In the part of the world where I was born, religion plays a very vital role in the life of the people. Poor people often find solace in the hope that religion offers and to some extent “Pastors” are well respected and almost worshipped especially when trails of newsworthy miracles follow them around. Here, people are more interested in your ability to wow them with miracles than your ability to teach them the word of God which is the major reason why we gather.
As a result, so many Pastors try to live up to expectation. People also value the words of their Pastor which is a good thing but they run to Pastor for what isn’t in the Pastor’s job description. This is where they make serious mistakes and this is where lots of Pastors miss it. Many Pastors will claim to have answers to things they don’t know because they want to appear relevant. Those who have extra coaching abilities will rob others of the time they have dedicated to learning the gospel just to listen to his coaching lectures every Sunday!
It is okay to be a Pastor and still know a thing or two about marriage counselling, business, career and so on. It’s okay to teach what you know including things happening in the society. It is okay to always throw in counsels when needed but in areas of your expertise.
Here is where the problem lies.
When we think that being a business, career, relationship and life coach is the same as being a Pastor, then we are missing it! In the Church ministry, it will be wrong prioritizing certain things against the main reason for our calling as Pastors. Many times, because of how we present ourselves, people tend to think we have all the answers to all their questions. We never saw a place in the Bible where marriage and career were based on Pastor’s decisions.
An elderly female preacher once told us a story in a conference. She had a Pastor whom she submitted to and was committed to the ministry in which he has been called. When suitors started coming to seek her hand in marriage, she went to her Pastor to seek counsel. This wasn’t a decision her Pastor was supposed to make for her, it was a decision she was to make on her own. But because she believed Pastor had all the answers to every question, she went to him to seek counsel. This Pastor asked her not to marry the very person her heart was beating for. He encouraged her to marry a richer suitor who can take care of her.
She went home, she was having some doubts this time about what the Pastor had told her. She prayed and was convinced in her Spirit that the same man her Pastor asked her not to marry was the man she should marry. She defied all odds and got married to this man. Her Pastor wasn’t a bad person but at that moment of decision making, he didn’t offer the best counsel. Her marriage was and is still blissful without issues for more than 35 years… Why? Because she realized Pastor doesn’t have all the answers and they have boundaries.
The ministry of the Pastor is to teach and disciple people with the word of God. It is not to make decisions for them. As a Pastor, you’re still very great if the only thing you know and can teach is the gospel. Why not focus on it? You must not give answers to every area of life just because you are scared to have your members seek knowledge from elsewhere. Stop confusing people with what you are ignorant of. You’ll still do better as a Pastor teaching nothing else but the word of God.
If you are a life coach and also a pastor, you must learn that the two aren’t interwoven, you ought to separate them! Practice your calling as a Pastor and coach people without the “ministry attachment”. Don’t enforce your opinion on people just the same way you teach them the Bible authoritatively. Church services aren’t the time to display your extra coaching skills. I agree, to Pastor people is to coach them but it has it’s limit… A pastor is only meant to disciples believers to mature and grow in the knowledge of the word of God. Anything outside that isn’t included in the job description of a Pastor.
Learning to separate the two will bring a balance. As a minister of the gospel and also an ICT coach, I know I can’t come to an audience yearning to learn the gospel and start teaching them ICT. I don’t automatically become my ministry proteges’ relationship, career or ICT coach if they never signed up for it. If they are signing up for it, they are doing so at their own discretion, as a separate business and without a ministry label attached. This way, we don’t start mixing up things for ourselves, we don’t come to a gathering where people want to learn the word of God and start teaching them how to make money or how to woo a girl! I’d rather fix a date for that but not certainly on events and meetings dedicated for the gospel of which I was called to teach.
A pastor isn’t necessarily a career or relationship coach, being a Pastor doesn’t give anyone right to control others and impose decisions on them. People should be free to have an opinion and coaching isn’t about having an opinion, it is about showing people things from a better perspective without robbing it on their face as a superior-no-alternative answer. After you’re done, they have the right to chose or reject your perspective.