I just recently heard of another pastor who had to step away for an inappropriate relationship. This is a pastor whom I consider one of the most gifted communicators and expositors of God’s word. He has an uncanny ability to expound the deep truths of Scripture with winsomeness and humor, and yet, he ultimately fell short in guarding his character.
Why does this keep happening, and what can we do to stop it? I think the first thing to realize is that pastoring can be an extremely lonely vocation. Many pastors carry the wounds of failed relationships and broken trust. Almost every pastor that I’ve gotten to know has at least one story about how they’ve been betrayed or burned by the members of a church. It’s not easy to open up to others when you’ve been conditioned to guard your heart.
Secondly, pastors are often fatigued and emotionally depleted. If you know any first responders or anybody in the healthcare industry, you realize the burdens they carry for those that they serve. They cannot help but be affected by what they see. The same goes for pastors. They grieve when you grieve. They hurt when you hurt. And when you add to this the pressure that they feel to be present for their church family, as well as to be present for their own family, it can be overwhelming.
But there are things we can do to help. Pray for your pastors. Don’t just pray that they would preach better, but pray that they would find their delight in the Lord and that God would keep them humble. Pray that they wouldn’t give their families the leftovers but that they would prioritize their needs as well. Also, check on your pastors. Most of the time we expect pastors to check on us, but they need to be checked on as well. Invite them to lunch. Be available for them. Don’t just talk about church-related things but actually get to know them. These things can help your pastors and, eventually, help the church and the Kingdom.