The magnificent, 'Dangerous Calling', by Paul David Tripp has made a timely intrusion to my summer reading plan. It is an uncomfortable mirror of a book, which frequently needs to be out down and considered with hones appraisal. For this reason it is a book to be read over a week or so rather than in a sitting.
At a time of personal transition, about to begin a new work in a new town, this paragraph on unhealthy expectations pulls no punches.
'It should be obvious that unhelpful assumptions made as the Pastor is coming to lead the church would be fruit in a whole set of unrealistic expectations. The biggest is that many churches simply don't expect their Pastor to struggle with sin. But he is not sin free! Since he is still being sanctified, sin still remains and is being progressively eradicated. They don't expect him to get discouraged in the middle of the war for the gospel. They don't expect him to be tempted towards bitterness or envy. They expect him to be a model father and husband. They don't expect him to be lazy or to settle for mediocrity. They don't expect that in moments of self protection, he will be tempted to be anti social and controlling.
They expect that he will be able to joyfully carry an unrealistic job description that would overwhelm anyone this side of Jesus's return. They expect that he will be content with significantly less pay than most people with his level of education. They expect that his wife is so fully committed to ministry herself that his coming to the church is actually a two for one deal. They don't expect that there will be moments when he is tempted to doubt the goodness of God. They don't expect that in a meeting or in the pulpit, fear of man will keep him from doing or saying the things that God calls him to do and say. They don't expect to hire a flawed man who is still desperately in need of the very grace that he is called to offer and exegete for others.'
Towards the end of the the book, Tripp comes to a conclusion which is true for all of us who lead, and all of us who form expectations as we follow leaders. 'There is only one Messiah, and I am definitely not him!'