The worst thing pastors can do is not be themselves!
Forgive me in advance for using language some might find offensive, but let’s face it: People have built-in crap detectors. Some have better detectors than others, but everyone has one.
The one thing these detectors sniff out faster than anything else is in-authenticity.
I think there are four major ways pastors fake it and set these detectors off:
1. We clone our preaching
I’ll admit it: I sometimes use other pastors’ sermon outlines. In fact, when I was a church planter I learned to preach by downloading Rick Warren sermon outlines. I was swamped as the only staff person in a new church, and Rick’s outlines saved me tons of time (which also saved my sanity and probably my marriage). During that season of my life,
I learned two things about using someone else’s sermon outlines: 1) I’m not Rick Warren (although, for a time, I was guilty of trying to be), but 2) It is possible to “own” an outline I didn’t write. I learned I should never try to clone another preacher’s style, tone, rhythm or inflection because I’m not him! It took me a while, but over time, I’ve learned to leverage messages written by other pastors by filtering them through my own uniqueness and context.
2. We hide our quirks
I’m a geek and I’m proud. Yet, while I’ve always been a geek, I wasn’t always forthcoming about it. Getting bullied in junior high taught me to hide my geekhood. I’m a rabid Star Wars fan, but in the past, I didn’t reveal that to people up front.
My office used to look like most pastors' offices. I had pictures of family and paintings of Jesus, lambs, lions and Bible verses hanging on my wall. I had tons of books people had passed down to me (too many for me to read in one lifetime).
Truth be told, I didn’t like or enjoy my office. Now I have pictures of family and tons of Star Wars memorabilia in my office—and only three bookshelves with the books I actually read. Now I love my office! People seem to enjoy it, too. They get a good laugh and learn a little bit about me.
Pastors, let’s own our quirks. They make each of us unique! Owning your quirks makes you more self-aware, more transparent, more fun and more authentic.
What if we removed every obstacle for people turning to God?
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