The Superman Pastor – By Thomas Koester

Are you exhausted, running on empty and your physical and spiritual odometer cycled over too many times?

If so, you may be a Superman Pastor.

Your identity and significance must be in your sonship and not your pastorship. Never use your intimacy with God as a vicarious impetus for others to synthesize. In doing this, you and your congregation will both become lost and distant from God. People will hunger for your intimacy at the sacrifice of their own connection with God.

Rather, reveal the heart and passion of God for them, until their Father-hunger for God surpasses their father-hunger for you.

Won’t this lighten your load?

Won’t this save your marriage?

Won’t this free you up to be your children’s daddy?

If not, maybe your cape is showing!

As some of you have retired, or have left the pastorship, you may find yourselves lost, because you’ve been trapped in a service and performance role with God and others. This was never God’s doing, but the writ of men and the corporate structure of many churches.

Did you know that the word “religion” actually means to “re-bond” with God? The Latin word is made up of to parts, “re” meaning again, and “ligare,” meaning to bind or to bond.

We Protestants are constantly harping against other religions that faith in God is not a religion, but a relationship. But, in tossing out the word religion, we’ve tossed out the significance of the word. Rather than truly encouraging and leading people into intimacy and sonship with God, they’ve learned by our actions as pastors and enter into performance roles, as presented by the World’s false religions.

So many pastors have lost their intimate bond with God because of the performance and service trap, and so, they end up helplessly modeling burnout, depression, and, believe it or not, loneliness.

Many pastors feel they must keep up the role as pastor at all costs; that is, he must appear spiritually diligent and vivacious when in the public view. And, if he’s especially talented, he will maintain this exhaustive role even in front of his family.

What happens to a man when he calls his darkness light?

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness—how deep is that darkness! – Matthew 6:22-23

When a pastor calls his darkness light, he cuts himself off from God and others, and the duplicity becomes more, and more costly.

If a pastor, and for that matter, any of us, satisfy our father-hunger with God and not with ministry, we will grow as true sons and daughters of God. It will therefore be the fruit of our lives, which will benefit others, and encourage them to bear their own fruit by connecting to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.

A successful pastor is not one who can maintain a pastor’s schedule or demands, but can bravely, and yes, with some cost of reputation and notoriety, allow his humanness and frailty to be seen by others.

In other words, take on the humility of Christ and the burden of Christ. Did you know that bearing your cross is a very public affair? Jesus bore the weight of his cross in public, and, at the moment where he had lost his strength, a simple man aided him and carried his cross for a distance.

Being a good pastor is not a sprint, and it’s not meant to be a solo act. It’s team work; it should involve the aid of good men and good women of faith. After all, the ministry of the Church is meant for the Church and not because of the Church. By each of us, you and me, joining in the ministry, we will grow in our faith and collectively reach maturity in Christ as a healthy body.

In so doing, we can spare the good men of God, which pastor because of the call of God on their lives in a more healthy way.

There is so much more to talk about on this subject. But, until then, pray for your pastors. Become more involved. Give them grace. Take better care of one another. Visit one another. Pray for one another. Support your pastor, and not just with tithing, but with your time too.

After all, aren’t we all children of God?

Only in DC Comics will you find a Superman.

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