This is part 2 of 6 in our Spiritual Formation for Pastors Series.

Pastors can be insecure in their position, because of expectations of others, of religious culture, or themselves. To serve with integrity and wholeness in any circumstances, a pastor’s identity and value must be found in Christ, independent of his pastoral career.

Pastors Often Find Their Identity in Their Ministry Role or Performance

  • Found in position – as a pastor. Develop a professional persona.
  • Found in performance – positive emotions or feelings of God’s approval fluctuate based on attendance or budget numbers or accolades.

Our Identity Must Be Rooted in God’s Unconditional Love

  • Colossians 3:3 “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
  • Would your faith be authentic, growing whether or not you have a career as a pastor?
  • Build identity, not in roles or performance, but in your standing as a beloved child of God and as a co-heir with

The challenge for pastors: people will feed your tendency to build your identity on the wrong things. They will applaud you and/or criticize you based on external, performance-based criteria. You won’t get feedback from congregation based on your identity in Christ.

Adapted from Resilient Ministry by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie. ©2013 by Bob Burns, Tasha D. Chapman and Donald C. Guthrie. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515-1426.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. What is your greatest ministry accomplishment in the last five years? What is your greatest ministry failure?
  4. How do you respond emotionally to accomplishments and failures in ministry? To criticism and praise?
  5. Read Colossians 3;3. How does this verse help us maintain an appropriate sense of identity in any circumstances?
  6. Who can help you assess your sense of identity in Christ?
  7. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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