Ministerial Low Self Esteem


Pastor Top was deep in thought when his teenage daughter, Charla, bounced into the room. She was bubbly as usual talking about the ballgame next Friday night. She wanted to go to the 5th quarter after the ballgame. A few churches were having a dodge ball night after the home basketball game. She was excited. Top was very willing for her to go. The churches were doing a great thing providing an activity for kids. Charla left the room and Top went back to deep thought.
Top’s real thoughts were about a pastor friend. His friend Glenn was feeling very down. Like Top he was a bi-vocational pastor. He worked a job, pastored his church, and was a dad and husband. He was reaching the point as a servant of the Lord that ……he felt he wasn’t a very good servant. It began when Sally was suffering with cancer. She was hurting and helpless. Glenn had been visiting and caring for the family. He loved them and they lover Glenn. Sally died and Glenn did her funeral. Glenn still visited her family, husband and adult children. Glenn was at a loss of what to say to them. He had no formal training; he was wondering if someone else would be a better pastor. Glenn also doubted his preaching ability. Recently some of the members had become enthralled with one of the TV preachers. They talked about him at church. He was smart, funny, and had a great show. Glenn was thinking his people were tired of him. His people wanted someone different. Glenn was beginning to have a large pity party. Top knew he was suffering from a bout of ministerial low self- esteem. Top had been through this himself.
Bi-vocational minsters often went through this. It may start with a ministry experience that was tough. It may also begin with being compared to another preacher. The preacher didn’t have to be a potential pastor; he could be a TV preacher. The bi-vocational minister then would start thinking about his lack of formal education. He was at a disadvantage in preaching and ministry compared to most full time ministers. His lack of training accentuated his feelings of low worth. These were all lies of the devil. Satan wanted to trip up the servants. Satan can disqualify a servant many ways. Moral failure, personality problems at church, challenges at home or work, or low ministerial esteem. Actually the before mentioned issues can affect both full time and bi-vocational ministers. Bi-Vo ministers were more apt to suffer from low ministerial esteem.
The antidote for ministerial low self-esteem is a bit different than for personality based esteem. Top had reviewed his call to ministry as a first step to regain his sense of God worth. He recalled how God had stirred his heart creating restlessness in his soul. Top had become the most active volunteer in the church finally coming to a meeting with the Lord understanding what God had wanted him to do. The Lord wanted Top to be a Pastor. Top also felt the Lord wanted him to serve bi-vocationally. As Top answered God’s call he knew his family and he would be pulled in many directions. They would also be fulfilling their role in the Kingdom of God. Another way to combat ministerial low self- esteem involved the church. Most churches have some folks which are encouraging, genuinely encouraging. These were the voices Top and other pastors could rely on to provide an honest point of reference for good work. Top like others needed to hear and retain the honest words of affirmation and encouragement. These words on down days could lift the spirits. A third remedy for battling esteem issues was that of self-improvement. It was ok and maybe natural to get down on oneself or maybe by honest assessment come to grips with the reality of self-assessment. Top had reached the conclusion he needed a better grasp of Biblical knowledge and facts. His Association offered Seminary Extension and he had found on line courses in Biblical studies. Top had chosen Seminary extension and the study of Hebrews. A fellow pastor taught the course. He treated all ministers as peers regardless of church size or background. Top learned allot about Hebrews but sitting with other pastors he learned they each had many of the same challenges regardless of church size and background. People were about the same in each church.
Top was meeting with Glenn later today. He would share his journey. Prayerfully he hoped that Glenn wouldn’t give up but be renewed.

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