Celebrating Pastors In Recovery – a Safe Place for Leaders

by Hess Hester

One of the questions Im often asked in one form or another about Celebrating Pastors In Recovery is the following: Why do pastors need to have their own special group? Why cant they be courageous enough to be transparent with the church they pastor?

The answer to that question is easy for most pastors to understand but itss a challenge to communicate to someone who has never been a pastor before. If you’re a pastor, you already know the answer: most pastors do not feel safe enough in their churches to be as transparent as they need to be in order to experience the healing they seek. I wish that were not the case.

For example, one of my dearest friends from college days was pastor of a church in the Midwest. At one point during their ministry in that church he and his wife were having some struggles. Divorce was never discussed, but they were struggling. His wife, feeling very isolated in the situation, took into confidence the one woman in the church she felt she could trust 100%. She shared with this woman a little of the nature of the problems they were having in their marriage- which, by the way, had nothing to do with anything immoral. As it turned out, the one woman she felt she could truly trust was not trustworthy at all. The end result was a lot of gossip which ultimately led to the resignation of my friends.

Tragically, I could tell many similar stories. I hear new ones every day. The bottom line is that far too many churches are not safe and a pastor has to be very discerning as to how transparent to be regarding his own personal struggles. And, that not only goes for pastors, but too many churches are not a safe place even for laity to share their issues without being made to feel like one of those people.

Why are so many churches not safe? Ironically, its because the church itself is in need of recovery – corporate recovery! Such churches become a major contributing source of why many pastors ultimately seek recovery themselves. Thats the role of CPR – to provide a safe environment in which pastors can recover in Christ and find the support they need along the way.

I can’t conclude this post without saying how grateful I am to be in a safe church. What a privilege! Believe me, I realize how fortunate I am, not only because of what I hear and observe, but also because I’ve been a pastor or on staff in my own share of unsafe churches in the past. If youre interested in CPR, complete a quick, safe survey and well be in touch!