3 Lies that Will Wreck Pastors

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All of us believe lies in our lives, and those lies shape us. The trick is uncovering these subtle lies and embracing the truth.

Saturday night, I started a series on 2 Peter. One of the themes of 2 Peter is combating the lies that we believe.

All of us believe lies in our lives, and those lies shape us.

Lies that we aren’t good enough, strong enough, that I owe God, that we can be in control, that God doesn’t love us. Lies like these shape us.

Pastors believe lies as well.

I know that might be a shock, but as I was standing in front of our church, I shared for a few minutes some of the lies that I as a pastor combat.

Lie number 1: What happens at Revolution is because of me.

All pastors know this isn’t true, but we easily believe it is.

You can tell by their mood after they hear how many people were at church, what the offering was like, how the kids’ ministry went.

Much of what they feel about their sermon is based on what they can read on people’s face, the connection they feel or lack thereof.

Lie number 2: God loves me more when I preach.

It’s getting closer to summer, and I always take a few weeks in a row where I don’t preach.

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As I get closer to it, this lie is starting to creep up. I love preaching. I feel like God has gifted me to do it, and I love using this gift for His glory. It is an honor.

But it is easy for me to feel that God loves me more because I preach or that I feel his presence more in my life when I am preaching.

Josh Reich Josh Reich is the lead pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ, the author of Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More & is passionate about helping people not settle in life and miss all that God has for them.

More from Josh Reich or visit Josh at http://joshuareich.org

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  • Andrew Cochran

    Here are four lies right off the top of my head: #1. Good Doctrine from the Word of God is less important than dealing with Community Issues. #2. Acting like a Hipster is going to get you more people. #3. That being a “Church Planter” is better than being a dedicated “Pastor” of a group of people for the long haul. #4. Going to an “Institutional Church” is so last century!

    • Claudio

      LOL! I agree! :)

    • Chucksaidso

      All those are true…

    • Casey

      Andrew, you’re spot on for #2-4. But I disagree on #1. Good doctrine, true doctrine, will CAUSE you to engage in community issues. You’ve created a false dichotomy. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and.

      • Andrew Cochran

        Then let me rephrase it for you. Lie #1. – The “Social Gospel” that puts an emphasis on “Community Issues” is more important to preach & teach from the pulpit than the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Good Sound Biblical Doctrine.

        • F.J.

          Yes, that is what Jesus taught…Go, teach sound doctrine, to hell with the poor. In fact the church should continue to let the government deal with social issues; it is what we’ve done for the last century. This has allowed the church to grow greater in influence and caused government to decreased. Of course the problem is, our doctrine comes from Holy Scripture so it’s difficult to avoid the concept of justice.

          • Andrew Cochran

            Your Sarcasm sucks… but let me try to get you back to rational discussion. The fad of Social Gospel within the Church will not cure the ills of the land. Of course we are suppose to be in the community, of course we are to help (and Help more than we have)… thats a no brain-er and is Done a lot by church organizations all over the globe for years. I don’t understand when SG’ers like yourself started to think that the “Church” just went to Church!?!?! I look out over the body of Christ and see MUCH going on! ALSO, and this is what we must remember… we can do all this stuff, build homes, work hospitals, feed the needy… ALL OF IT… but we MUST put the message of the Gospel upon our lips, not just our muscle! Faith Comes by hearing NOT by Clothing, building, feeding, curing or healing!!! Actions are wonderful, and we Must have works (Faith without works is dead) but these are Spiritual Issues first. we cannot forget the Spiritual, because if we do, we are no better than Nicodemus in John 3. Jesus rebuked him for focusing on the Physical rather than the Spiritual. Jesus came to take care of Sin (A Spiritual Issue) not just to heal & feed. Lastly, if you read your Bible, the one VERB associated most with Jesus are VERBS (action words) that concern speaking! Jesus spoke just as much if not even more than he healed. We need to do the same. The Social Gospel Movement is a distraction from the real Gospel. Its a lie that many Pastors are buying into.

          • Pastor Jun

            Great explanation bro. Cochran! That’s the reason we are commanded to preach, teach and disciple for Christ!

          • AMOS8

            Doctrine … booooooo

            Trendiness … Yaaaayyy!

            Now THAT is sarcasm!

          • F.J.

            Well first Andrew, you are incorrect. My sarcasm certainly doesn’t suck. Second, to be called an SG’er is funny and refreshing, as I exist in a world of homeless advocates that regularly call me an “intolerant, right wing, bible thumper.” I’ve come to accept that most prefer either/or to both/and. I think, however, Casey was quite on target. The Social Gospel vs. the Pronouncement Gospel is a false dichotomy. We are to be on the Missio Dei. Jesus clearly gives us His mission in Luke 4:16-21 (Restating His mission given Isaiah 61). He proclaims (Pronouncement) and He sets free (Justice). I think juxtaposing the theocracy that was ancient Israel with a, sadly, increasingly secular America is a nuanced debate that is probably beyond the scope of an internet back and forth. However, if we are to imitate Christ (Whose mission was, and is, primarily supernatural) we had better be very concerned with justice and we had better be very clear that we come in the name of the one who, alone, brings eternal salvation. We are called to be the body of Christ. PG’ers like you (sorry, couldn’t help myself) seem to want to say “hands! feet! you are not as important as the mouth.” Of course that is an un-scriptural mindset. I really was kidding about the PG’er thing, I am sure we are on the same team I just have a strong desire to see unity in the body.

