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!)