This week I have blogged about the Pastor’s wife and the Pastor’s kids, so my final post in this vein will answer, “What’s it like to be a pastor?” Well, I can only answer that question for myself but most pastors and preachers that I speak with usually share similar ideas.
1. I feel really inadequate. Sure I grew up in the Church, went to Bible College and I am in the Bible reading and studying 6 days a week – but I am talking about GOD. That is huge. Does anyone ever feel like they have all the answers and have explored this topic completely. Okay, maybe in my 20’s I thought I had everything figured out but who doesn’t at that age? We worship an all-powerful, all-knowing God who can do anything He wants at any time. I am a small speck on the planet and I usually feel the weight of that when I speak and teach.
2. I struggle with Christians. I wish this one were not true. In fact, I thought that people in the Church would be these Christlike people who loved and were filled with joy all the time. Unfortunately all of us are being transformed into Christlikeness and there is a lot of ugliness that can come along the way. I really think the problem comes down to the fact that in the Church we expect better actions but it just doesn’t always happen. I struggle with the hypocrisy, back stabbing, annoying and difficult people as much as you do. I live with the reality that people can feel the same way about me.
3. I feel incredibly lonely most of the time. This might shock you, but I have heard it from preachers time and time again and I have felt it deeply myself. Lots of people talk to me, but most people want to talk about themselves and share their struggles. I am glad to listen to them and pray for their situation but that is not how a friendship works. A friendship is a give and take thing. You speak and you listen. The times I have opened up, my wife and kids too, it has frequently come back to bite us later. We open our hearts up about a struggle, sin or feelings about others and later that info is made public to hurt and humiliate us. Real relationships take years to form and it can be a lonely time until those are established.
4. I get tired of preaching. I love to preach. I love seeing people understand something new. I love seeing the light come on as an idea finally clicks in their head. With that said, the last 6 years I have preached 49-51 times a year and it can be draining. It is hard to come up with creative, educational and entertaining messages every week. Vacations are wonderful but short-lived because Sunday is always coming.
5. I do not know what to do with personal praise. I am glad that people like my sermons and hopefully are learning from them. I am glad they tell me the impact they are feeling, but I honestly do not know how to feel about it. I simply want two things in my ministry: Peoples lives transformed by obedience to the gospel. People to give glory to God.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved to be encouraged, but I am never exactly sure how to feel about it.
I know that all of these observation start with the word, “I” and it feels self-indulgent and self-serving. I hope it does not come off that way. I just want you to know part of this pastor’s soul and possibly every pastor you know. Maybe it will help you to relate to this unique group of Church leaders in a new way. Maybe it will help the Church be a place where love and grace flow to all – even Pastors.
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