Today our staff heard from David Horner, the pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. He recently published a book titled “A Practical Guide for Life and Ministry“, a book devoted to those seeking to find balance in ministry.
Horner began with 1 Peter 4:12-16, bringing to surface that troubles will come our way. In ministry you are always facing ‘trouble’. Sometimes these troubles come from mistakes (which we all make), sometimes troubles come from false accusations or ‘hear say’.
The one thing that really struck me (which was very similar to J.D. Greear’s talk to our staff yesterday) was the idea that ‘we as pastors need to acknowledge our fallibility’. This was so refreshing. Some people in ministry would disagree and argue that we should ‘never let down our guard’…’keep your people from really getting to know the true you’…’be very careful to reveal your struggles’…’carefully protect your reputation’…see, there is this idea that acknowledging your fallibility= your people not being able to trust and follow you. I do not know where we got this notion in ministry?
Horner said it well, “while confessing your mistakes/sin may be bad for your reputation, its great for your character” (It’s sometimes important to distinguish mistakes from sin). Yes, you will have to take the initial blow for your mistake or sin. But in the long run we need to understand that there are benefits to failure. “Mistakes are not fatal as long as we see them as stepping stones”. In fact, “once you have needed grace, you’re less likely to withhold it”.