I’ll never forget the moment the final semester of my senior year at Pensacola Christian College (PCC), when I went to my mailbox and received two job offers. One from a church in Virginia and one from a church in Michigan.
Sitting here it feels like I can remember every detail of the interview process. After praying and seeking counsel I reached out to the church in Michigan and it began. I received a questionnaire with intimidating questions, I had a face to face interview with the Pastor, and drove to Michigan to candidate in front of the people and answered their questions!
I began an 8.5 year relationship with that church as the Assistant Pastor and gained many friends and had a wonderful Pastor over me that mentored me and gave me many opportunities to grow as a young Pastor.
God then opened up an opportunity for me to serve as the Senior Pastor back in my home state of Indiana. I served there for 4 years with people who had become like family to me.
Just as I was beginning my 5th year at that church, surprising circumstances out of my control happened, which led me to resign from what I believed I would do the rest of my life—Pastor.
For the last three years life has been different. No more Sunday deadlines and now an 8-5 job. God’s been faithful during this time and I’m thankful for what He has taught me, but one thing never leaves my mind—Pastoring.
Each week I watch my dad and brother (My Pastor’s) and I know what they are going through. I remember the feeling of walking on that platform after a week of preparation praying God uses you. Knowing you are powerless without God’s help and leaving the church feeling like a failure at times.
Having been a Pastor and now in the pew, here are some of my thoughts about your pastor.
Your Pastor works more than know.
I love my job right now at a bank. I clock in at 8 work hard till 5 (sometimes 6) and then I clock out and go home. That’s it! At times, in the evening, work will cross my mind, but for the most part I clock out and I’m done. For months after I resigned as a pastor I didn’t know how to handle giving my mind a break!
As a Pastor—you don’t clock out. Your mind is always racing. Sunday and Wednesday are always coming and sermons don’t just magically appear. The problems of the people are always on your heart and you hurt for them as if they are your own. Even when your pastor wants family time his mind is tempted to drift back to the upcoming message or hurting family.
His schedule isn’t his own. At any moment the phone could ring and he could be rushing to the hospital or dealing with a problem.
What can you do?
Help guard your pastor’s study time and his family time. There are emergencies and he will be there, but not everything needs to be dealt with immediately.
Also, make sure your pastor takes a day off and vacations. He may feel guilty, but a refreshed pastor is better than a stressed pastor.
Your Pastor sometimes feels like a failure.
While you want people to come to church to worship God sometimes they just want to be entertained. They expect your greatest message weekly because after all, “A Pastor has so much time on his hands right?”
I remember walking out of church sometimes after a week of study and feeling like the message just fell flat. Knowing God never fails, who do we blame? Most pastor’s blame themselves.
Outside of Sunday, sometimes your pastor feels like failure as a husband or father. Pulled in every direction serving in the church, guilt over the lack of quality family time creeps in.
What can you do?
Encourage your pastor. Send him notes from time to time and when talking to him, give him more than a, “nice sermon.” Tell him how God dealt with you specifically. A good pastor will reflect the praise to God, but God does use that encouraging word to lift the spirits of your pastor.
Your Pastor needs help.
For a church to function properly and to be effective, the pastor cannot do everything. The pastor’s wife isn’t the answer to the above sentence either.
As a church we are “laborers together.” Whether a deacon or new member of the church—get involved. Not only will it help your pastor, but you will see growth in your own life and walk with God.
Your pastor isn’t perfect and if he is truly a God called man, he knows it. But your pastor is a gift to the church and your God-given authority. Love him. Follow him. Encourage him, and help him.
As you do, if he is anything like the pastors I know, he will love you, pray for you, protect you, cry with you, study for you, and give every moment of the his never ending work week to do what he knows he cannot do without God’s grace and that is lead God’s church as—your Pastor.