How can a pastor’s sinful desire to feel needed manifest itself in his ministry and family?

One of the best ways to discourage a pastor is to make him feel he is unneeded.  In fact, a pastor’s desire to feel needed shows itself in a variety of ways.  The most obvious way the desire for significance manifests itself is in the pastor wanting to do all the work.  He has to make every visit.  He has to preach every Sunday.  He has to be at every meeting.  He has to conduct every wedding and funeral.  Because of this desire, he will not delegate tasks.  He will not take his vacation time.  He will not allow others to help.  This controlling posture in the church can easily be camouflaged as faithfulness and zeal to labor hard in the work of the ministry.  However, it eventually leads to two common results:  burn out and family neglect.

The demand for significance can also lead to the neglect of the family when certain people in the church make him feel more significant than his wife and children do.  A pastor can easily deceive himself that he really needs to meet with a young man in the church to help him work through his problems—even if it means missing dinner with the family for the third straight evening.  A pastor should not underestimate the persuasive power of a young man who thinks he hung the moon and hangs on every word he says, when compared to a tired, spent wife and cranky toddlers that await his homecoming.

Pastors, we all desire to feel needed.  Do not allow that desire to cloud your discernment that will inevitably lead to bad decisions and skewed evaluation of our priorities.

Posted in Battling Sin, The Pastor's Soul
3 comments on “How can a pastor’s sinful desire to feel needed manifest itself in his ministry and family?
  1. Blake Gillen says:

    Thanks Brian! Appreciate this important reminder.

  2. Ryan Bebee says:

    Thanks for the encouraging word, Brother. Certainly timely.

  3. Tim says:

    “Because of this desire, he will not delegate tasks.”
    There are other reasons for not wanting to delegate tasks, specially the task of teaching when all the saints are together.

    The system leads believers to think they are only sheep and are thus incapable or at least God cannot use them as much as their pastor so they are very willing to outsource this to him. Systemically, there is no expectation from anyone that anyone other than the pastor should do this teaching task regardless of their gifting. The elders are required to be “able to teach” but I have never heard of a pastor who insists an elder should do this task once a month. Is there one book of the hundreds on preaching that challenges pastors to help their elders learn to share in the teaching in the worship hour? I’d like to know. There are lots of pastors out there who don’t want to share their Sunday pulpit even with a supported missionary for many reasons.

    A lot of money is put down to hire a trained man to do ministry. Often unintentionally or unconsciously both the saints and the pastor believe the pastor is required to be the focal point of most ministry, unless there are some rare saints who insist on doing the work of the ministry that the pastor usually does.

    One indicator is that as a church grows in number and the giving increases, both pastor and the people will “feel the need” to hire another pastor rather than increase the giving to send the gospel to those who have no one to tell them. It is presumed that no one has been equipped to do what needs to be done.

    Is there any ministry that a pastor does that every one assumes he should be equipping the saints to do it?

    When a pastor leaves a church to go to another one, is there anything he has done that the saints have been equipped to do so that the next pastor that comes does not have to do that ministry?

    Isn’t it systemically typical that the new pastor has to do every thing the previous pastor did, and maybe some extra things the saints thought were lacking?

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