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  • Writer's pictureVic Bernales

Perils in Pastoral Ministry - Part 1

In my Pastoral Studies course at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, I remember our discussion on "The Seven Perils of the Pastorate." I think this is a timely reminder for us pastors as we continue to labor in serving the flock of the Lord. The first three perils are quite easy to recall. These are the perils of recline, shine, and whine.

The first one - the peril of recline - concerns the pastor's tendency to be lazy. The nature of pastoral work is very conjusive for laziness because, unlike the 8 to 5 work in the corporate world, the pastorate has no definite time to do the work. Ministers usually are not bound to an eight-hour day work.

However, if the pastor is not binding himself to a certain schedule and not careful in sticking to it, he may fall into the trap of slackness.

One way to avoid this snare is for the pastor to engage himself in mental or intellectual exercise. Reading books and journals as well as writing papers, articles, or sermons are simple ways to engage the mind.

Another way to overcome this danger is for the minister to devote his time in extended prayer. Prayer is a necessary work for pastors. The apostles have recognized that their main ministry is prayer and the preaching of the word, in that order (Acts 6:4).

The second peril - the peril of shine - has something to do with pride. Since the pastoral ministry is one of the prominent callings in the church, the temptation to be proud is very real in this area.

The minister of the Word is always struggling with too much attention, love, and care from the congregation. The tendency for the pastor to promote himself often comes in telling people that Christ is great, and so is he.

When people starts to idolize or adore their pastor, making him more attractive and adorable than Christ, it is time for the minister to remind himself and the people that Christ should increase and himself to decrease.

The third peril is the peril of whine. Complain, grumpiness, and lack of love for the people of God are at the heart of this danger.

When the pastor looks only at his own interest and selfish agenda, he'll never lack of complain toward the church and the people he was supposed to serve. Contentment in Christ and prudence are the antidote to this problem.

There are four more perils or dangers in pastoral ministry. Lord willing, I shall deal with them later in another post.


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