“It’s hard to find an authentic pastor.”
I’ll never forget saying this after finally meeting my celebrity man crush. When I was fresh out of college I attended the church of this mega pastor who I had a mega obsession with. I had these preconceived ideas of how cool he was and how incredible it would be to know him personally.
And then I met him. He seemed so….fake. When I was around him, I just couldn’t connect. He constructed emotional walls so high that they were unscalable. I would never know him. I would never connect with him personally because, well, he wouldn’t allow it.
Looking back, I probably just needed to reevaluate my expectations. Did I think I was gonna get an inside look at a public figures life after knowing him for a few hours? Did I have unreasonable expectations? Probably. Actually, yes, absolutely my expectations were unreasonable.
Either way, I walked away feeling frustrated. Feeling like someone who I had lifted up and put on a pedestal, had let me down. He let me down because he wasn’t relatable. He let me down because all the sermons and videos I had seen made him seem so cool and relatable, but he wasn’t actually the person he projected himself to be, online.
This experience was the beginning of my own quest to become an authentic, relatable pastor. Over the years I’ve found that most pastors who are authentic are the least popular ones. They are authentic because they are FREE to be authentic. Seems like the more your popularity grows, the more people have expectations of you, and the more tempting it is to fall into one of two different traps:
1) The people pleasing trap – which actually pleases nobody, it just makes you a decent, bearable, “nice guy” who has become really skilled at not making people mad.
2) The arrogance trap – popularity has a way of causing a person to become so full of themselves that they do not see themselves the way others do. This is the kind of conceit that Paul warns Timothy about in 2 Timothy 3.
Anyway, I know this isn’t true 100% of time, but it tends to be my experience. The longer someone is a pastor, the less relatable and authentic they become over time.
So what makes an authentic church leader or pastor?
Authenticity happens we who I really am matches the image I portray to others. “Esse guam videra,” means, “to be rather than to seem.”
I hardly ever trust pretty. I rarely trust polished. I never trust “perfect.” I like people to be real, genuine, credible, dependable, faithful, and reliable. This is an authentic leader. An authentic pastor displays a whole bunch of evidence of HARMONY between their personal life, and the life they present to others. This means what you “present” is consistent with who you “actually are.”
This one thought has been the driving factor for my ministry in these past 3 years. I used to mimic and regurgitate sermons from popular pastors. I used to try so hard to impress people with slick presentations and stories. I used to do whatever it took to make people applaud me.
Now, I’m just me. Like me or not, I’m me. I have zero desire to be cool and trendy. I don’t care if my popularity increases. I care if I’m true to Jesus, and true to myself…my real self.
PS- I’m not currently on social media, and nobody reads my blog, so maybe you can share?