We see our pastors as many things.
Counselor, motivator, preacher, scholar…the list goes on.
But let’s be honest: sometimes, it’s easy to imagine them as something far greater than they really are…
…like a super-hero straight out of a Marvel comic, loaded with heavy artillery, always on guard to defeat the darkest forces of evil.
However, regardless of what we like to think, pastors aren’t superheroes.
They don’t shoot lasers out of their eyes, webs out of their wrists or leap buildings in a single bound. They don’t possess Asgardian power, cyberpathic links…or the ability to save the world with incredible displays of Bible trivia and prophetic insight.
On the contrary, what pastors share with our dream heroes are much less enviable.
But though they may not possess earth-shattering superpowers or battle alongside valiant sidekicks, they still carry enormous responsibility.
For instance, not only must pastors fearlessly lead while warring behind closed doors, but they also must demonstrate consistent self-sacrifice, willing to die for not only what they stand for, but whom they stand for.
So while we may think our pastors are protective guardians living largely in extravagant estates complete with lavish interiors and ritzy paraphernalia, the reality is our pastors are silent sufferers…dirty shepherds wrestling with the same ups and downs as everybody else.
They aren’t any more perfect.
They aren’t any less weak.
Yet, all the while, it’s one emergency after another: a hospital call, a parishioner’s broken marriage or an untimely death…their life and desires put on hold as they faithfully tend the needs of the flock.
Thus, the idea of pastors having it easy…couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘Cause when we go behind the scenes, we don’t find clean-cut lives saturated with serenity, but rather ones messy and muddled….filled with desperate tears and inherited heartbreak.
Sure, the world may think pastors have to have it all together in order to be effective…in order to be qualified…that somehow, it’s up to them to do the “saving”. But sometimes, we forget how important it is for our pastors to struggle…to battle…to contend…to model by way of vulnerable action…all the while operating as the living embodiment of Galatians 6:2.
So as a young pastor, learning this firsthand, I encourage you to pray supernatural strength and endurance (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4, James 1:12-18, Colossians 1:11, 1 Corinthians 10:13) over your church leaders, understanding no matter how heavy the load, they’ll
almost always carry a greater bullseye on their back.
And if you’re in a place of leadership, I challenge you to pray for your staff and team members to stay the course…to keep trusting God even when you feel invisible.
‘Cause when we talk about our pastors and ministers, there will be inevitable down days when they feel like anything but a superhero.
Yet, we don’t have to be indifferent bystanders, disengaged from supportive action.
But rather, we can be empowered by praying for our leaders to be empowered…and we can be encouraged by encouraging the people who make it their mission to encourage us…remembering even when we feel alone and misunderstood, there’s a God inspiring pastors and non-pastors alike to war for one other.
‘Til then, rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).
Image from Kevin DeYoung