It’s been considered one of the top five hardest jobs in America. Every month at least 1700 ministers leave the ministry for reasons other than retirement. 50% of ministers won’t make it more than 5 years before calling it quits. One of those reasons is the unrealistic demands many have embraced. Allow me to shed just a little light into “The Preacher’s Life.”
You see, I grew up a pastor’s kid all my life. I’ve been a pastor for over 20 years myself. Can I say that some things don’t really change?Sure, culture is always changing, but here are some challenges that remain the same for the average pastor.
1. Most Live In A Fish Bowl. Like or not, everyone keeps up with what you’ve done and especially what you’ve not done. Rightfully so. We’re held to a much higher standard than many. Yet, to fail to see a pastor’s human side is very unfair. Many are just waiting to cast a stone that says, “I knew it… you’re human.” Sure, we know that, but you would think at times others forget that. The average pastor lives under the perception that they have to be perfect, which will never be possible.
2. Most Have Few “Real” Friends. This might be one of the most overlooked things about pastors. Sure, we’re around folks day and night, involved in many people’s lives and conversations. But there are few people the pastor and especially the pastor’s wife feel they can really be themselves around. It’s hard for a pastor sometimes to transition from being a pastor to just being a person. Those who allow the pastor to just be honest, not feel condemned and are fully supportive no matter what are priceless.
3. Most Struggle To Minister To Their Family. My kids don’t call me pastor, but Daddy. My four boys want what every child desires: love, attention and devotion. If a pastor does not constantly guard his time he will lose his family while building his ministry. I tell my church often and I will remind you. A pastor’s primary ministry will always be his family. Yes, there are times that your family suffers because of your call and demand. But if I have to choose between my family and the church it won’t even be a close race. I’m going home and taking care of the family God has given me.
4. Most Don’t Know A Weekend. The average pastor will tell you that Sundays come very quick. We’re not done with one service before we’re already prayerfully planning for the next. Considering most of society is built around a normal work week, Pastor’s never feel they have a weekend. In my house, we spend all day Saturday making final preparations for Sunday.
5. Most Feel On Call 24/7 . Like a firefighter waiting with his gear beside him, so is the pastor knowing crisis can hit at anytime. There is no such thing as part-time ministry or even shift work. A pastor lives knowing his number can be called anytime, especially in today’s society where families falls apart every second. Being a pastor feels sorta like being Santa Claus. You know that many men, women, boys and girls depend on your faithfulness. And deep inside you don’t want to let anyone of them down. You often feel like you just need to get away. And, you always end your day knowing there is so much more to be done.
If you’re a pastor reading this right now I pray God’s blessing on your family and ministry. I understand firsthand the many sacrifices you make and the heavy burden it can be. Remember God has called you to be faithful, not fix the world. And, know that if God is pleased with your efforts that is all that matters.
To others reading this know that being a pastor is a calling, not a job. Your pastor needs your support and your prayers. He needs for you to want for him, the same as He wants for you and that is God’s best.