          • Andrew Cochran

            Don’t get me wrong! I’m all for your Social Gospel stuff (feeding, clothing, building), and I really think the Church has been and is performing those things in a wonderful way, but too many times in outreaches to the homeless in my city do I see plates of food given, & boxes of Jackets/clothing opened and NOT ONE WORD OF JESUS, THE GOSPEL OR THE NEED OF A SAVIOR!!! And when questioned about the lack of the spiritual in their message, they compartmentalize me & those with my conviction as simply “Old School” & “Not Relevant”. Its sad, and of course I don’t care about what they say about me… but I do care of the rejection of matters of the heart & Eternal Salvation. That’s why the Social Gospel Movement is such a cancer upon modern evangelism.

          • F.J.

            @Andrew: I agree that the social gospel can be a cancer. Especially if it is acted out as a political movement instead of a lifestyle of evangelism. I strongly support the thought that Jesus has to be proclaimed each and every time we serve the poor…But we have to serve the poor.

          • AMOS8

            In the book of Acts, how many times do we see the church, the leaders, the disciples, apostles, addressing “social issues”? They NEVER attempt to change societies. (Yes, they were rightly concerned about the poor … and it is a popular red herring to say “Christians” are not concerned about the poor, etc.)

            How many times do they “teach the Word” or “spread the gospel”? I lost count after 80+ times. When they had their chances (e.g. Paul with KING Agrippa … someone who could change society) Paul said noting about “social issues,” he only tried to “convert” him to Christianity.

            In other words, they poured their efforts into eternal matters–through the Word and the gospel–and not so much in temporal matters (although these have their relative amount of importance, but not in comparison to eternal things; Matt 6:19-21; 2 Cor 4:16-18; Col 3:1-4).

            BTW, when a “society” was changed, it was changed by the Word and the gospel. But how did that city respond to radical transformation through God and His Word? They rioted and tried to kill the Christians.

  • Lencho

    Here’s another lie, nobody in the church likes you.

    • Chucksaidso

      Heres the sad thing your probaly right, you feel this because u wrote it, who cares if they dont are do, your there for instruction to lead friends, neighbors, even strangers yep wow huh, its not about clicks, are chicks for guys who are reading this, church is not a social club.

      • Flicka71

        He said that it was a lie……so there for what he said wasn’t a sad thing……

  • Chucksaidso

    Lie number 1, I revaloution I came from a monkeys uncle. Lie#2 He likes me more when I preach, no they like it more when u dont preach. Lie#3 the church will fall apart if im not there, for the planters, you will fall apart if your not there.

  • Southern Pastor

    Good honest article. Appreciate your transparency. When so many of the articles/videos chosen to be posted here are from well known, hip, published authors of happinin’ trendy churches I can see why many reading/viewing could feel those insecurities. I have an inkling that when we all get to heaven the guy with the biggest church may not be “the” guy. It may well be the mom who tended her handicapped child 24/7 & never had opportunity or assistance to fulfill her “dream ministry”. Heaven’s value system is sadly not always the church’s.

    • josh reich

      Thanks for your kind words.

  • ExcelGodsWay

    Good insight! If I were to sum up everything, it’s God’s church/ministry and not ours. The more success we have with anything, the more likely we are to think it was us and not Him!

  • dave

    the one I am training to be a pastor must be the one telling the truth, this is number 4.

  • Reggie

    I would probably add the lie that the pastor should have a growth strategy focus of building into a mega-church; created by another lie that God would be more pleased if they had a mega-church.

    • Andrew Cochran

      I would also say, within the Church Culture in my area, that a big lie that pastors hold to is that Small Home Group Studies are the “End All Be All” and the only form of effective teaching & preaching of the Word. Pastor’s with Mega Churches are getting verbally slashed & outcasted from Post Modern Chruches who strive for small group meetings. Its ODD, but Ive see it. No matter if you’re in to small groups, Mega Churches or WHATEVER method…. it doesn’t matter. Just find & plug into a Church that teaches the Bible correctly, leads the people to the Cross, Prays, shares their faith in various ways & ministers to the body of Christ.

  • Reggie

    Also I would add the lie that the pastor should always appear to have it all together at all times;

    the old “effective leadership equals perception of perfection deception”

    • royyanke

      The most deadly lie of all

  • Peter Mahoney

    Great insights… thanks Josh!

    • josh reich

      Thanks Peter

  • Flicka71

    So most of them are delusional, freakishly controlling, narcissistic self-involved lies……
    pastors: “Ohh no, all these church goers are too stupid to be functional without me!”
    Wow, if this is even half true; they have none of my sympathy…….
    it’s the rational part of your head that is telling you that your not all that awesome not guilt nagging at you from behind harsh truth…….
    Or of course it could be that fricked up philosophy (whats it called a less severe form of ‘mortification of the flesh’) that it is prideful sin to invest any thought or pride into yourself…….

  • eFrank

    Jesus had compassion on the crowd listening to Him when He said that,”I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” Matt.15:32. His heart fell for them.
    Yet, the same Jesus, when Judas said that, “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Here, Judas had a good point- care for the poor.
    So, what was his problem? They both cared for the poor. The problem is their motives.
    Anything done with a wrong/bad motive is a Sin.
    Was Judas ready and willing to give the money to the poor?

    • Sam

      According to Apostle John in 1st John 3.4 “sin is transgression of the law”..are you trying to rewrite the Bible?

      • eFrank

        Sam, you’re right. Sin is breaking of the law. So, what law are we talking about?
        James 4:3 says “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures”.
        Vs. 17 says “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin”.
        Law doesn’t only mean the 10 Commandments in Exod.20. Laws of Grace also apply.
        Jesus said, “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'”Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'”These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” Matt.25: 44-46. Is that not sin? No compassion?? No mercy??
        You see, no one can escape the wrath of Law, excepts through the cross. Wrath+ cross=grace!

  • 9 years w/ no vacation

    When I was in Seminary, a prof told us this:
    A Pastor’s 2 greatest fears are
    1) He takes time away & everything at church falls apart
    2) He takes time away & it doesn’t