Thursday, September 22, 2016
As the Lord confirmed the call to ministry in my life, my dad sat me down and made a statement to me that could not be truer. He said, "Son, only those in ministry will ever understand ministry. Those in the pew will never understand what you and your family goes through." At the time I didn't even understand what he was saying, but now I certainly do. Ministry is unlike any other calling in the world. What I want to do today is describe for you some of the struggles and blessings of ministry. If you are a believer, I hope this helps you understand, even if just a little, what your pastor goes through.
First, if you are not called, you will never make it. More than 90% of those who enter the pastorate leave within 10 years never to return. This is not a job but a lifestyle. Unless God has called you to live this life, it will not even be remotely worth it.
Next, ministry is 24/7. You are never "off." This has accelerated with technology. We are more accessible now than ever before. I have returned from vacations to conduct a funeral on more than one occasion. If someone wants you at 3am, they expect to be able to call you and you meet their perceived need. It was advised to me to always go on vacation where it will be nearly impossible for me to return. Of course, those usually take more money than I have to spend. Please know people call your pastor at all hours for things that are meaningless.
Ministry is lonely. The pastorate has one of the highest suicide rates among all professions. So many pastors feel so alone. Many feel like they have no one to talk with or anyone who will understand them. It is extremely easy to find yourself deeply depressed and discouraged. Because very few understand the life they live, most pastors never let their emotions go. They are bottled up inside and ready to burst at any moment.
Ministry is filled with unrealistic expectations. You will never please everyone. If you have 100 people attending your church, you have 100 opinions on what you should do and how you should do it. Trying to please everyone will drive you insane. The pastor will never be able to please everyone, yet everyone thinks he ought to please them. The fundamental problem is most churches do a poor job of explaining what actually is expected to their pastoral candidate.
Finally, ministry is the most rewarding calling under the sun. There is nothing I would rather do than pastor. I know after what I have written that may shock you, however, it is the truth. When I left the pastorate last year, I wanted nothing to do with it ever again. I quickly learned that I had to do it. I was called to ministry. God has uniquely equipped me for it. As bad as it can be, the blessings are incredible. To see people come to faith in Christ, and then seeing them fall in love with Jesus more and more is incredible. To see relationships put back together by God is indescribable. To be able to walk through life with people as they face the troubles and trials is difficult yet astonishing. I absolutely love what God has called me to do. Is it easy? Not a chance, however, things that are tremendously rewarding seldom are.
Catch up on this series HERE!
I encourage you to pray for your pastor daily. He needs them greatly.