I read a blog recently from another pastor that kind of struck me the wrong way. The guy who wrote it is the pastor of an amazing church, and he is leading his congregation to do things that are truly kingdom sized. He is also smart and has tremendous insight into leading a church, so I don't want you to think that what I am about to say means I think he is a bad guy or an inadequate pastor.
He wrote on his blog about some things he thinks he should pay closer attention to now that he is a pastor. The actions on his list are pretty tame, things like the way he dresses, and how clean he keeps his car. He never says that he thinks these are things that all pastors should do, so why didn't I enjoy reading his opinions on the subject?
I guess it's because I have never been comfortable with the idea that there are separate standards for following Jesus based on what your job is. I know that the scripture says that with leadership comes responsibility, and I have certainly lived in that reality for the past 15 years. I also see in scripture where Jesus called all kinds of people to follow Him (fishermen, government employees, blind beggars, etc.) and He called them all to the same path. I believe Jesus expects all of us to represent Him well to the world we live in, not just the guys like me who stand and give a message on Sunday mornings.
It reminds me of a conversation that one of my best friends (who is on staff at his church) had with a woman in his church a few months ago. This lady was upset with him because he was making plans to see Van Halen in concert. He had known this lady before he was on staff at the church, and she had never had a problem with him seeing Van Halen in concert then. She believed that going to see Van Halen is appropriate behavior for a normal follower of Christ, but for a pastor it was wrong. I don't believe that kind of thinking is fair to the pastors or the non-pastors of the world. When my friend asked me my opinion I responded by asking, "Did you get me a ticket?"
Whoever we are whatever we do, Jesus has called all of us to follow Him completely. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in the "Cost of Discipleship", "When Christ calls a man He bids Him to come and die." That call to give up our own rights for the exciting life Jesus offers is the same for everyone.