Superman – A Message For Pastors – By Thomas Koester

The Freedom of Being Real

Are you exhausted? Running on empty? Has 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 in your pastorship. Being a son and a brother in Christ is far more relatable. Being relatable keeps you grounded, humble, and approachable. “Leaping tall buildings in a single bound, being more powerful than a locomotive, and speeding faster than a bullet,” is for Superman, not pastors.

“Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s… …No, it’s just Pastor Dave.

Just be a beloved son, shepherding God’s children. Let God do all that superhero stuff.

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 connection with God.

Instead, teach them how to be intimate with the Father-heart of God 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 comprises two parts, “re” telling again and “ligare,” pointing 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 genuinely 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. So, they end up helplessly modeling burnout, depression, and, believe it or not, loneliness.

Many pastors feel they must keep up the “superhero” role at all costs; that is, they must appear spiritually superior and altogether when in the public view. And, if he’s incredibly talented, he will maintain this unrealistic role even in front of his family. Being a “Clark Kent,” or just a normal guy is too risky for the sake of his job.

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

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is evil, 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. He loses his support from is family because the hypocrisy becomes unbearable.

If a pastor, and for that matter, any of us, satisfies our father-hunger with God and not with the ministry or titles, 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 fruit by connecting to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.

The average pastor cannot maintain a pastor’s schedule, manage all the demands of human needs and interaction, attended meetings, weddings, funerals, and remain human. He’ll either suck it up, put on his cape and pretend to soar, or he’ll take on the humility of Christ.

A good and wise pastor will understand that his heart and identity is far more important than is superhero reputation and notoriety. His true strength is in allowing his humanness to be seen from time to time and not his cape.

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.

Pastoring is not maintaining an Olympic-style dash from crisis to crisis, and it’s not meant to be a solo act. It’s teamwork; it should involve the aid of well qualified and faithful elders and deacons. 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.

A superhero pastor has no time for teamwork, it’s just easier and less complicated to do it all himself.

Since scripture has defined the Church as a body, the concept of real and healthy ministry is when the entire body functions together, when each member does its intended and gifted part.

When we act properly like a body, we can create a safe and healthy community where pastors can thrive within healthy boundaries. Maybe then pastors can cease leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

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 financial gifts, but with your time too.

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

Only in DC Comics will you find a Superman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s