All of us struggle with sin and yet I believe there are certain sins pastors must be particularly aware of. This week I had the pleasure of leading a conference breakout on the topic “Pastors vs. Sin.” While most of the content came from my book on fighting sin, a dialogue with pastors about areas of sin also took place. Here are the results of that conversation. I began by offering five areas which came to mind:
- Loneliness (Not enough friends): Who are you confessing to? Who knows your ‘junk’? This is the sin of the poor stewardship of not having an inner circle.
- Busyness (Not enough slowness): Gordon MacDonald wrote, “If my private world is in order, it will be because I am unafraid to be alone and quiet before Christ.” Are you afraid to be alone with Christ? to be still?
- Pragmatism (Not enough personal growth): Oswald Chambers said, “I hate to meet a man whom I have met ten years ago and find he is at precisely the same point, neither moderated nor quickened but simply stiffened.” Are you more about growing your church and less about growing yourself?
- Inefficiency (Not enough diligence): This is the sin of an overabundance of taking in social media, technology, and doing everything but that which really matters throughout the week.
- Self-importance (Not enough humility): Henri Nouwen called us to embrace: littleness, hiddenness, and powerlessness, yet too many pastors seek bigness, spotlight, and power.
Then my fellow pastor-brothers added more:
- Indispensable: Acting as if the church can’t do it without you.
- Escape: Any activities that divert you from the responsibilities you bear.
- Self-Sufficiency: Doing the work without any sense for need of the Spirit’s power and the grace of God.
- Approval/Fear of Man: Living for the praise of others instead of the praise of God.
- Risk: Losing your missional edge as your church finds greater “success” and stability.
- Self-Righteousness: You’ve forgotten how broken you really are. You lead a pastor-centered church.
- Using People: You choose task over relationship. People are a means to an end.
What are temptations you believe pastors should be acutely aware of?