When Pastors are Transparent and Real.
Years ago a pastor older and wiser than I said, "I'm never transparent, it scares people away."
That's true, transparency will scare people away. But my response to him was simple. "You don't have a choice, if you're not real - then your people can't believe in you or the message that you preach."
Now let me say that confession is good for the soul, but hard on your reputation. By no means am I advocating that you dig every skeleton out of your closet and irresponsibly toss them into the middle of your congregation. I've seen some pastors do this with a "gotta love me" attitude. The people will love you - as they leave. Don't cause confusion.
Here is the problem.
We live in a day when people still stereotype pastors. You know. The stogy type that have no sense of humor. They can face a tsunami and never get their suit wrinkled. They are in the presence of God at all times and they never suffer from any malady.
Well, that is the farthest thing from reality I have ever heard off. But I can tell you that I have had more than one good thrashing from a well intentioned saint for not living up to this standard.
Jesus was real.
Jesus had the same problem.
He was a Rabbi - and as a Rabbi He was expected to say certain things and do things a certain way. Most of the Gospels show us that He didn't do what the people or the religious orders of the day expected. The people loved it - the religious orders hated it. The reason the people loved Him so, was because He was a Rabbi of the people. He didn't represent any particular religious sect of that day - He represented His Father in Heaven.
And now we see the problem.
When there is a clash between our stereotypes and reality - something has to give. Stereotypes are a type of fantasy or reality that we prefer. Reality is messy and complicated. It can be downright aggravating too. Stereotypes are clean and simple to understand. Reality can confuse us and even depress us.
Now the choice.
Some pastors will embrace their stereotype and do their best. Unfortunately they usually end up ministering to the same group of people week after week. The ones who want their pastor that way. Other pastors break from that mold and present a real Jesus from their reality. Warts and all. It's funny and it's painful. It's scary and overwhelming. There are good endings and bad too. But Jesus is Jesus every step of the way. He never leaves us and He never changes.
When your Pastor.
When your pastor reveals a part of himself or a part of his life. When he or she talks about the time when their marriage almost fell apart. When they talk about the time when mental issues haunted them. When they talk about their struggles and their weakness - don't listen to the problem. Listen to the context. Why are they doing this? To scare you? No!!! They do it to give you hope. They do it to show you how Jesus got them through AND if He will do it for them, He will do it for you too!