7 Hard Words Every Pastor Needs to Hear

senior pastor

I love pastors. I love to encourage pastors. And, it’s Biblical. (Ephesians 4:29 – or something like that.)

Seriously, I’m a pastor. And, I work with pastors everyday. Having not been a pastor – in the business world longer than I’ve been a pastor – I’ve still got somewhat of an objective — almost outside perspective. 

And, now I am a pastor – having been one for over a decade – sometimes I wish I could share with pastors what I’m really thinking.

Well, maybe I can.

Here are 7 hard words every pastor needs to hear:

Your family should not be second to your ministry – Your ministry is important. It’s your calling — hopefully your passion. But, so is your family. Or, at least, they should be. In fact, I’d claim if your family suffers, almost without exception, so will your ministry.

You may never feel completely in control – I realize the ministry has so many unknowns. You work mostly with volunteers. You can’t seem to motivate people to do what people need to be doing. That’s not going to change. You are walking by faith – remember.

You need someone in your life, besides your spouse, who knows the dark places – Your spouse will usually feel the need to cover for you, defend you — and, hopefully, usually sees the best in you. You need someone who knows you well, but can look at you and boldly say, “You’re not telling me the whole story. What’s the real deal?”

Your pace often determines your longevity – If you run too fast — you’ll burnout. If you run too slow — you’ll get bored. And, either is dangerous.

You aren’t the only one who can do it – Whatever it is – you aren’t indispensable. In fact, God has designed the church as a Body with many parts who can do many things. Are you seriously allowing yourself to be held responsible for everything? You’ll be far more successful in ministry if you learn to equip and release.

Your church can function without you – You also aren’t irreplaceable. You’re awesome — and wonderful — and the greatest pastor ever — maybe — but the “Church” has lasted for several centuries without you. Sorry to break it to you, but when we come to realize this as true, it is a freeing reality. Jesus is in control. He promised this. He cannot be replaced. 

You’re doing better than you think you are – Admit it. You’re tempted to compare yourself to others — aren’t you? And, it’s depressing at times. How can they contribute the same or even less effort than you and seem to get more results? Why are there numbers bigger? Why are they growing? If only you had their incredible staff, or building, or location, or ______. You know the comparison drill. But, God has a plan for you. It’s unique from His plan for everyone else. Be faithful to Him and compare yourself to how obedient you are being to what He has called you to do. 

And, don’t worry about everyone else. And, someday — I’m convinced — I’m sure of it — you’ll indeed hear “Well done good and faithful servant — well done.”

Pastor, do you have a hard word you’d share with other pastors? (Here’s your chance!)

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36 thoughts on “7 Hard Words Every Pastor Needs to Hear


  2. Thank You Pastor For Another Powerful Word I’m Working Early This Year Want To BRING YOU To CHICAGO Around the last week in July for convocation please check your availability and I will start working on my end you can email me back catch me on Facebook thanks


  3. A pastor of thirty five plus years: The benefit of a pastor to have a person who knows one's dark places is beneficial to pastor a spouse. The same person may not be the right person to come along side of you in all circumstances.
    What is God calling me to do as a pastor and how am I as a pastor calling the people to be God's Church. Their being God's people is one of the great joys when I am pastoring well.
    I am not perfect and ministry has taken a toll on me, yet God still calls me to shepherd.

  4. Your Calling dies not determine your spouse's calling. Support yiur spouse's calling jjust as much as your spouse supports yours..

  5. Sadly, these same seven things have been said by many to us pastors over the years but we still aren't listening. Lord help us to heed this advice.

  6. I miss ministry so very badly. I hope to get to come back one day soon. I stepped back and down after a church member murdered my wife and son. If I get the opportunity to be a pastor again, I know I will have much more opened eyes to the “hard words” you have spoken. Thanks!

    • Wow. What an incredible burden. I am praying for you now. I hope and trust you are in counseling. 
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  7. Thanks Pastor! After serving as Associate Pastor and now as a Church Planter, It's encouraging to be reminded of the realities that experience has taught me time and again! It's amazing at how often I find myself captured by one or more of your points. Thanks again for encouraging us!