What a person wants from their pastor, and what they need, can be two very different things.
It seems that so many people today want their pastor to be their best friend, when God has positioned them in their lives for so much more than that. Yes, it is right for a pastor to be friendly, but their calling is not to be your friend but to be wise counsel and godly leadership in your life. Standing alongside other godly advisors you have positioned around your life, their job is not to tell you what you want to hear about a situation you may be facing, but rather to tell you what God’s word and wisdom is for that situation. Ephesians 4:11-12 teaches us that God gave Church leaders as gifts to your life, to train and equip you. He gave pastors to guide and lead you, not to agree with everything you may want to believe to be true. This can sometimes be tough for a pastor but they will be more concerned with what God has called them to be in a person’s life than what that person would like them to be. Listen to how the book of Acts describes the responsibility of a pastor, and you will see why they take the lives of people in their God-given care so seriously:
Acts 20:28, NIV
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
A pastor is an overseer in the lives of God’s people. That is a very serious calling indeed – they will have to give an account for how they functioned as under-shepherds of God’s flock.
So, in a world where people seek the wisdom and counsel they want to hear from a thousand and one different locations, where will you get yours? I am sure, like me, you are amazed at how some people use social media tools like Facebook – without any thought they post up their deepest situations and life challenges for all to see and then wait for the whole world to give them advice on what they should do. This is very sad – and very dumb – especially when they think it is wise to seek the counsel of random and disparate people they hardly know on something like Facebook, yet never seek advice from the pastor that God has given to their life, or the wise and godly men and woman that God has positioned around them!
Once again, let me say that it is so wise to have a circle of counsel positioned around your life. Make sure you don’t have any “no go” areas. Seek wisdom and advice from men and woman who love God and demonstrate wisdom in their own lives, especially in the areas of your life that you feel are most important to you. In the midst of your circle of counsel have a pastor that you trust, but don’t expect them to be your best friend. Rather, release them to be what God gave them to be: a voice of truth and godly counsel that will help you to navigate your life correctly through this very deceived and confused world.