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3 Weird Things Final 300x199 3 Weird Things About Being A PastorI love being a pastor.

I’ve been in ministry 15 years now, and I’m ruined for doing anything else. I just can’t imagine spending my life any other way. I love getting to share the Good News of Jesus with as many people as possible. It’s my calling, my life work.

But I’ve got to tell you, there are some unique things that go along with being a pastor.

Here’s 3 Weird Things About Being A Pastor:

1)  Every Sunday is “Take Your Kids To Work Day”

Don’t get me wrong. I love my girls more than life itself. (We have 4 daughters.)

But just imagine, for a moment, that your whole family came to work with you once a week. Or twice, if you have mid-week events. There you are, at work. Your mind is running 100 mph as you factor in everything from A to Z…

  • …the lighting level
  • the coffee
  • the 15 people you need to talk to
  • the crisis that just popped up
  • the grieving friend who just arrived
  • the volunteers who called in sick
  • and OH! that 25 minute presentation you have to make in T minus 30 minutes…

…when all of a sudden, you’re immobilized by the 5 year-old who just ran through a crowd to throw their arms around your legs.

It is pure joy to see my kids while I’m “at work”. But it’s also challenging in a unique way.

The last thing I ever want is for my kids to resent me, church or God. I don’t want them to feel like they’re competing for my time and attention, but they often are. The nature of the role just won’t allow that tension to be removed.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. It’s just weird. My kids have to share me with a bunch of other people, and not just on Sundays.

On the up-side, there are, occasionally, times during the week when I can adjust my work schedule to be there for important stuff for them. Like everything, it’s a trade-off.

2) You’re Learning the Message AS You Preach It

Maybe there are pastors who are experts. They’ve got it all figured out. But I doubt it.

Preaching is a tricky thing. Yes, any pastor worth his salt studies his tail off in preparation, learning lots of stuff, most of which doesn’t make it to the sermon, but falls to the cutting room floor. But the learning part doesn’t mean anything unless it’s attached to life change. And if the pastor doesn’t live out what he’s preaching, well, we all know what that’s called.

Being a pastor is weird because your’e not teaching math. Math facts are math facts. They don’t change. There are 1,000 ways to teach history, but the dates and events have not changed, nor will they. But the content you’re bringing from the stage at church is living. It transforms you, as well as the hearer. So you’re always being impacted by it yourself AS you teach it.

So, how do you, a real, flawed person, maintain transparency with your congregation without freaking them out?

Finding that balance can be a little weird.

3)  What’s A Weekend?

My week builds to a crescendo. Sunday is “Game Day” 50 weeks a year. It’s not down-time. It’s go-time. The day we invite everyone to come and “be filled” is the most emotionally, spiritually and physically draining day of the week. Every pastor I know suffers from the “holy hangover” on Mondays as a result.

Friday is my day off (unless there’s a church event), which is weird because the kids are in school and my friends are at work.

Saturday I get some time off while the kids are off too, until I have to prep for Sunday and go to our Saturday night service.

Rest is a weird thing for pastors. So much of the time you’re “on” when everyone else is “off”. So you have to learn how to adjust your life to a different rhythm. I struggled with this for years, but have learned how to survive and thrive while working a job with a schedule that doesn’t mesh with everyone else’s.

Being a pastor is weird for a lot of reasons.

But it’s a great, wonderful weird that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Being a pastor is a privilege, an honor. And I wouldn’t trade one moment of it. (Well, yes I would. But there are many more good moments than bad.)

What about you?

Are you from a ministry family? Are you a pastor? The spouse of a pastor? Or a Pastor’s Kid? What would you add to the list?

Happy Labor Day??

 Work Work Work Work Work Work STOP

Labor Day – Time to Rest

Admit it. If you’re like a lot of Americans, you’re not really sure why you don’t have to work today.

I looked it up. (You’re welcome.) Wikipedia, fount of all knowledge, says:

“Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.”

So there you have it. Go light up that barbecue and “celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers”. Party time.

