Phil Miglioratti of PrayingPastor.com and the National Pastors Prayer Network recently interviewed Mark Elliott, author of 
Confessions of an Insignificant Pastor: What Pastors Wish They Could Tell You...

Phil: At first glance, the title made me think this is a book pastors would want to give to their church members, but as I read through it, I get the impression this book is as much for pastors as it is for those who pray for and care about them.

Mark: Absolutely! It is for the WHOLE body of Christ, ALL will benefit from these pages. It will open up a healthy dialogue among church attenders, among pastors, and among laity with pastors.

Phil: The term "transparency" appears several times in the very first pages of the book - Why? 

Mark: By and large we Christians are not transparent with one another. We tend to be religious, wear masks, and pretend we have it all together. We put our pastors on pedestals and refuse to let them be human beings. This book is meant to bring us out of our closets and into the light so that we can be set free to be ourselves and walk in the amazing grace of God without fear, insecurity, and judgment. 

Phil: The 16 chapters cover a wide ranger of emotions and circumstances. Talk about: 

Mark:

  • "I'm Not That Sharp" - I'm not near as good as I pretend to be. I'm often faking it until I make it. I'm putting my best foot forward and hoping I don't trip up in front of others and embarrass myself. We hide behind our pride and air of self-sufficiency when only Christ's sufficiency can make us sufficient.
  • "I'm Battling Sin" - Who are we fooling to pretend we are with out sin. We just don't like to talk about it. The Bible tells us to confess our sins with one another in the body of Christ. Most of us don't because it's too dangerous. The church body might judge us, condemn us, or use it against us. Sin can't properly be dealt with until it's confessed, talked about, admitted too, and brought out into the light of Jesus Christ's' grace.
  • "I'm Not Bill, Andy, Rick or Ed" - It's so easy to get in the trap of comparing ourselves to others or copying our ministries or lifestyles after someone very different than we are. We simply cannot wear another man's armor. It doesn't fit who we are. We must be ourselves and be judged against God's will for our lives not another persons brilliance.
  • "My Best Days Are Behind Me" - We live in a country that pushes us to the ultimate goal of a cushy, lazy retirement. You don't find retirement in the Bible. Many of God's saints ministered, worked, and influenced other well into their golden tears. As we get older we have so much experience, wisdom, and expertise to offer. Why quit when you finally got many things figured out? We need to refire rather than retire. Your best days could yet be out in front of you. It's more about attitude and perspective than age. The new 70 is today's 50. "I'm Disillusioned By The Ministry" - The ministry can wear on you over the years. People will let you down. Christians don't always act Christ-like. Mean and nasty thinks happen in churches. Many a pastor has said to themselves, "This isn't what I signed up for." If we are not careful bitterness, anger, fear, and other negative emotions can cause the tipping point in our ministry that leads to burnout, quitting, and down right disillusionment with the whole system.


Phil: Though your book is glaringly honest about weakness and even failure, it is really about spiritual development. At the end of each chapter you challenge the reader with self-examination questions they can use to journal, discuss in a small group, or even as a devotional, plus a faith-filled confession and a power prayer. How can these tools benefit pastors struggling with insignificance?