GQ recently had an interesting interview with Ted Haggard, former bigtime Evangelical pastor.
In it I was struck by how much difficulty he seems to have of letting go what happened--both by him, and, especially in reaction to him. As I understand it, New Life Church gave him a big severance payment but required him to leave the state for a couple of years.
Now Ted is back in Colorado Springs, staring a new church.
This article got me thinking about some pastors' ego-investment and identification with their churches--especially when the pastor either planted the church or had been with it for a long time.
When things are going well in that type of situation, what's good for the church is also good for the pastor. The church grows, s/he feels good about doing a good job. When the church has significant accomplishments, some of the credit goes to the pastor. In this sense, the ego-invested pastor basically spends most their work life doing things that can make them feel better about themselves and look better to others. (Not saying this happens to all or even most pastors).
This provides incentive for the pastor to put a lot of work and time into the church, making it all that more successful.
The problems with this approach are put into relief when the pastor is forced out of the church. It must be very confusing for the pastor when a group of people decide that what's best for the church (e.g., the pastor having to leave) is not what the pastor feels is best for himself/herself.
This must make it very confusing for someone like Ted Haggard to understand that an action deemed best for the church pushes him away from it.
I suppose a corollary to this might be that some pastors feel that what's good for them is, by definition, good for the church.
This highlights the need for pastors to have healthy, balanced lives outside of the church so that they don't view the church almost as an extension of themselves.