Insecurity and Pastoral Bullies Re-Visited
In a previous article I spoke of the danger of pastoral bullies in the local church (1 Peter 5:1-4). One of the factors that can often contribute to this approach to ministry is personal insecurity. I posted this article several years ago but thought it might be helpful for us to examine it one more time.
Consider the dangers of an insecure pastor (of course, each of the following applies equally well to all Christians).
Insecurity makes it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of others on staff (or in the congregation). In other words, the personally insecure pastor is often incapable of providing genuine encouragement to others. Their success becomes a threat to him, his authority, and his status in the eyes of the people. Thus, if you are insecure you will likely not pray for others to flourish.
Related to the above is the fact that an insecure pastor will likely resent the praise or affirmation that other staff members receive from the people at large. They may try to give the appearance of being supportive, but it is often feigned and insincere.
For the insecure pastor, constructive criticism is not received well, but is rather perceived as a threat or outright rejection. Although this may sound paradoxical, the insecure pastor will consider himself so well-qualified and spiritually mature that he simply doesn’t need anyone’s input into his life or ministry.
Because the insecure pastor is incapable of acknowledging personal failure or lack of knowledge, he is often unteachable. He will always be resistant to those who genuinely seek to help him or bring him information or insights that he lacks. His spiritual growth is therefore stunted.
Related to the previous point, the insecure pastor is extremely uncomfortable with confessing his ignorance on any particular matter. He perceives his stature in the sight of others is dependent on always being able to provide an answer to every question or a solution to every problem.
The insecure pastor is typically heavy-handed in his dealings with others. In other words, there is often a distinct lack of mercy and patience in his relationship with others.
The insecure pastor is often controlling and given to micro-management.
The insecure pastor will rarely empower others or authorize them to undertake tasks for which they are especially qualified and gifted. He will not release others but rather restrict them.
The insecure pastor is often given to outbursts of anger.
At its core, insecurity is the fruit of pride.
In summary, and at its core, insecurity is the result of not believing the gospel! Thus the antidote to feelings of insecurity is the rock-solid realization that one’s value and worth are in the hands of God, not other people, and that our identity is an expression of who we are in Christ and not how much we accomplish in terms of ministry, be it in terms of financial or numerical growth or any other factor.
Only as we deepen in our grasp of his love for us and sacrifice on our behalf will we find the freedom and confidence to affirm and support others while never fearing either their success or threats.