I was having a conversation several months ago that somehow involved chatter of me going into a strip club. The person I was speaking with misunderstood what I said and quickly stated: “oh, you’re a pastor. Pastors shouldn’t go into strip clubs.”
Now before anyone has a conniption, I didn’t actually say that I was going to or had been in a strip club. I honestly can’t remember why the person thought I said that. However, what I can remember is the conversation that ensued based on their comment.
When they said “pastors shouldn’t go into strip clubs” I quickly returned: “well, actually, any Christian shouldn’t go into a strip club.”
And to that they replied: “well, ESPECIALLY pastors.”
I gave up and walked away.
The implication was that it was slightly less offensive for a non-pastor to sin.
Because in their mind, it seemed they thought that pastors weren’t people. Rather, we are some sort of morphed super-humans that never ever sin… or, at least we aren’t supposed to.
With serving in some type of pastoral ministry for 11+ years now, you pick up on some things. One of the things that Hannah and I have noticed is this odd pedestal that pastors get put on. Whether it’s a lead pastor, a youth pastor, etc., it seems anyone with “pastor” associated with their name gets placed in this weird place.
On one hand, people say that we are not to idolize pastors and place them on a higher level (in terms of their access to God and their level of spirituality). However, when it comes to sin issues, those in pastoral ministry come under quite the scrutiny while everyone else gets an extra helping of grace.
I agree that there is a level of responsibility with leading. Scripture is clear that elders of churches should live above reproach. However, that does not indicate that other believers should be held to any less of a standard of righteousness.
When it comes to my life and my relationship with God, I do not first identify as a pastor. I identify as a follower of Christ. Within THAT I serve the Church in a pastoral capacity.
I am a human being (just like YOU), saved by grace who has been gifted to pastor. Not the other way around.
While I appreciate the respect that is sometimes associated with being a pastor, I’d rather simply be identified as a believer. Because that’s who I am.
Because pastors are people too.