Jump directly to the Content

How Can So Many Pastors Be Godly and Dysfunctional at the Same Time?

Illuminating the blind spots in most approaches to spiritual formation.
How Can So Many Pastors Be Godly and Dysfunctional at the Same Time?
Image: Tolgart / Getty

Pastors can be godly and dysfunctional at the same time. They can be holy and not whole. They can be biblically faithful and psychologically broken. They can be prayer warriors and control freaks, spiritually mature and emotionally repressed. They can sincerely love Jesus yet be addicted to food or porn or pain meds. I know this to be true from experience.

For many years as a pastor, I was godly and dysfunctional at the same time. If you had come to live with me for a week in January 2015, slept on my couch, shadowed me through my day, you would have come away thinking, He’s a godly guy. He loves Jesus. He loves the Bible. He loves the church . He cares about his wife and children and making a difference in the world for Jesus. But you would have also seen that I was dysfunctional.

In 2015 I was granted a three-month sabbatical. Here’s what I had planned: I was going to finish writing one book, start writing another book, read through Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian ...

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.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

From the Magazine
When Violent Nationalism Backfired for God’s People
When Violent Nationalism Backfired for God’s People
Jesus saw the disastrous end of faith-fueled zealotry and warned against it.
Editor's Pick
Read Your Bible Through a Kaleidoscope
Read Your Bible Through a Kaleidoscope
Multicolored scholarship expands biblical interpretation beyond traditional Eurocentric perspectives.
close