Jump directly to the Content

Most pastors suffer the occasional bout of low self-esteem. Especially on the Mondays when we drink the blackest coffee we can find while we re-examine our calling.

Insufficient, inadequate, incapable, unnecessary—the pastorate has a way of making us wonder if we're really suited for this kind of leadership.

These feelings of insignificance, however, stem from a misunderstanding of what true leadership is. Having superficially trained ourselves on the burgeoning, popular leadership lore, we tend to prize our lives most when we see ourselves becoming powerful and influential—or in other words, becoming "necessary" to the churches we serve.

Eugene Peterson and Marva Dawn present a simpler, two-step philosophy of true success in their book, The Unnecessary Pastor (Eerdmans, 2000).

First, pastors should become Christ-centered.

Second, Peterson and Dawn advocate "just being there," helping God happen to the world, without needing to be the fulcrum of His work.

Peterson quotes Henri Nouwen ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

The Quality Church (Part 1)
The Quality Church (Part 1)
Leadership begins a search for the parameters of faithfulness
From the Magazine
Evangelicals Have Made The Trinity a Means to an End. It’s Time to Change That.
Evangelicals Have Made The Trinity a Means to an End. It’s Time to Change That.
For 2,000 years, church leaders held to the same Trinitarian doctrine. How did we lose our way?
Editor's Pick
Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care
Your Pastor Cares When You Don’t Care
Apathy ranked as the single biggest pastoral concern in 2022.