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Protecting the Shine: Why Ministers Need Ministry, Too

  • Glenn Wagner FutureLead
  • Updated Nov 16, 2011
Protecting the Shine: Why Ministers Need Ministry, Too


Stained glass windows are a lot like pastors. They're really good at hiding stormy weather. They always look beautiful; they always appear inspirational; you can even get them to glisten when it's pitch black outside by shining manufactured light through them. Stained glass, like pastors, appears to be immune from the roughness of life. But they're not—unless they're well protected.

On my way home this evening I called a pastor friend of mine to see how he was doing. He informed me that he had just returned from officiating at his Mom's funeral. He shared with me the joys and the sorrow he was feeling. This was ironic since I just returned from officiating at my Grandmother's funeral. I shared many of the same feelings as my friend. 

In the midst of our conversation, most of which revolved around the legacy of these two very special women, I asked my friend, "So, are you being pastored, pastor?" He laughed and said, "Absolutely." He then told me about all of the people who are pouring into his life. They realized that they needed to protect the stained glass of my friend's life, and he willingly accepted.

I know the debates (and war stories) are lengthy and legendary about pastors opening up too much during times of personal need. There is suspicion that this can be used against them. I've been there, done that, and have the t-shirt, coffee mug, and bumper sticker.

However, despite the risks, it's essential that those of us in ministry allow others into our lives. When you're hurting, let them pray for you; let them come and visit you and your spouse; let them bring you meals; let them hug you; let them care for you any way they want to. They're simply trying to protect the person in their life that shines Christ's light into their lives. They don't want you to break; they want you to keep shining.

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

E. Glenn Wagner is the founder and president of FutureLead (, an organization committed to equipping people to live and lead with purpose, passion and power. He's the author of numerous books including, God: An Honest Conversation for the Undecided (Waterbrook Press) and his latest book, Fire In Your Bones (Life Bridge). To schedule Glenn to speak or for more information, please contact

Original publication date: February 25, 2010