Sam Storms posted on The Gospel Coalition website ten things he wished he’d known earlier in his 40 years of pastoral ministry. I encourage you to check out all ten, but wanted to feature #10 here because it’s such good advice for not just pastors, but any leader of consequence, including parents! I’ve found it true in my life and in the lives of many a leader that’s struggled with selflessly leading and loving people under their care. The rest of this post is from Sam. Here it is:
10. I wish I’d known about the destructive effects of insecurity in a pastor. This is less because I’ve struggled with it and more due to its effect I’ve seen in others. Why is insecurity so damaging?
• Insecurity makes it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of others on staff (or in the congregation). In other words, the personally insecure pastor is often incapable of offering genuine encouragement to others. Their success becomes a threat to him, his authority, and his status in the eyes of the people. Thus if you’re insecure you likely won’t pray for others to flourish.
• Insecurity will lead a pastor to encourage and support and praise another pastor only insofar as the latter serves the former’s agenda and doesn’t detract from his image.
• An insecure pastor will likely resent the praise or affirmation other staff members receive from the people at large.
• For the insecure pastor, constructive criticism is not received well, but is perceived as a threat or outright rejection.
• Because the insecure pastor is incapable of acknowledging personal failure or lack of knowledge, he’s often unteachable. He will resist those who genuinely seek to help him or bring him information or insights he lacks. His spiritual growth is therefore stunted.
• The insecure pastor is typically heavy-handed in his dealings with others.
• The insecure pastor is often controlling and given to micromanagement.
• The insecure pastor rarely empowers or authorizes others to undertake tasks for which they’re especially qualified and gifted. He won’t release others but rather restrict them.
• The insecure pastor is often given to outbursts of anger.
• At its core, insecurity is the fruit of pride.
In summary, and at its core, insecurity results from not believing the gospel. The antidote to feelings of insecurity, then, is the rock-solid realization that one’s value and worth are in the hands of God, not others, and that our identity expresses who we are in Christ. Only as we deepen our grasp of his sacrificial love for us will we find the liberating confidence to affirm and support others without fearing their successes or threats.