I just ran across three important articles about pastoral leadership by Sam Storms. I found them instructive and insightful – and I think the wisdom here serves pastors well.
The first post is an article about Pastoral Bullies. It is a warning against domineering over those in your care. Pastor bullies domineer in many ways, and none of them are healthy. For example, a pastoral bully “domineers whenever he exploits the natural tendency people have to elevate their spiritual leaders above the average Christian.” And he domineers when “he reinforces in them the false belief that he has a degree of access to God which they don’t.” In the end, the pastor is leading by cult of personality and not by the principles of Scripture. Read the whole thing – well worth the 5 minutes it might take.
The second article is related, but goes deeper. Pastoral Bullies are Bullies because they are personally insecure and their domineering is their way of compensating. That is helpful, because it goes beyond the heavy-handed domineering to the heart issue.
Storms demonstrates that pastoral insecurity can be easily identified. For example, pastors who are personally insecure do not receive criticism well (at all!). Storms writes that constructive criticism “is rather perceived as a threat or outright rejection.” He goes on to observe that a pastor who is insecure is often controlling, given to micro management, resistant to those who genuinely want to help him in his spiritual walk, etc. Thus, an insecure pastor will stunt his own spiritual growth (which complicate things further). Helpfully, Storms points out that this insecurity is patently a fruit of the sin of pride. A lot of good meat to chew on. You can read the whole thing here.
Finally, and on the positive side, Sam Storms gives Some Words of Counsel for Pastors; advice that he has gleaned in 40+ years of pastoral ministry. Like the other two, this short post is also worth reading (for everyone who loves the church, not just pastors).