Category Archives: Congregations

Congregational Faith and imperfection



How does a congregation relate their faith to their relationship with their pastor? Too often, it seems to me, congregations give too much credibility to a few noisy complaints and not enough consideration to how their faith shapes their response to the imperfections of their pastoral leadership and their congregation. If both pastor and congregation are on a shared spiritual journey and they accept that they are saved by grace and not by works, how do they grow in the context of their own imperfections? Recalling the biblical image of how God continuously worked through an imperfect people and imperfect leaders, what do we learn about how to respond as a congregation.


A simple exercise might be a beginning:
Working together, have the session and the pastor make two lists. One list would be a ten item list that would describe the responsibilities of the pastor if the pastor was perfect. Go ahead and exaggerate. It’s OK.
The second list would be ten items that would describe the responsibilities of the congregation if the congregation was perfect.
Now, make a list of five ways for both the pastor and the congregation where less than perfection is being achieved.
Understanding that grace is made perfect in weakness, explore together how God might work redemptively through each list of five–particularly if both the pastor and the leadership intentionally worked to support each other in these areas.

This simple practice might strengthen your mutual understanding and the effectiveness of your ministry.