I’ve written in the past about why church members struggle with trusting pastors. On the other hand, I’ve also written about characteristics of pastors I’ve learned to trust. Even if it takes a while to get there in your life, here are some signs you trust your pastor:
- You see him as a man of God. You just have a sense that he walks with God in all areas of his life.
- You genuinely believe he has your best spiritual interest at heart. Even when he must speak forthrightly to you or others, you know he does it out of spiritual concern.
- You’re willing to share your struggles with him. That is, you not only trust his concern, but you also respect his wisdom in guiding you.
- You have no question he’ll handle responsibly anything you tell him. He may not promise confidentiality to you before knowing your concern (in fact, I recommend we don’t promise blanket confidentiality), but you know he will handle your information and situation with great care.
- If you disagree with him, you don’t question his motives. You may not agree with your pastor on everything, but you don’t doubt he’s seriously and prayerfully considered all matters.
- You admire the way he treats his family and the way his family loves him. He clearly loves them, and those who know him best show him great respect—which makes him even more trustworthy in your eyes.
- You don’t question his integrity. You never approach a conversation with him with suspicion about his trustworthiness, nor do you wonder about anything he’s said in the pulpit.
- He’s one of the first persons you turn to when you need prayer. You trust his spiritual walk, and nothing about him suggests anything less than a clear prayer channel to God.
- You would grieve his leaving your church, but you know he’d do so only in obedience to God. Your heartache over his departure would be trumped by your realization that he listens to the Word and the Spirit of God.
- You refer to him as “my” or “our” pastor. I can tell you as a pastor that there’s joy when God’s people trust us, are glad to have us in their lives, and lovingly support us as their pastor.
May all of us pastors be trustworthy, and may God give you a shepherd you learn to trust!