Insecurity and a Buffer

Many, many pastors I have met struggle with some degree of personal insecurity. I think there are at least two reasons: The first is that Pastoral ministry can attract insecure people because (like it or not) it is the only position where a leader is able to wield the "God's Will Trump Card." Guys who are insecure can be attracted to pastoral ministry because it gives them power with something to hide behind. In my experience, this gets sniffed out pretty early in a pastor's ministry which effectively limits his influence. Most pastors I know are not insecure because of this.

Pastoral ministry affects every realm of a person's life. Church people are everywhere, and they're watching and evaluating. On Sunday, people are evaluating his sermon; on Tuesday they are evaluating whether or not he was friendly enough when he ran into them at a restaurant. 

Even the most beloved pastors I know report that they receive hateful mail from anonymous "Long Time Members/Givers" on a regular basis. At larger churches, those letters become almost a weekly occurrence, and that's for pastors who are long-tenured and beloved by the vast majority of the congregation. 

It's easy for a pastor to feel as if there is more armchair quarterbacking within the church they lead than takes place during the Super Bowl.

I've found that pastors need a close group of wise (non-staff) men and women whom they trust to give them honest, unvarnished feedback. Those men and women should agree to be his insecurity control. If they give the pastor honest feedback, both positive and negative, they will be a great buffer for the pastor's insecurity. He won't have to worry about being insecure; just serve and listen to them. 

Paying too much attention to anecdotal letters will either make a pastor insecure or arrogant. Instead, find a group of wise individuals who will give you the straight truth and trust them.