Suffering, the Cross & the Person of Pastor

Last night I was paging through my journal and I came across notes from this year’s Western Region Pastor and Wife Retreat.  The theme of the retreat was, “Suffering, the Cross and the Person of the Pastor and Wife.”  The material that was presented and received at the retreat was such a blessing.  The following content has been formatted from my personal notes and thoughts taken from the retreat.    

Pastoral Burnout Happens When…
1)    Try to be someone that they are not…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    Trying to fulfill the shoes of the church’s previous pastor.
                                        ii.    Trying to fulfill unrealistic personal expectations.
                                       iii.    Trying to fulfill and/or emulate popular pastoral personalities in evangelicalism.
2)    Try to give something that they cannot give…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    Giving of themselves in place of giving the gospel.
                                        ii.    Becoming the savior rather than presenting the savior.
                                       iii.    Trying to meet and serve in all the vast ministry needs of the church  (i.e. effectively and simultaneously serving on: the hospitality committee, building committee, fellowship committee, preaching, teaching, counseling, etc…)  The pastor is not ‘the church’ nor can the pastor effectively meet all the demands of the church, but he is merely one component of the body of Christ, one gift among many.

Pastoral Burnout Happens When…
The Congregation:
1)    Has unclear and unrealistic expectations
2)    Sends conflicting and double messages…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    The pastor reports to the elders; the pastor reports to the congregation.
                                        ii.    Calling the pastor to have an attitude of “it’s not about me” when the church uplifts and places the pastor into the role of “it’s about the pastor.” 
                                       iii.    The pastor is called to have preaching as his primary responsibility (i.e. which requires study); the pastor is called to have visitations as his primary responsibility (i.e. which require time away from study).
3)    Makes the Pastor into the Church Idol…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    Seeing the pastor in the role of celebrity rather than one spiritual gift among many in the church.
                                        ii.    Overemphasis on the pastoral personality and a de-emphasis of the pastoral office.
                                       iii.    Focusing on the messenger and not the message being proclaimed.
4)    Removes the Pastor’s Resources…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    Giving the pastor the responsibility to pastor but not the authority to pastor.
                                        ii.    Calls the pastor to focus on visitations without giving mileage and meal reimbursements.
5)    Has an Un-holy Spirit…
a.    Such as:
                                          i.    A spirit of rebellion against spiritual authority.
                                        ii.    A spirit of offensiveness and aggression.
                                       iii.    A spirit of deconstructive criticalness.
                                       iv.    A spirit of bitterness.

In Scripture we not only see evidences of pastoral burnout but also persecution and struggles. 
·         1 Corinthians 4:11-13
·         2 Corinthians 4:7-12
·         2 Corinthians 6:4-10
·         2 Corinthians 11:23-31

This leads us to ask the question, “What did God give Paul for a ministry such as this?”  God Gave Him:
·         The gospel… the cross
·         In light of the cross, Paul saw ministry through this lens.
·         2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Source of Notes: 
Western Region Pastor and Wife Retreat
Speaker:  Dr. Gene Boe
Theme:  Suffering, the Cross and the Person of the Pastor and Wife