This article has been making the rounds. While I find much of it interesting I am also very glad that it doesn’t reflect my experience. I now that it does reflect some minister’s experience.
Here is his list in italics with my quick response in non-italicized type:
- Our greatest fear is irrelevance. My great fear? Bears
- We are mama’s boys. I think my dad would be offended by this. I read like my mom (no where near as fast) and I fish like my dad. A decent mix I think.
- S/he sees you when you’re sleeping. Yep if you sleep during the service I see it but I usually think that you must have had a hard week and therefore need a nap. I am glad my sermon helps you sleep in such cases.
- We think about quitting a lot. Not really. Yes I have thought of quitting but really not very often. I love what I get to do.
- We envy people who can be themselves. I’m pretty sure I usually am myself and I have rarely felt like I couldn’t be myself because I am a pastor.
- We are often spiritually starving. Not usually. If anything I feel like ministry energizes me spiritually.
- We are sinful, no different than you. Yep this one is true.
- We are lonely, because it’s hard to trust. Not really. Yes trusting is hard but it is worth it.
- Ministry is a hard job. Yes and no.
- We are more sensitive than you probably think. Maybe.
- We care about you more than you can imagine. Yep this one hit the nail on the head. I hurt for and celebrate with all the people that come into my life as a part of the ministry I get to be a part of. Sometimes it is very hard to shake the hurts.
Basically, while I have been through some tough times during my not quite 25 years of ministerial tenure I have to say that I have loved most of it. So if I were going to make a list of things you might not know about your pastor (me if you are a thread) this would be it.
1. I love what I get to do.
Yes, I have dealt with things, events, and people that I never could have received enough training to be able to handle, they are nothing compared to the joys and amazing people, events, and things that I get to be a part of. There can be a lot of pain in my typical day but I also get to see God do some amazing things in lots of people’s lives. That is worth any amount pin associated with being in the pit with people during the darkest moments of their lives. I don’t love the hurt that people I love and care about have to go through but I am honored that I get to be a part of God showing people that there is hope in the midst of the worst pain.
2. Yes pastoring can be time consuming but it is also very flexible.
I live out an odd schedule. The day I started writing this post I received a ministry related phone call at 4 am and since it was on the Google Voice phone number I use for ministry purposes the call went to both my cell phone and our house land-line. You want to see two parents of teenagers freak out, be in the house when the phone rings this early and both teens are spending the night camping and at friends. Both Pam and my hearts nearly exploded. Anyhow, Pam will tell you that phone calls at unusual hours are typical. These phones calls are almost always emergencies. I have been awoken at 2 am by a phone call from someone who is threatening to kill himself and needs to be talked down and at 5 am by a desperate wife who just found her husband dead in his recliner. Ministry is 24/7 365 days a year. It can take a great deal of time but it can also be incredibly flexible. I have been able to do things with my family that many people never have the opportunity to do because they work an 8 to 5 job. I have taken the boys to doctor’s appointment and sporting events that Pam wasn’t able to do because she had to be at a set location during her work hours. Once and a while I will hear a pastor complain about how much he/she works (In fact I once heard a pastor say in front of the church “I’ll compare my calendar with anyone here and prove I am busier than you”) and I always thing one of two things: 1) well that’s your own fault, or 2) you need to work a normal job at least once in your life.
3. it is a joy to serve you not a burden.
Thankfully I don’t hear this much but every now and then some one will start talking to me and say “I don’t want to take up all your time but …” I know they are worried that I might be too busy and they are just trying to be nice, but really I believe God called me into ministry to help people. If I am too busy for you then I am simply too busy and I need to correct that. I am honored when people allow me to be a part of God doing things in their lives.
I’m not going to do a list of eleven things. Hopefully the above three adequately convey the fact that it is a blessing to minister to and with people.