I admit it. I have a tendency to be a loner. I like my personal space and my private time. I recognize, though, that my tendencies aren’t always the best for a pastor. Here are my reflections on others like me:
Why Some of Us are Loners
- Some of us are naturally introverts. In fact, I’m convinced many pastors are introverts, but we’ve learned how to manage the public responsibilities of shepherding a church. Fellowship gatherings drain us, but we go anyway because we know we need to. If we don’t have our alone time, however, we’d never rejuvenate.
- Some have been hurt in the past. It doesn’t take many experiences of sharing ministry with others, becoming best friends with your staff, opening up to members . . . and then getting wounded . . . before you become a loner out of self-protection.
- It’s easier to do ministry alone. It takes less time to make a visit if I go by myself. I don’t have to worry about anybody’s schedule. Lunch takes less time if it’s not connected to hanging out with another believer. We even spiritualize our thinking: “we can get more done for God’s glory this way.”
- It’s risky to be vulnerable. If I never invite others into my life, I never need to talk about my fears, my weaknesses, my failures. Nobody learns that I sometimes struggle as a spouse or a parent. Nobody knows that my confidence sometimes masks my insecurities.
- It’s the only model we know. Too few of us had someone pour into our lives when we were young pastors. We have learned the lessons of ministry the hard way – by ourselves – and we’ve learned how to survive on our own.
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