What is one danger to which every pastor falls?

Pastors are susceptible to all kinds of dangers as we struggle with sin and battle constant attacks from the enemy.  This danger is a bit more subtle.  It can be hidden in the midst of so many good, faithful, and fruitful shepherding tasks.  It is so sneaky that a pastor can fall into its clutches several times without even realizing he has done so.  The danger is this…


“Our shepherding efforts reveal we favor some sheep over others.”


 Pastors, it happens.  It happens intentionally.  It happens accidentally.  It just happens.  Although this danger is inevitable, we must do all we can to protect ourselves from favoring others simply because we receive more encouragement or affirmation from them.  To aid us in this task, I submit to you this excellent counsel by Charles Bridges from the Christian Ministry:


“We must be the pastors of the whole flock, not of a select few; not indulging ourselves with the most hopeful and interesting, but labouring for those, whose urgent need cries loudly for our instruction–like a good shepherd–bestowing our primary attention upon the lost sheep.  In detail–we shall often have much to bear from their ignorance and weakness; sometimes also from their impertinence and unreasonable demands…The meanest of our people must have his full share of our consideration.”


Now, if you will excuse me…I am going to call and visit some of God’s sheep entursted to my care whom I have neglected as I have favored others.

Posted in Oversight of Souls
9 comments on “What is one danger to which every pastor falls?
  1. jacob brothers says:

    “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Mt. 5:46-47)

    “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” (James 2:1)

    Thank you for the reminder to crucify our flesh even as we come to the sheep that we desire to spend more time with than others. A good reminder that our lives and ministries are not about our comfort but about the Lord’s glory as we live in His Gospel

  2. Steve says:

    Thank you. Very timely reminder.

  3. Clark says:

    I saw your blogpost on the GC website and hand a question in response. Do you think it’s fair to give more attention to those sheep who do indeed care more and desire to grow, in hopes that building up your leaders will lead them to reach those who are on the fringes? I say this because I’m a young youth pastor at a small youth group of about 12, and i have about 6 students who really care to be there. the other 6 come and go as they please and seem as if they never want to pay attention. hence, my philosophy with them has been to focus on those students that don’t care and love and feed them as much as I can, while also not neglecting the unrepentant. would like to hear your thoughts.

    • briancroft says:

      There will always be sheep you spend more time with than others. The difference is the reason you do so. Spending time with those who are eager to grow and learn is a good thing. Just make sure you don’t completely neglect those others as they require harder labor to shepherd. Naturally, we are less drawn to them.

  4. Mark Pospisil says:

    Didn’t Jesus invest in some disciples over others? There are many times that Jesus is only with his “Inner circle” of Peter, James and John (Transfiguration, Garden of Gethsemane, and the healing of the little girl). How should we respond and think about seeing our Lord invest more in some disciples than others?

    • briancroft says:

      Great question. Yes. There will be sheep that you spend more time with and for good reasons (leadership development, pressing health needs, etc.). Where we as pastors need to search our hearts are the reasons we spend time more with some more than others. If we find we are with those who are easy to care for, verses those more challenging as a regular pattern, an honest assessment needs to be made. I find I am drawn to shepherd those who encourage me more than others and that is not a gauge to determine who I should spend time with. I find those who demand more of my time will typically get it (whether they should or not) when a more pressing need gets overlooked. The reasons are what I am addressing and that they are driven by godly motives, not puppet strings. Thanks for the thoughtful question.

  5. PAUL TAUTGES says:

    Thanks, brother, for a timely reminder. I read it right before heading out of the office to make a visit to one of our dear men, a 90-year old saint.

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