One of the best ways to discourage a pastor is to make him feel he is unneeded. In fact, a pastor’s desire to feel needed shows itself in a variety of ways. The most obvious way the desire for significance manifests itself is in the pastor wanting to do all the work. He has to make every visit. He has to preach every Sunday. He has to be at every meeting. He has to conduct every wedding and funeral. Because of this desire, he will not delegate tasks. He will not take his vacation time. He will not allow others to help. This controlling posture in the church can easily be camouflaged as faithfulness and zeal to labor hard in the work of the ministry. However, it eventually leads to two common results: burn out and family neglect.

The demand for significance can also lead to the neglect of the family when certain people in the church make him feel more significant than his wife and children do. A pastor can easily deceive himself that he really needs to meet with a young man in the church to help him work through his problems—even if it means missing dinner with the family for the third straight evening. A pastor should not underestimate the persuasive power of a young man who thinks he hung the moon and hangs on every word he says, when compared to a tired, spent wife and cranky toddlers that await his homecoming.

Pastors, we all desire to feel needed. Do not allow that desire to cloud your discernment that will inevitably lead to bad decisions and skewed evaluation of our priorities.