Your Pastor is Broken (and It's Okay)

An old friend, Richard, recently called me. He used to live in town and attend my church. For the past seven years or so, he’s been a member of a large church in Phoenix.

We were catching up and reminiscing about old friends when he said to me, “I had coffee with my current men’s pastor yesterday, and he told me some honest things about his marriage and about something stupid he said to his wife.”

I chimed in, “That’s cool!”

He awkwardly paused, and then said with a confused tone, “How is that cool?”

“It’s cool that your pastor owned his stuff and that he’s being real with you. It’s the people who try to hide and deny their sins that worry me.”

Bob said, “I guess I expected the guy pastoring men to be . . . well . . . to be more spiritually mature.”

Without hesitation, I reminded Bob of the many times he heard me tell stories of my idiocy. I also told him we all walk with a limp, and none of us is without a soul blemish or two (or twenty).

On this side of eternity, the reality we don’t like to admit, but must, is that we all fall short of perfection.

We say things that hurt.

We do things that offend.

We think things we don’t want to think.

We go places in our hearts that are dark and terribly inconsistent with who we are in Christ.

If you can relate, then welcome to the human race.

Yes, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. Of course, we should be growing. The plan is for us to mature in our faith and to sin less.

But most of us miss the marks of purity and perfection on a fairly regular basis—pastors included.

I’ve been in ministry for nearly forty years. I’ve pastored small churches and a big church. I’ve been on large church staffs. I’ve also been close to quite a few mega-church pastors over the years.

I can assure you of this: every pastor is fractured, and some more than you might imagine.

But as someone once pointed out, it is our fractures that allow God’s light in and out of our souls.

Because I am broken, I am humbled, and God delights to work with the humble (James 4:6).

Because I am fractured, I am relatable, and people want to connect with a person who is authentic and true.

By the way, Paul, the great missionary and author of most of the New Testament, boasted about his weaknesses.

In another recent blog, I mentioned my new favorite book, People of the Second Chance. If I could afford it, I would buy a copy of this encouraging book for all of my family and friends. It’s that good!

In the book, Mike Foster says, “We don’t need to hide our flaws. We need to own them. We need to ditch perfectionism and own our imperfections. The simple truth is this: perfection is impossible. It’s not attainable. You will never, ever be perfect. Our imperfections are what make us human, and they help us relate to each other. Don’t seek perfection. Seek goodness. Wonderful, messy, love-saturated goodness."

Foster goes on to write, “Nobody feels more pressure to be perfect than the person in the pulpit.”

Wow. When I grow up, I want to write like Mike!

Let me be clear; not for a second am I suggesting we just wallow in our weaknesses. Of course, holiness matters. I never want to use my human condition of imperfection as an excuse to keep sinning.

However . . .

I will sin.

I will fail.

I am broken.

But . . .

I am growing.

I am free from shame.

I am loved.

When we come to this place of peace despite our imperfections, we find it much easier to love ourselves, to live free of fear, and to love others as we are loved. Grace is grown here.

Yes, your pastor is broken, and it’s okay; you are too.

Welcome to the fellowship of the fractured.

“We now have this light shining in our hearts,

 but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars

containing this great treasure.

This makes it clear that our

great power is from God,

not from ourselves.”

2 Corinthians 4:7 (NLT)

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10 thoughts on “Your Pastor is Broken (and It's Okay)

  1. Yes, we are all broken vessels, but we can shine God’s light through the cracks.
    Thank you for your honesty and candidness here, Kurt! It’s certainly a message we all need to hear.
    Blessings!

  2. Thanks for the great post. What is the best way of learning, seems to me it comes from failing. I would assume learning to be pure love would require the infinite grace of God plus a lot of failure, or recognition of failure on our part, part of our learning experience. Looking forward to your next blog and sermon. Love in Christ to you.

  3. That common saying of You are never truly alone…it MEANS something when a person you like or look up to shows/talks about their broken parts…it really doesn’t hit home that you are NOT alone in whatever hardship going on in your life until it’s relatable with someone else. THIS is why I really like your blog… it CONSTANTLY reminds me we ALL just want love & to be loved no matter what.

  4. Thank you Kurt. Thus is just what I needed right now. What an awesome feeling to know that you’re not alone in being imperfect and to know that we can keep being loved and able to always keep going forward. Amen!

    1. I love what Steven Furtick wrote in (Un)Qualified, “God knows everything about you–including the ugly parts, the broken parts, the dysfunctional parts–yet he still believes in you. He still has a future and a hope for you.”
      Glad you were encouraged today, Mari. You are loved!

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