Revelations: No pastor is perfect
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 28, 2014 at 7 p.m.
There's never a good time to oust a popular pastor.
Mark Driscoll, if you've been paying attention to recent church scandals, is the most recent pastor to be put on the chopping block.
He's the pastor of Seattle's Mars Hill Church, a nontraditional, edgy congregation that enjoys its reputation as nonmainstream - cool, even.
Didn't know church could be cool until Mark Driscoll came along.
Driscoll has written more than 15 books and gained national fame and momentum for being that rebel pastor guy who talks about sex; pornography; a radical, rebel Jesus and many other hush-hush, real-life kind of subjects that many Christians and super-judgey, churchy folks tend to shy away from discussing.
Driscoll is widely known around the country as one of the most well-known Christian pastors of today; he's certainly one of the most successful.
So it was shocking to learn last week that Driscoll was asked to step down from the pulpit for abuse of power, inappropriate use of church funds and plagiarism.
We all love a good scandal, especially when it involves a pastor of a megachurch.
From the many articles I keep reading on Mars Hill and the board's decision to ask its star pastor to take a back seat while it scrutinizes the accusations, a few things continue to surge in my brain.
- I can't make any judgment about the legitimacy of the many claims against him because I don't know Driscoll or the congregation of Mars Hill. It seems he's angered quite a few people in his church, so there's a part of me who believes there has to be some validity to the claims.
- It is so important to remind congregations everywhere that pastors are human and not above sinful actions, deeds or thoughts. They are no better or worse than you and your problems. The only difference is they've been called to be your encourager, teacher and God guide for a living.
- Becoming a preacher is a calling. And if you're not being led by God or feel that you are not responsible enough to set a good example and be an encourager and mentor and teacher for the rest of your life - choose another profession.
- When preachers falter in marriage, parenting, pastoring, church business or life, it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Your sins and faults and failures are felt and analyzed and judged on an entirely different plane than anyone else in your church. You are expected to be perfect, live perfect and have all the answers. And you're supposed to be happy and graceful and selfless all the time.
- Ministry is so rewarding, until someone gives in to dark side. And everyone (media, nonbelievers and Christians alike) is waiting for megachurch pastors to give into the dark side so they can drag their name, and Jesus' name, through the mud. They're waiting for you to fail. They need you to fail so they can point to Jesus and the Bible and prove church folks are all hypocrites, liars and aimless, thoughtless religious freaks who can't live up to the message we're supposed to live by.
I have so much respect for pastors and what they do in their daily lives to minister to their own families, let alone the ones in their church. If someone was pushing me for advice, counsel and prayer all day long, I may eventually look at them and ask, "What about me?"
But then, I've always known my role would never be behind a church pulpit.
I knew I'd never take on the role of preacher. I knew I wasn't the right personality for it. And I knew God hasn't called me to that role.
But while Driscoll gets pummeled with church scandal and helpings of humility over the next several weeks, take a moment to remind yourself that no man - even preacher men - is perfect.
There is no one on this Earth who will never let you down or isn't capable of letting you down. There is no perfect preacher because there is no perfect man.
The only one who will never let you down is God and God alone.
He's not always so popular. But he'll never lie, he'll never abuse power, and he'll always have something edgy to say.
Keep Mars Hill church in your prayers this week. It's not your church, but it's still part of the family.
Jennifer Preyss is the faith editor for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535, jenniferpreyss.com or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss.