In a recent post titled “Reflections on Nearly 40 Years of Pastoral Ministry“, Sam Storms digs deep on the destructive effects of insecurity in pastoral ministry. While the post is focused primarily on pastoral ministry, there are general principles here for all Christians.
Why is insecurity so damaging?
- Insecurity makes it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of others on staff (or in the congregation). In other words, the personally insecure pastor is often incapable of providing genuine encouragement to others. Their success becomes a threat to him, his authority, and his status in the eyes of the people. Thus if you are insecure you will likely not pray for others to flourish.
- Insecurity will lead a pastor to encourage and support and praise another pastor only insofar as the latter serves the former’s agenda and does not detract from his image.
- An insecure pastor will likely resent the praise or affirmation that other staff members receive from the people at large.
- For the insecure pastor, constructive criticism is not received well, but is rather perceived as a threat or outright rejection.
- Because the insecure pastor is incapable of acknowledging personal failure or lack of knowledge, he is often unteachable. He will always be resistant to those who genuinely seek to help him or bring him information or insights that he lacks. His spiritual growth is therefore stunted.
- The insecure pastor is typically heavy-handed in his dealings with others.
- The insecure pastor is often controlling and given to micro-management.
- The insecure pastor will rarely empower others or authorize them to undertake tasks for which they are especially qualified and gifted. He will not release others but rather restrict them.
- The insecure pastor is often given to outbursts of anger.
At its core, insecurity is the fruit of pride. In summary, and at its core, insecurity is the result of not believing the gospel! Thus the antidote to feelings of insecurity is the rock-solid realization that one’s value and worth are in the hands of God, not other people, and that our identity is an expression of who we are in Christ. Only as we deepen in our grasp of his love for us and sacrifice on our behalf will we find the freedom and confidence to affirm and support others while never fearing either their success or threats.