In his book The Pastor as Minor Poet (Eerdmans), M. Craig Barnes writes, “Nobody really wants a perfect pastor. Those who sit in the pews may try to turn the pulpit into a pedestal, but that is only a projection of their own flawed aspirations to rise above their creaturely limitations. While there are certainly appropriate standards of faithfulness for leaders, what parishioners really want is a pastor who knows what it means to struggle against temptations and despair like they do. They want to be led by someone who has also stayed up all night fretting over choices, regrets, and fear; but who then found the quiet grace to start over the next morning.

“They want to see the gospel incarnated in a human life that is still far from complete but has become more interesting because the human drama is now sacred. In other words, they want a pastor who knows what it means to be them, but them in communion with God. Innocence is precious, but it’s the glimpses of redemption that truly compel.”

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