How does this happen? How can anyone feel alone when there are so many people around? It would be easy to assume smartphones and social media are to blame. If it is not the advancements in technology causing this feeling of isolation then maybe it’s a socially awkward introverted personality that just can’t negotiate the difficulties of large gatherings. If it is not technology or personality traits that get in the way, maybe there is some kind of mental illness that creates the feeling of being alone even when surrounded by others. If it isn’t any of these reasons it could simply be the result of being a pastor.
It is easy to assume that pastors defend other pastors just because they are pastors.
I want to make something clear, I am not automatically pro-pastor. Just because I am one doesn’t mean I automatically come to the defence of “one of my kind” every time something negative is said. As a matter of fact I have seen my fair share of angry, mean, manipulative pastors who blame their congregation for everything that goes wrong while making themselves out to be blameless as if they somehow have reached perfection before they reached heaven. These type of pastors are lonely in a room full of people but that is their own fault.
The pastor that preaches truth often lives a lie.
This sounds more nefarious than it is. Simply put, there is an expectation that if it is being preached then it is being lived by the pastor at a level beyond the rest of the congregation. Sometimes these expectations come from congregants, other times they come from the pastor, but most of the time they come from a combination of both. With every ounce of strength that they have, most pastors try to live up to the impossible standards assigned to them by others and by themselves. Projecting a lie to avoid the potential ramifications, the pastor lives as if their life is perfect until it becomes obvious that it isn’t.
The pastor listens to other people’s problems while they hide their own.
A couple attends a marriage counselling session with a pastor who hasn’t been home with his wife one night in the last two months.
A congregant seeks help for a porn addiction from a pastor who is in a battle of his own.
A semi regular attendee asks the pastor if the church could offer some financial help as he is trying to leave quickly so he won’t be late for his second job.
Another person asks the pastor to visit their friend in the hospital today because they are being released tomorrow which works out great because it is down the hall from the oncology department the pastor’s daughter will be visiting for treatments.
It’s a calling that leads to being in a full room but still feeling alone.
I’m not asking you to feel sorry for your pastor or for me but rather I am asking you to pray from the understanding that you have gained. What you know or what you think you know about your pastor is far from the complete picture.
When someone talks to the pastor, the pastor is considered a confidant who is there to point toward God’s grace and mercy.
When the pastor talks to someone, the pastor must consider that that person is a potential gossip who will reveal their secrets to everyone else.
If a pastor struggles with a sin it is kept quiet for fear of losing their job.
If a pastor’s faith is being tested they say nothing because people expect them to be strong.
If they need more time off or more money they do not ask for fear of looking like they are lazy or greedy.
So the pastor often interacts with the people in the room talking but never opening up, interacting but still feeling alone.
When God calls He provides. When Satan attacks he divides. Pray for your pastor.
Pray that your pastor will recognize the person God provides to be their true confidant.
Pray that your pastor will be open and honest about their struggles with their confidant.
Pray that your pastor’s confidant will seek God for direction and provide wise counsel.