I 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.)