I am and probably will be a child at heart as long as I live. Perhaps it’s in my DNA or I can blame my dad for influencing my personality—but I don’t always feel my age. In fact, I was just recently showing one of my colleagues my latest Star Wars Lego diorama that adorns my office. It makes my children go weak in the knees and beg me so they can play with it. They cry out, “These are toys! You should play with them!” But I quip back, quoting Will Ferrell from the Lego movie, “This isn’t a toy . . . it’s a highly sophisticated interlocking brick system.” One day my children will inherit my Legos, but not before I superglue them in place!

I’ve seen my own fellow ministerial colleagues acting like teenagers on Red Bull, and it’s a fun time. But there’s a time and place for everything. Can you act like a kid when you’re home on your day off? Sure, why not? Family vacation? Sure, go for it? In the pulpit? Probably not. Church fellowship? It’s unadvisable. Why is this the case?

Bottom line, whether you like it or not, you wear a mantle of authority—you are the leader and pastor of a church, and people look to you for guidance, leadership, and balance. If you’re constantly cracking jokes in the pulpit, fail to take yourself seriously in any setting, or dress like you’re still in high school, then chances are people won’t take you seriously when it really matters. Sure, they might like to hang out, laugh, and have a good time with you, but when the chips are down and they need serious advice, will they come to you? Chances are they won’t come to you if they see a immature man-child—they’ll go to someone else who they respect.

I’m not saying you have to conceal your personality, and I’m not saying that you can’t have fun, and I’m not saying you can’t let your inner child out every once in a while. But I am saying that there are times and places for such things and when you’re in a prominent place, such as the pastorate, you need to think deliberately about how you conduct yourself. Some might object and say, “This type of conduct makes me claustrophobic and doesn’t allow me to be me.” My response to this is simple, I don’t want to do anything that will compromise my ability to be a continual beacon to Christ, regardless of the circumstances. In Christ’s terms, I say no to myself, take up my cross, and follow him (Matt. 16:24). I would rather point people to Christ than indulge my desire for unrestrained laughter. Pointing people to Christ will fill you with true joy and satisfaction whereas unfettered laughter is always fleeting.