I admit that this post is somewhat confessional, though I also rely on testimonies I’ve heard from many other pastors. I make no claim to have been a perfect pastor—and I can talk about multiple times in 38 years of ministry when I just wasn’t thinking straight. The problem is that we don’t often recognize clouded thinking when it’s happening; rather, it’s only after we get our act together that we understand our bad thinking.
Perhaps this post will help you recognize any issues in your life today that might keep you from thinking straight as you lead God’s people.
- When there’s ongoing sin in in their life. Disobedience—including secret sin—hinders our praying, clouds our vision, and distorts our thinking. It’s hard to think straight when you’ve not been faithful to what God has declared.
- When they’re angry toward church members. Here, I’m speaking of anger that controls the pastor more than he controls the emotion. It’s tough to think straight when anger consumes you.
- When their eyes are on the next church to lead. Even when God is clearly moving us, we still must keep our attention where God has us serving. If your mind is on only your future-tense church, you’ll not end well in your current church.
- When one of their children is straying into sin. This one’s just painful, but it’s real. Some pastors hide this information, in fact, and they wrongly carry the burden alone. It’s difficult—if not impossible—not to let this burden affect your thinking.
- When they’re jealous over another pastor. That jealousy may be minimal, but envy has a unique way of consuming us from the inside. Ultimately, it’s an expression of ego—and ego makes it difficult to think well.
- When their alone time with the Lord is non-existent. When you don’t spend time each day listening to God through His Word and prayer, why should you assume that you can nevertheless hear God’s voice clearly?
- When their marriage is struggling. Issues behind marital closed doors can be so painful and alarming that it’s hard to focus on anything else. For pastors, a broken home can bring difficult consequences.
- When they’re emotionally and physically tired. Some churches seem to expect pastors to do everything, be everywhere, and have every answer. Those of us who once tried to meet these expectations also learned that fatigue affects the way you think and lead.
What other times come to mind for you?