This is for all my pastor friends. It may not make as much sense to readers who haven’t served in that role.
One thing that sets me apart from some pastors is the amount of time I spent in the business world is greater than the time I have been in ministry. It has given me a unique perspective.
It’s also helped me realize I didn’t understand the unique pressures of ministry completely until I was in ministry. It’s made me want to encourage pastors whenever I can. That’s the point of this post.
Here are 7 hard, but hopefully encouraging words:
You aren’t promised church growth – Check the Scriptures for examples, but I’m not sure you’ll find anything. You’re promised ultimate victory, but not immediate success. I do believe a healthy church is a growing church – either externally or internally. It’s producing more disciples, but you may be there for a season of preparation for future growth some other pastor will realize. You may be used to grow people who will leave to bless others. It doesn’t always seem like glamorous work when numbers aren’t going up as fast as we’d like, but it’s necessary work.
Be careful not to fall into the comparison trap with other pastors or churches. God uses all of us uniquely. You would tell your church every volunteer role is important. So is every position to which God has called His servants.
You’ll never please everyone – And, you’ll destroy yourself and your ministry trying. That’s true regardless of how how much you want to make people happy. You can say what you think people want to hear and do what they want you to do and you still won’t make everyone happy.
It’s better, therefore, just to do the right thing following God’s direction, and not worry as much about making people happy. This doesn’t mean you don’t listen to people, and there is never an excuse for arrogance or tyranny, but remember your calling is to make people disciples not entertain them.
Your call is bigger than your assignment – And, it’s a good thing. Your call is to a person. THE PERSON. The person of Jesus Christ. God calls us to tasks, which give Him glory. If it’s easy for us we can take credit.
This is another reason not to worry about how big or small your current assignment is.
People are talking about you – Let’s just be honest about it. It’s not just a feeling you have. They are. And, that’s not always a bad thing. I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve walked up on conversations about my new granddaughter.
The reality is you are an influencer in their life, hopefully, and that naturally stirs conversation – good and bad. Don’t be as concerned about people talking about you as you’re concerned about your heart and character being obedient to God.
Your priority isn’t always other people’s perceived priority for you – People want you to do what they think you need to be doing – and what they want you to do. That’s natural. Of course, the problem is the number of competing expectations in the church. You can never convince some people you have responsibilities beyond their individual needs. And, that’s okay. You can’t understand everything in their world either.
Just stay true to your purpose. Honor God with your time and give Him glory. Work for the pleasure of One and you’ll be fine.
People don’t love your family as much as you do – I’m not saying they don’t love your family. I’m sure they do. But, their wants (and demands) will sometimes trump their love for your family. That’s human nature too. It means if you want to protect your family and your time with them – it’s up to you and not them. Love your church. Love them well. That’s your responsibility, but in the process remember only you can love your family the way they deserve to be loved.
Your greatest reward is yet to come – You may not always hear how good a job you are doing. They may not always post “excellent, life changing message” on your Facebook wall. But we shouldn’t live for that either. If we do it makes us very ineffective and causes pride to get in our way.
Some days you’ll wonder if you’re making headways at all. But, remember, your greatest rewards will be the ones for which you wait longest. And, if you are faithful – if you’re obedient – your future reward is going to be amazing. How could it not be coming from our amazing God?
Pastors, I love you. Praying for you. Let me know if I can help.