How does a pastor demonstrate courage?

Courage in pastors can take on many forms.  However, one of the most important ways pastors demonstrate courage is by simply being themselves.  Pastors are commonly pressured to have it all together, to have it all figured out, and therefore are assumed to be the experts to instruct everyone else on how to do life. The biblical qualification of spiritual maturity and above reproach can easily slide into this unachievable perfectionistic standard that prevents many pastors from being themselves before their people. Instead, they perform—while souls die inside.  God calls a man to step up and be a courageous pastor captured in this way:

Show up as broken, weak, and needy before the church you pastor.

Do not underestimate the power of God to bring life into a church when a pastor lives a transparent, authentic life before God’s people. The reality is that pastors are just as weak, needy, and broken as everyone else in the church. Pastors need to embrace this calling to live an honest, authentic life before their people. Let them see you struggle. Let them know you are hurting. Remind them you are not perfect and are not in control.

The most courageous pastors are the ones who don’t perform, but rest in their identity in Christ and live in the freedom of being themselves before their people.


Posted in The Pastor's Soul
4 comments on “How does a pastor demonstrate courage?
  1. Travis Hood says:

    Your posts are consistently helpful and on target…but this is perhaps one of your best yet. Timely for me as I try to shepherd my church (and myself) through the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. Thank you brother.

  2. Steven McCarthy says:

    What are the limits of this, assuming you agree there are limits? On the other hand, what are not the limits? I realize this question may be poorly formulated, because I agree in principle with what you’re saying, but there are certainly good and bad ways to express it, correct? I’d appreciate any guidelines you’d offer.

    • Brian says:

      Yes a balance is good and needed. We can be open about our struggles and weaknesses and not reveal everything! Start with speaking about physical weakness like being tired or your body hurting. Share fears and worries. Talk about the things you don’t do well and areas you are trying to grow. The things that show our humanity and limits show we are not God and we are like our people.

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