through my teachings. Been kind while I failed.
So here are the 15 biggest mistakes I’ve made as a pastor. I know there are probably 30 more – I just hope that my current self-awareness helps you become a better leader/boss/servant yourself.
1. When I told other people to, “Get over it”: I usually said it a nice way. I sounded spiritual and caring while doing it. But it was the fleshy advice of someone who didn’t care. I didn’t want to be that someone, but most of the time I was so consumed with the things I was dealing with in my own life, that I had nothing else to give. So “get over it” really meant, “I have no solution.” “I have no energy to walk this road with you.” I think we both need help!” From now on, I’m going to try my best, just to listen to my friends.
2. When I pretended to be humble: (Which is the most prideful thing). But it’s so easy to do. You share enough to appear humble, but not enough to actually be humbled. Our generation is enamoured with the idea of vulnerability, but we kind of suck at it. It has become a marketing tool to appear approachable. It’s the hipster thing to do. But we still want control. We’re still ashamed. So we hide. (And now I’m aware that that’s probably what I’m still doing writing this blog.)
3. When I exaggerated the story: a.k.a. Embellished the truth – a.k.a. Took licence with reality – Lying, basically. It’s one of the biggest temptations a preacher will face. But the truth is beautiful, it’s daring , it’s captivating enough. And it carries more power than any add-ons you can produce.
[bctt tweet=”Say it like it is, or don’t say it at all.”]
4. When I booked too many meetings: It’s like an addiction. A need to meet again, and again, and again. I guess we do it because we like the people we work with. We try to communicate as best as possible. We are committed to having quality time with our team. But the “meeting” became the main driver. I forgot to value the faces and began to focus on the agenda. I realised that I was communicating unspoken messages like,”I don’t trust you”, “I need to keep my eyes on you” “Unless I lead you in this project/strategy/situation you will fail” Bull!
5. When I de-valued people’s desires and minimised their personal dreams. But people are at their best when they are doing what they want. Because we all love choices. Especially our own. And God seems to be ok with that.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps.37:4
Even when people are telling me the dumbest plan I have ever heard in my life, I smile and say, “Go for it!” “Follow your dreams”, “I just want you to be happy!” And you might be thinking, “But the gospel is about self-denial.” Oh yes it is. But that’s an individual invitation from Jesus. It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict. It’s my job to say “I’m here for you, no matter what”.
6. When I started to fall in love with Western Christianity: Which made me fall out-of-love with Christ. Dumbest. Move. Ever.
7. When I believed the lie that “ministry is a lonely place”: Which gave me permission to be a hermit, to play the victim card. Enough of that junk. We were created for community. This is not a cute church slogan, it’s a reality for survival. We need each other.
8. When I thought my sermon was awesome: Or thought my sermon sucked bad. Both self-centred reactions. Just have to trust God with what came out of my mouth. 50% of it was my opinion. The other 45% was the opinions of others, spoken through me. The 5% left was probably God (probably) (I hope). And I have to trust that He loves me, and the crowd, enough to do wonders with that 5%.
9. When I forgot to go to the bathroom before speaking: Or remembered to go the bathroom, but forgot to check if my flies were still open. (It’s happened multiple times) When will I learn?!?
10. When I told everyone how much I prayed: Or the last time I fasted (which was 2004 but I’m still taking about it). Or how good this morning’s time with the Lord was. Classic. But Jesus was all about keeping that stuff secret.
[bctt tweet=”Expose your weaknesses, let your strengths speak for themselves.”]
11. When I treated the congregation like they were all full-time pastors: Demanding stuff from them like they were all employees of the ministry. Expecting them to drop everything for the sake of the Kingdom (Carlos’ kingdom) Where I ruled as king and lord. Never forget, the whole point is to serve, not to be served.
12. When I considered missing my sons’ birthday to go on a ministry trip: I did not do it. A combination of my wife’s stare and God’s wrath allowed me to see light. But I was on the edge. And that is bad enough. I should have said “NO!” without blinking. But I thought about it. A lot. #almostadouche
13. Caring too much about your opinion, but not caring enough about your heart: Been there. Done that. And I’m sorry.
14. When I told everyone “family was priority” but I lived like the ministry was: I fell for it. Like so many others before me. And so I ask for your prayers. (And whenever I forget, I will watch the movie, Click with Adam Sandler and let God speak to me again) – My wife is my calling. My boys are my disciples. My family is the congregation. #Remember
15. When I waited too long to get help: Are you in pain? Are you constantly feeling alone? Do you have emotions that seem to be out of control? Talk to someone. Like right now. Don’t fight alone, because you might lose. And that would be a shame.
Ohhh that feels good.
There is glory in self-awareness.
Now it’s your turn.
The Absolute Must-Read book for anyone involved: The Emotionally Healthy Church by Peter Scazzero
*Share this post with your pastors and leaders with a note that says: “Thank you for not being like this guy! I love you, thank you for all that you do.”
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