A Letter to the Church, from a Pastor

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I’m blessed with so many pastor friends. I have the opportunity, through my blog and personal ministry, to interact with hundreds of pastors every year. After hearing many of their concerns, I decided to write a letter to the church. Obviously, I can’t and won’t attempt to speak for every pastor, but this will represent many.

I actually held onto this post for a while, because I was concerned it would seem self-serving. Thankfully I have good support around me, so this is designed to speak for others. I’m thankful God has given me abundant support in ministry, but I feel the weight of many pastors and ministers.

Dear church,

I want to be honest with you…on behalf of many pastors I know. You want me to be honest, right?

It’s hard to know who to trust. There, I said it. But, seriously, we’ve been burned so many times. As soon as we think we can trust you, we can’t. Many of us simply don’t trust anyone. We keep to ourselves and never really get to know anyone. It’s not wise, but it feels safe.

We love you, but we love our family too. We enjoy having an uninterrupted meal. We like having a night at home. We want days occasionally that are completely ours, to do what we want, with no church responsibilities. No church texts, no church calls, no church emails, no church visits. I know, sounds selfish right?

Saying “no” is hard, especially with your reaction. We know very well that every decision we make is unpopular with someone. And, sometimes, you make it very uncomfortable for us to disagree. We want to be liked as much as anyone. I know, sometimes that makes us seem shallow, doesn’t it?

We need a few people who are in it for Jesus and others, more than for themselves. When we find those people…wow…it makes our day. We feel like we are accomplishing something. Those people fuel us for ministry.

We have to wear many hats. Some we are skilled at and some we are not. You thought seminary taught us everything, didn’t you? No, in fact, we feel very inadequate at much of the things required of us. We need your help, but sometimes it’s hard to ask…because we don’t know who to trust…remember?

We want you to love us in spite of our limitations. That makes sense to us, because you want us to love you that way, but sometimes we feel you love us only as long as we are “performing” as you’d have us to perform. (Wow, did I just say that?)

We feel so responsible…for everything. Church growth. Church discipline. Church health. And, your spiritual growth and personal happiness. I know, ultimately Jesus is in charge of all things, but we feel the weight of our role to see that each of these are completed. That’s a lot of self-induced pressure, isn’t it?

We love you. We really do.

Pastor

Thanks pastors, for all you do. My 93-year-old mentor pastor says it is harder today than ever in his ministry to pastor a church…and he just took another interim pastorate. The pressures are great. People are distracted by many things. The church is often not the revered and loved place in our communities that it used to be.

Personally, I’m thankful for good leadership and staff around me at each of the churches where I’ve served, but my heart goes out to the pastor who doesn’t feel the support of the church and is the only staff member. Remember, you are doing noble work and you are part of something bigger than today, you and even your church! The local church…the body of Christ…is still in God’s plan today…and nothing will overcome that. Praying for you today!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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24 thoughts on “A Letter to the Church, from a Pastor

  1. Great thoughts, Ron. I too find myself surrounded with a wonderful support system, to the glory of God. That has made and continues to make all the difference for me in my relatively new role as a senior pastor.

    Keep up the great work, Ron!

  2. Thank you so much! As someone who has been serving the local for 20 years and loves the church, thanks for building into the church and encouraging her! LIke I've said before, you're blog & leadership is a huge gift to pastors, thanks!

  3. Thanks Ron. Hit it right on the head. Can you please anonymously post this to my church's facebook page so that it doesn't look self-serving coming from me? :)

  4. Great post Ron. I know many that will be glad you shared. You demonstrated the inward struggle many of us face while also expressing the joy and love in which we serve. Good words.
    Twitter: jacobwinn

  5. I can't imagine why anyone would become a pastor, except that God calls them. Having said that~there is not one pastor who doesn't know exactly what the job involves. It's like becoming a doctor & then complaining about the long hours, no time for family etc. This is the ministry they are called to. To preach & care for all the people in a church. Like I said, why would anyone become a pastor? The job description is never gonna change. Perhaps some pastors aren't really called to be shepherds. I've met pastors who have admitted that they don't even really like people :(

    • Yes, it's true that some pastors don't even really like people for some reasons. I teach that we must first love ourselves before love the others. It is okay to like or not to like someone. Never hate them or you'll hate yourself. It is okay to hate their "evil" actions. Always love everyone as Christ commands you.

  6. That was so good. I am so glad you posted it. Because of my viewpoint for so many years being an administrative secretary to pastors, God has given me a heart of compassion for them. I feel as you do, so many of them suffer and hurt. A few years back God asked me to stir people up to pray for them. Pastors need our prayer, so I started Friday Pastor Prayer Day On Twitter: http://www.thebridegroomscafe.com/ssdigdeep3.htm and it really took off because people out there all over the globe do share God's heart for pastors. Thank you for this post, it is so needed and people need to hear it and respond to GOD and pray, love and encourage their pastors! AWE-GOD
    Twitter: kmac4him

  7. Ron,

    Great words to the church. I would add, just after your paragraph on “wearing many hats”, another paragraph. “We need permission to make a wrong decision” That seems to be one of the biggest fears I have and hear from pastors.
    Twitter: Timoty_Rogers

  8. Thanks Ron for expressing what (surely) all pastors feel at times. Even though we’re ALL just pilgrims on the way, we are expected to know where Plymouth Rock is and how to plant corn. Having said that, I know we love what we do, because we love who we’re doing it for.

    • Thank you. I actually held onto this post for a while because I was concerned it would seem self-serving. Thankfully I have good support around me, so this is geared for others. I'm thankful of that.