Pastoral Advice – A Haiku

Pastoral advice
You’re a person not a role
A mask do not wear


I am sometimes worried at the way pastors take up the role of The Pastor, the ultra-competent and all-wise shepherd of the flock. It’s not that I believe they are insincere when they do so. In fact, I believe most of us are very sincere. It’s just that I think it might be a bit unhealthy.

All through our schooling, Pastors are told how important we are to the local church, and what a privilege it is to be called to serve in it. At pastors conferences these messages are reinforced over and over and over. Eventually I wonder if we hear the message so much it causes us to look at ourselves and think, “I’m nothing like I should be if I’m so essential to the church.” In response, almost in self defense, The Pastor is born.

It’s not that I don’t think pastors are unimportant for the local church, I do think we have an important calling in the fellowship. I often wonder, however, if we don’t pump up the “privileged calling” of pastoring so much that we end up dehumanizing ourselves.

Pastors have an important calling, yes, but we also happen to be people. I don’t think we honor Christ by hiding our personhood behind the mask of The Pastor. Now, if you read that sentence and think, “Yah! I’m going to go out and get drop-down drunk every night, and do terrible things to my neighbors, and be rude to everyone I meet because I am – you know – a person,” then please let me suggest that pastoring probably isn’t your calling 1. “Being a person” isn’t a license to do whatever we want, nor am I advocating that. Rather, it’s a reminder if we’re to share this pursuit of Christ with other brothers and sisters both our brokenness and our triumphs are part of the deal. The problem with pastoral masks is they sweep brokenness under the rug, where it grows into a monstrosity.

Allowing ourselves to live without the pastoral mask also doesn’t mean we experience the same level of relational intimacy with all people. People are a weird bunch, and it’s really only a special few in our lives who are able to be the deep sounding board for all our “stuff.” We can be authentic people without unleashing every gory detail of our stuff indiscriminately. Find the balance, but let Jesus take the mask away so you can really grow – both as a disciple and a pastor.

I would also like to thank Yoda for the grammar in the last line of the Haiku.

  1. Also, you really need to repent, because that’s being an awful person.