Two Antidotes to Ego
A person right out of seminary very often has just gotten lots and lots of new knowledge and pretty quickly finds themselves talking to people in their church or people around them that have much more naïve and simplistic views of things. So beginning to get somewhat arrogant—even if you don’t express it on the outside—is pretty easy. Even if you’re smart enough not to look arrogant, it can be that inside, your eyes are rolling when you hear people talk.
One of the things that can knock that smirk off your ego’s face is the lack of pastoral experience—that is, really getting involved with people who’ve got problems and seeing how hard it is for them to get better. Seeing not so much the limits of your knowledge, but that though you know it well enough to get an A or B in a course, you really do not quite know how to communicate and apply it. So in some ways you realize, “I know all this stuff but in a lot of ways I don’t know how to use it and how to apply it.” And so lots of pastoral experience will humble you.
One of the things that can knock that smirk off your ego’s face is the lack of pastoral experience.
The second thing is that you need to be talking to people outside of your theological tribe. Because when you talk to other people who are smart but don’t have your view on things and you try to interact with them, you realize, No, I don’t know my stuff as well as I thought. Or I’m a little more smug about my positions and I realize there is another view.
And so talking to people outside your theological tribe and lots of pastoral experience will probably deflate the big head that we tend to have coming out of seminary.
A pastor may hear the still, small, devilish voice of inner doubt: Maybe I’m not really called to pastoral ministry.
The gospel gives hope and encouragement to weary pastors—hope and encouragement that cannot be found anywhere else.
As we sweat out the disciplines of a godly pastor, remember, with Paul, what energizes us to live them out.