As for the “cultural complexity of the 21st century,” I think this quote captures my sentiment:
“My viewpoint tends to be more organizational, so my take on being a pastor is that it is an impossible job. Here you are asked to be the lead preacher and teacher, available for counseling sessions, leading a staff of people that can span such responsibilities as missions and janitorial, serving as the public face for your organization in the community, networking with other leaders at Christian conferences and denominational gatherings. That’s a lot of hats!…Let’s finally consider the financial issues. I don’t believe pastors are paid very well, so that’s obviously a downer. And if you are paid well, and sometimes even if you aren’t, that has its own issues, for congregants can quite easily feel they own you, since they’re paying your way. What other organization is the person at top in such an awkward financial relationship with his or her co-workers and clients?” [h/t Lee H]
My point is very simple:
Please care, pray, and love your pastors (and church staff) in your churches.
Seriously, give them a nice pay raise, more time off, regular opportunities to get away for even a day retreat to pray, buy them some dinner certificates, honor their spouses, love their children, pray for them, and regularly share your appreciation and affirmation.
Now, I know that this can easily be intended to perpetuate the victim language or mentality, but it’s a two-way street. Churches must seek to honor and care for their pastors and staff and build healthy structures to ensure such care. Similarly, pastors and their families must make choices to be holistically healthy! We must rest, Sabbath, enjoy God, love the Scriptures not simply for the sake of sermon preparations, be in deep friendships and community, exercise, work on our jump shot, continue to be a reader and learner, love and honor our spouses, nurture our children, laugh and have fun, eat healthy and drink good refreshments [use your imagination here], examine and repent of any possible addictions, and [add your contribution here].
We need to lean on God, stop our self-sufficiency, and repent of the idolatry to please all those around us. Easier said than done, but it needs to begin somewhere. Why not now?
Some good news: