Christian Track: Talking to Your Pastor about Your Addiction


Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.

There are usually two common errors when the average person thinks about taking the risk of sharing about there addiction, there “dirty little secret”, with there pastor. These two errors are polarizing extremes that will cause you to isolate and not share and therefore not get the help you need and deserve.

Overestimating the Pastor

#1- The first unhealthy view of Pastoral authority is to “over estimate” the role of the pastor. What do I mean? What I mean is that you would have too high of a view of your pastor and be intimidated, scared, embarrassed, or ashamed to share what is happening in your life with your pastor. Though not a Roman Catholic myself I do appreciate the degree of reverence that they traditionally have in there historical church for the transcendent things of God.

Unnecessary Veils

The big buildings, the stained-glass windows, the hierarchical leadership structures, the sacraments, etc… It’s all designed to make the believers aware that they are stepping into holy places and into a holy covenant relationship with God Almighty.

Unfortunately what this has done (at times) is that it has caused the common people (the believers) to feel an unnecessary veil between them and themselves and the leadership. So instead of getting real help and counsel for their sinful behaviors, beliefs and issues they pretend and perform to keep the bishops and leadership happy. This error of “overestimating” your Pastor won’t help you share your addictions, your pain and your sin with him.

The Antidote

Praying Hands with Holy BibleAntidote: Realize that your pastor is a broken, fallible, hurting person too! Newsflash: ALL PASTORS ARE SINFUL AND HAVE DEEP PLACES OF SHAME AND GUILT! Let that truth humanize them so that you can understand that you’re talking to a real person with real sin!

Underestimating Your Pastor’s Ability

#2- The second error that will cause you to avoid talking with your pastor about your addiction is to “underestimate” your Pastors ability, competencies and value. What do I mean by this? Well, as we live in an increasingly “post-Christian” culture the idea of “pastoral ministry” and “soul care” have become almost a social joke where we praise “efficiency” and “production”.

Creating Suspicion?

This has marginalized the role of the pastor and has even made many people suspicious of local Church pastors. Horror stories and caricatures have made people hesitant to move to pastoral care for dealing with life’s difficulties.

The Antidote

Therapist comforting male patientAntidote: Most pastors aren’t just a bunch of idiots who couldn’t make it in the real world so they started drinking coffee with people and decided that they would talk with people about God. Most Pastors aren’t the abusive, mean, nasty caricatures that the media has made them out to be.

Most pastors are seriously educated, seriously gifted, and seriously passionate men who feel burdened by the call of God in there life to shepherd people for God’s glory and man’s joy. As a local Church Pastor I will tell you that one of the greatest joys and privileges I have is to walk with people in the most desperate situations and lead them and serve them to help them see and savor the beauty of life when lived on God’s terms.

As a local Church Pastor please let me invite you and all, we are here and we are ready to serve the most addicted, most messed-up, most needy and most desperate. Jesus did just that and we get the privilege to follow His lead!

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you shared your addiction and recovery journey with your pastor? How was it received and how was it helpful to your recovery?

About the Author:

Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.

Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 19th, 2015
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