So I was just randomly thinking about all the ways we as pastors potentially deceive ourselves and thus possibly deceive those around us as well:
That we are great prayer warriors. “To the degree that we value public prayer over private prayer, we are seeking the approval of men, not of God.” –Darrin Patrick. Many of us pray well or at least decently in public, but how much do we pray in private? Many of us talk about prayer, but talking about prayer doesn’t make us prayer warriors.
That we are more generous than we are. Paying a tithe does not make us generous. God calls for all believers to give 10%, therefore 10% should be the minimum for a pastor. We should look at some examples like John Wesley and Rick Warren. Wesley set his expenses at 28 lbs and he lived off of that for the majority of his life, as his salary increased so did his giving. If we as pastors are just sitting at 10% then we are living in deceit if we think we are generous.
That we care more than we do. Just because a pastor visits all the time and seems to always be extending his time and energy for the needs of his or her paritioners doesn’t mean we have an abundance of care for the people. I once heard a conversation between two pastors, it went like this: Associate Pastor, “Family A. contacted me the other day, Mr. A is having some health challenges and he had to go to the hospital. It looks like he is going to have to have surgery.” Lead Pastor, “Why didn’t they call me?” When your lead question out of this conversation is about yourself, then we are deceiving ourselves, we are not that caring.
That we are spending a lot of time with God. I am in the Bible every day, this doesn’t mean I am spending time with God every day. Every day I answer folks question with the Bible or I am working on a sermon. Maybe I am sending out some scriptures to encourage an individual. This is not spending time with God. NOTHING can replace a set aside quiet time with God!
That we are great preachers. Just because people say “good job” at the door, doesn’t mean we are are any good at preaching. A little note y’all, people just don’t like to feel uncomfortable so they say “good job” whether it was good or bad. How do I know this? A couple ways, when I was in college I would go out and preach at small local churches. At these churches by the affirmation of the paritioners you would have thought I was Dwight Nelson or something. Then I would go back to preaching class, preach the exact same sermon, probably better than I had the first time, and my peers would point out to me dozens of ways to improve! Another way I know is that I get the exact same “good jobs” today as I did 10 years ago, and I think it is safe to say I’ve gotten a little better. Great preaching helps to grow people and grow a church. It is like the old adage, “if you think you’re a leader, look behind you, if no one is following you ain’t a leader.” (Or something like that:)). If you think you’re a great preacher and no one is showing up to listen, you probably need to grow in this area.
These are just some ramblings that were going through my mind.
What other ways do we deceive ourselves? Whether pastors or laity?