For better or worse, all Christians are under the same pressure as the pastor to live the Christian life as well as they can, most just don’t realize the responsibility. You’ve probably heard it said as often as I have that people don’t want to have anything to do with Christianity because they are hypocrites. Fair or unfair that is the impression that a number of people have of Christianity.
When pastors fall from grace, it is high profile. The media will latch onto the story and carry it wherever they can go with it. It is bad publicity for the Christian community. But the truth is that most people do not judge Christianity based on the slipups of a few wayward pastors. They may read about the sins of a pastor but they are most likely to judge Christianity based on what they have experienced from Christians. That means the average person in the pew goes much further in shaping others opinions on Christianity than a pastor because the average person knows many Christians but not many pastors.
Pastors are held to a higher standard by people who know them. People expect a pastor to be “holier” than them. But the non-Christian world isn’t basing their view of Christianity on pastors, they are basing it on the average Christian in the pew.
Paul instructed his readers to imitate him. Paul writes just this in 1 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore I urge you to imitate me.” As a pastor, Paul knew that everyone was looking to him as an example. He could only set this example so much as he imitated Christ however. In the end, Christ is the standard for all of us. Others will judge Christianity based on what we do for better or worse, whether we are pastors or average Christians. All we can do is do our best to imitate Christ in all that we do.