(Disclosure: for those who do not know, I am a pastor.)
One of the best things about living in an internet age is the amazing accessibility – via YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes, ministry websites, etc. – of some of the best preaching and teaching in the world. Men like Piper, Chandler, Driscoll, Mahaney, Dever, Francis Chan, Mohler, and Tim Keller are just a click away. I profit greatly from this gift.
However, it can bring frequent comparison. Seen and heard from a distance, these men seem to be the perfect pastors. When all you know is their on-line persona, they oft times appear to have no faults. You can turn them off when you want to. You choose when you want to listen and when you don’t. They don’t personally step into your life, sometimes in places where you don’t want them to tread. You wish your pastor could be like them.
I am acutely aware of how far off the mark I am from perfect. Just ask my family. Just ask my flock.
John Piper (one of the great means of the grace of God in our day) points this truth out via Newton. He says there are no perfect pastors. He is right, and praise God he lets us serve him, and our people, anyway.
On his birthday, let John Newton (author of “Amazing Grace”) tell us why there aren’t any perfect pastors.
In my imagination, I sometimes fancy I could [create] a perfect minister. I take the eloquence of ______, the knowledge of ______, the zeal of ______, and the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of ______. Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, “This would be a perfect minister.”
Now there is One, who, if he chose to, could actually do this; but he never did it. He has seen fit to do otherwise, and to divide these gifts to every man severally as he will. (Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, p. 107.)