Lie number four.."They need me..And I'm indispensable."
There is little doubt that a modern day senior pastor is a busy person. There is little doubt that a modern day senior pastor's family is often neglected. There is very little doubt that many members of the modern day organization we call the local church believe and demand that a modern day senior pastor should ALWAYS be available to them when they, by their definition, are in dire straits.
Add all this together and you get a situation where a, shall I say it again, modern day senior pastor could, unless very careful about it, begin to believe a fourth lie that I state this way..."They need me..I'm indispensable you see." This particular lie can even be framed in spiritual language [It sounds so sacrificial] and, because of that, be defined as particularly godly. Unfortunately that is NOT the case at all.
There are several things wrong with this kind thinking and I wish to address a few that I think will clearly demonstrate that it is a lie in more ways than one.
First, we all agree that the church is the "Bride of Christ." He is her Groom and her head. [Source] As her Lord, He is her authority also. We would agree I'm sure that ALL members of a local body make up that local expression of the Bride of Christ which would include those teaching/leading her as pastors/elders/bishops. In other words, when I'm a teaching pastor, I'm still a part of the bride. I'm not the husband or head of that group. I'm CERTAINLY not the Lord over that group. In fact, I'm a husband/head [source] to only ONE PERSON. That is the woman who is my wife. [She has only ONE lord, by the way, and we've said who He is.]
Now..were I as a pastor to believe that I'm indispensable to the congregation and wind up being more intimate with the bride of Christ, [local body I pastor] in terms of time, commitment, communication, emotional involvement, resources, and general relationship building than I am my own bride, I would be committing spiritual adultery would I not? [Illicit spiritual intimacy with someone else's bride.] So unless I hold that physical adultery is different than.. or worse than.. spiritual adultery, I would, in fact, have a major problem with my own walk with my Lord AND my wife and would be disqualifying myself for a pastoral role to anyone. That, in and of itself, is sufficient to show me the error of such a lie.
Second, every person needs a sabbath. I'm NOT saying "The Sabbath." The Sabbath was unique to Israel and part of her covenant with God. By the way, that covenant was done away with [fulfilled] in Christ and a New Covenant has been ratified by His blood where EVERY DAY is a Sabbath for us [Jew/Gentile/bond/free Christians and we rest from any labor to please God for acceptance] because of being in Christ. He finished the work needed for acceptance quite well.
What I'm saying is that there is seen in creation a sabbath need for rest that means at least one day [Whatever that day might be.] a week ought to be taken to relax, recoup energy, and rest from ANY labor that is tiresome, including pastoring. And for a pastor that day IS NOT Sunday. This happens to be true across the board for human beings in my judgment regardless of job, age, gender, or whatever.
It is for this reason that I recommend what I heard someone else say YEARS ago about removing yourself from your work and investing yourself in your marriage/family and I adopted it as my own. He said [whomever it might have been] "Divert daily.. withdraw weekly..abandon annually." Those three things speak for themselves I'm sure. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what they mean. Each day spend some time investing yourself in the lives of your wife and/or children. Each week remove yourself from your work for an entire day for your personal and family time. Every year there needs to be several days invested in your family relationships with emphasis on isolation with them.
In my own life I made it MANDATORY after the truth about my not being indispensable to the local church became known to me several years ago. Then I saw to it that it was embraced by those with whom I served or had any influence over in the ministry. I remember the wife of a man on staff who came up to me and kissed me on the cheek [Mary standing there] and saying "Thank you pastor Paul for giving my husband back to his family." I can honestly say NO ONE has to sacrifice their own family for the sake of pastoring a people if it is done correctly in my personal opinion.
Third, it seems to me that the SINGLE greatest deterrent to embracing that lie would be to be biblical about having multiple elders instead of a single pastor which is historically Southern Baptist but may be so as a result of the westward expansion in the 1800's rather than the interpretation of scripture. That way no one person would be tempted to think of themselves as indispensable. Nothing like a few others who have their biblical heads on straight to keep yours from getting too big concerning yourself as a teaching pastor to a local congregation.
In reality, I think we are aware that the only indispensable one who is part of the church is the Holy Spirit. When we truly follow His leading we would never find ourselves committing spiritual adultery, failing to get needed rest and refreshment, or failing to be intimate with our own bride with regularity as He will ALWAYS lead us ONLY into acts of holiness and acts of righteousness..even as senior pastors.
What was it that Jack Nicholson said? "You can't handle the truth!!" [Oh..I'll bet we can.]