Holding Your Pastor To A Higher Standard

You’ve seen them. You’ve seen the bracelets, license plate frames, t-shirts, hats. WWJD. What Would Jesus Do? I used to sport the bracelets. They were cool and colorful, and made a statement about the standard by which we are to live. But then it became trendy. It became like the yellow LiveStrong wristbands which were very cool, and a very good cause. But then it simply became a fad.

While I think the idea of keeping Jesus in our consciousness as we go about our daily activities is a good thing, I also think that we’re conveniently setting ourselves up for excusing failure. In other words, Jesus was perfect. I am not. How can I live up to His standards? Why try? It’s futile. I’m not going to kill anyone or knock off a liquor store. But that extra dollar the clerk gave me when giving me change at the grocery store? Well, I’ll tithe on it. Praise God!

Here’s a little litmus test that I think is pretty effective. If you found out your pastor was involved in the types of activities you were keeping secret, would it diminish your respect for him? The other day I wrote about members of a church singles group who were carrying on in a bar. Some find my attitude about such behavior as judgmental. Some would defend this behavior as OK in light of the fact that they go to church regularly. They might even be in some kind of church leadership. But then I ask, if you walked into that bar and found your pastor there behaving exactly as you were, would it bother you? Do you hold your pastor to a higher standard than the one you live by?

I grew up Catholic. When I was 13, I was at a youth retreat. The boys were in one dorm, and the girls in another. I don’t know about the girls, but when you get 20-30 boys in a dorm at night with no adult supervision, you can expect all kinds of craziness. At one point, the priest came rushing into our room shouting at us, “what the hell is going on in here?” You could have heard a pin drop. He said hell, and not in the context you might expect.

When someone’s vocation is as a church leader, we definitely hold them to a higher standard. It’s human nature. But is it right? They’re human, just as we are. We shouldn’t put them on a pedestal, but neither should we diminish their responsibility to live in accordance to the high call of Christ. Instead, we should elevate our game so that we perform at a higher level. We should live at the level we expect and require of our church leaders. I am no less called to behave appropriately and glorify God in my life just because I’m not a pastor.

I hope you have a pastor who is a positive example to follow. If not, find a church where you have such a leader. But his walk cannot compensate for yours. You are still responsible to live according to the very same bible as Billy Graham. You may not be a pastor of a church, but you are every bit the same example to which people look in defining Christian behavior. 

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:1

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