If you’re like a lot of Americans, you work a lot:

  • ABC Newsreports, “Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world.”
    • “And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later too.”
  • 20somethingfinance.com cites this stat: “In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours a week.”
  • The Fiscal Times reports that, “American families worked an average of 11 hours more per week in 2006 than they did in 1979.”

Feeling exhausted? Now you know why.

Personally, I know that as a father of 4 I work one very full-time job, plus I fill in with a second and third job at times. Like so many others, I have to in order to keep up with the costs of raising a family. That’s just how it is today. With so many out of work, I am beyond thankful to have jobs that pay the bills.

With as much as we work, we have to also be skilled at rest.

The trouble is, to many workaholics rest is a four-letter word.

  • We work so much we don’t pause to enjoy the simple satisfactions of life, like the presence of our loved ones.
  • We don’t know how to say, “Enough is enough. I’m done working for this week.”
  • We don’t dare STOP and rest.

God lays out a clear pattern to follow, a rhythm that keeps work and rest balanced. All throughout Scripture, Old Testament and New, we see Him providing for our long-term health and vitality.

This is the pattern:  WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK STOP.

Count them up. 6 days of work. 1 day to STOP. Rest. Relax. Recharge.

In the Old Testament God installed all sorts of celebrations and festivals, special “holy days” that punctuated the annual calendar with time for rest and reflection. This kept God’s people from burning out. They knew how to work, and they knew when to rest. God, who himself rested on the seventh day of creation, laid out  a pattern of self-care for His people.

Better yet, in the New Testament, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Jesus, God in man, who was on a mission to save the world from sin, was not too busy to rest. He often pulled away with a few disciples, or by himself, to a deserted place. He stopped healing, blessing and teaching in order to slow down and rest up.

If God has modeled rest as a holy practice throughout all Scripture, maybe we could stand to learn from Him.

Today I encourage you to pause, even STOP. Sit down. Chill out. Spend some time with those people you work so hard to provide for, and enjoy time with them.

Want more help?

Read “Running on Empty

Hate Mondays? You’re not alone.

 Work is (not) a Four Letter Word

Monday

Mondays are universally despised by every man, woman and child who has ever had to say “goodbye” to a weekend of enjoyment and “hello” to the work week. Whether Monday finds you on the job, at home with the kids, or at school, chances are today is the day you love to hate.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Take a moment to change your thinking. It’ll make your Monday better:

  • Perspective Shift:  Work is not from the devil.

For most of us, the weekend represents what we get to do, while Monday brings what we have to do. If we’re “living for the weekend”, we’re dooming ourselves to a future of resenting our jobs, as well as the people we work with. Considering we spend 30 to 50 years showing up to them 5 or more days a week, this is an absolute tragedy. What if “work” wasn’t a four-letter word? Well, it is. But that’s beside the point.
Work is not some drudgery that is meant to be a life sentence. The devil did not design work to ruin our lives. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Consider this Verse:
The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15 NIV)
God formed man in His own image, then gave him a job. This shouldn’t surprise us. Just prior to this, God had put himself to work, forming all of creation! So, if God Himself isn’t above doing meaningful work, then why should we be?
This happened before the Fall of Man. At this point, everything was pristine on earth, undisrupted by the consequences of man’s disobedience. This means that God’s original intention was for us to do meaningful work. Adam was assigned manual labor, tending the garden of Eden. There’s no record of him complaining.
Sure, you don’t work in Eden, and you do have to work with the realities of a world marred by sin. The point, however, remains. God’s original intention for you, me, everyone, is for us to work. It is hard-wired into us to do meaningful work, and find satisfaction in it. God designed work for own fulfillment, not as a punishment.
  • What would it look like if you viewed your job as God’s idea?
  • What would happen if you stopped resenting your work, and started embracing it?

I suspect you would find more fulfillment then you ever thought possible.

Need more help with Mondays? Read, “How to Have a Miserable Monday

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