Skip to main content

An inside look at WHY many pastors DON'T share their heart...

Yesterday I posted something my friend Gary Boggess from church wrote about the reasons he's glad he's not a pastor. If you didn't read that post it's necessary to read that one to understand this one so if you missed it you might want to go there.

A lot of people responded on facebook to that post, in fact right now it's up to 28 comments on two facebook pages although no one commented here on the actual blog site.  Other pastor-friends and their wives wrote to me privately to give their thoughts since they felt they could not safely post their thoughts publicly.

All church people who posted comments were of the belief that pastors should be free to speak their mind like anyone else. Several of our Celebration Church members shared their appreciation for how I do speak boldly on certain issues and they encouraged me to never hold back. I appreciate that. 

I want to follow up today and to try to bring greater understanding as to why many pastors do hold back.  My husband, for example, rarely "shares his heart." You see, it's not as simple as, "just share what's on your heart and let the chips fall where they may." Chips can hurt. They can hurt A LOT. 

Let me preface this by saying some will think this is over the top. Think again. Sadly, I know people personally that all of these things apply to. Some of them apply to me. I could give names and locations, but would never betray a sacred trust of a friend and colleague. (All names below have been changed.)

God fearing men and women will not hold back in preaching on the power of the cross or salvation, or the core doctrines of scripture. But many stay silent on most everything else. Let's peel back the curtain and find out just a few reasons why. If some pastors or their wives could talk without repercussions, they would tell you this:

I shared my heart...and five families have left the church.

I shared my heart...and now I can't make my mortgage payment.

I shared my heart...we are now losing our health insurance.  My wife has breast cancer. We don't know how we're going to pay for her treatment.

I shared my heart...and now I've been betrayed.

I shared my heart. The Bricker family is very upset about it. Jim Bricker talked to me last night and told me his wife is upset and doesn't want to come to our church anymore after I shared what I just did. I can work through this myself but it was hard to hear my 10 year old cry herself to sleep last night.You see, Ashley Bricker is her best friend and last night at church she told my daughter they were leaving and they wouldn't be able to play together anymore.

I shared my heart.  This morning when I woke up I opened my e-mail I received the most hateful letter. Most people think this person who is a long time member of our church is so godly. They would be shocked to read this letter, I've been verbally cut to shreds. I won't share it with anyone but my wife, because I play fair even when our people don't. Sometimes I don't even share those letters with my spouse. She takes it harder than I do and sometimes it's easier for me to shield her from things that I can protect her from.

I shared my heart. Today when I got to the office the secretary let me know the district superintendent was on the phone for me. It was the first call of the day. He called to let me know somebody had contacted the district office about me sharing my heart. He was compassionate and didn't agree with my accuser. He prayed with me about the issue, but it still hurts that it ever happened.

I shared my heart. The board meeting didn't go so well the other night. This week I've been having terrible chest pains.

I shared my heart.  We're losing our house.

I shared my heart. Some people have de-friended me on facebook but they are posting about me in an unkind way on the pages of many members of our church.   Some of this is not overt where other members of the church would pick up on it...status updates like, "We miss you but we sure do loooooove our new church and our new pastor! God is sooooo good. Would love to see you soon...visit sometime? First A/G service is at 10:00."

I shared my heart. Unfortunately it had to do with a leader who is one of the kids' Sunday School teachers. Now in class my son is singled out unfairly in every class. The other Sunday when we came home he was crying and said, "Dad, I just don't want to go to church anymore." He's beginning to associate church with pain and that hurts my soul...

I shared my heart. I have no idea how we're going to buy groceries this week.

I shared my heart. The sanctuary looks so empty now.

I shared my heart. At least my wife and my dog are still on speaking terms with me.

I shared my heart. This past week I had my second heart attack. The doctor says I really need to consider a career change to something that isn't so stressful. 

I shared my heart. Some people in the church said I need to be more transparent, open up and tell what's really on my mind. Now those same people are circulating a petition about me.

I shared my heart...and was asked to leave. I have no idea where we're going to go.  

I shared my heart.  I told the congregation some of my thoughts about the political climate we are currently in, briefly mentioned the election and preached boldly about making Godly choices based upon Christian values. The church just lost our 501c3 status.


DaNella Auten said…
Sooooo true. I can relate with more than one of those situations. That is probably a lot of why I don't blog more. I know I will be looking for a job in the work world before long, and I don't want too much to come up when they google me. DaNella
Melissa said…
I too can relate to much of what you wrote. It's part of the reason I took my blogs off Facebook because I would get private messages that were hurtful or would get them directly to the blog post an I just won't post them. THANK YOU for being open about this PD! Love you!
Sharon said…
To quote "A Few Good Men", when someone claims "I want the truth!" We should say "You can't handle the truth!" :0)
Sharon, you have just nailed it.
Anonymous said…
So sad but true! I share my heart far more often than is probably wise, but I'm just stubborn that way. I figure if people can't handle it they should probably have someone else as their pastor. That is not the greatest way to explosively grow a church but it is the honest way. Jesus shared His heart frequently and in the end everyone except a couple of peeps had left Him! So be it. If it happened to Jesus, why shouldn't it happen to us. I'm rambling now! Deanna, you're my hero!

Popular posts from this blog

What To Do First to Make a Profit

Today on Seth Godin's blog, he said:

It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way.
Yes, it does. If you are waiting to make a profit before you do these things, in my experience you're  not going to make a profit. So many organizations, ministries and churches are struggling with financial issues. I know your pain. As anyone who follows our story knows, our ministry was in a ton of debt four years ago when I came on as director.  Since that time, we've gotten out of debt and turned a profit every year.  God has done amazing things through out team, for which we give Him the glory!

I find that what Seth is saying here is absolutely true, with one disclaimer. For Christian leaders, spiritual disciplines must always be first. Before we started investing and training and all of that, seeking God for his blessing and…

I'm Just Being Transparent...

This year at the Stronger Conference, a young minister stopped me as I was walking out of the room at the conclusion of a workshop and she said, "I want to tell you something..." (I was all ears.) She said, "Do you notice how many of the speakers this weekend are saying, "Now, I'm just being transparent when I tell you..." or "I'm just keepin' it real..." I nodded yes. In fact, I mentioned that I was one of those speakers. I think I probably said a few times in both my keynote message and my workshop that I was just "keepin' it real."

After I affirmed that yes, I had noticed that -- she said, "Do you know why they have to do that? They do it...and you do it, because so many people don't keep it real. So many in leadership aren't transparent, Deanna. That's why all these people speaking here feel an urge to declare their transparency.." I let her know that usually when I say, "I'm just keeping …

Why You Should Never Hijack a Comment Thread
Social media etiquette 101

One surefire way to kill your influence in social media and wear out your welcome fast is to become involved in derailing somebody’s comment thread with your own agenda. Networking and hijacking aren’t the same thing. It’s surprising how many people don’t understand that this is a guarantee for tearing down a platform as quickly as you build it.

Passion is good, even necessary. I appreciate people's zeal for their personal core values. What is not appreciated is the attempt at a redirection of a comment thread when the comment has little or nothing to do with an original post or is twisted at best.

Social media provides ample opportunity for all of us to share what’s important to us on our own platform. Eliciting others’ responses and developing connections largely depends on our ability to communicate and compel. Some people are open to receiving private communication from others although they aren’t always able to answer personally or at length. But hijacking a comment thread no…