When Your Glass House is Messy


Pastoral ministry comes with high expectations. Living in so-called glass houses, often pastors are expected to be more holy, more full of grace, more godly than they are. In this post, Steve Brown encourages pastors to be open about their own need for grace. Steve is host of Key Life, a syndicated radio program that teaches about grace and the Christian life. He is Professor of Practical Theology Emeritus at Reformed Theological Seminary and has authored numerous books including No More Mr. Nice Guy and Three Free Sins.

How have you personally experienced pressure from those you pastor to maintain an untenably high level of holiness?
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How does sharing your own struggles from the pulpit or counseling session serve as an encouragement to those you are pastoring?
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How can you actively seek to create a “soft place” like Steve described in your church?
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The pressure to maintain an untenable image can debilitate your ability to effectively shepherd your people. Seek to be honest with your own sins and struggles, confessing your own dependence on grace. This will not only be a benefit for your congregation, but also for your relationship with the Lord.


As we’ve already discussed in this post, pastors deal with the same struggles and temptations that members of their churches face. Watch as Steve describes his struggle with jealousy and how the Lord led him to find freedom from it.

Steve explained how he first confessed his jealousy to a brother. Who do you have that keeps you accountable? What impact has this person had on your emotional and spiritual health?
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How would you have handled the encouragement to confess your jealousy to the person you held jealousy towards? What fears would you have going into such a conversation?
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Take a moment and pray, asking the Lord to reveal if there is anyone you need to approach to confess a sin or ask for forgiveness. 

The great news of the grace available to us in Christ is that there is nothing that we can do that can separate us from His love. This gives us the freedom to struggle (even as a pastor), and the freedom to approach others when we need to seek their forgiveness. We can approach them in confidence because we have been already accepted by God through Christ.