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How Should Pastors Handle Disappointment?

If you are going to be a pastor, you will face disappointments.

Sorry for the buzz kill beginning, but that is the truth. The offerings will sometimes be less than your church expenses; the sermon you planned to preach was a lot better than the one you actually preached. People will leave your congregation for the silliest of reasons. Your kids and spouse will give you “the look” when you arrive home with an empty emotional cup. The list could go on and on, I promise.

But the good news is that God is working at all times on our behalf in the invisible realms, and he is well aware that all of that invisibility will cause us distress from time to time.

The job doesn’t pan out. The house doesn’t sell. The marriage doesn’t last. The runaway doesn’t return. The investment doesn’t yield viable returns. Circumstances scatter our dreams and wreck our plans.

Or so it seems, anyway. We simply cannot see what God sees. We cannot know what he alone knows.

And so we wrestle. We admit disappointment. We engage in earnest dialogue with our God.

But in the end, whether resolution is reached or not, we come around to the same vow: “I will not fall away. I trust you, Father. I really do. And while I don’t understand what you’re doing, I know you are guiding me along righteousness’ path. I’m disappointed but not disheartened, Lord. You’re still God, and you are good.”

I’m learning a couple of things these days about how to let God be God in my life.

First, I now realize that I’m most vulnerable to feelings of insecurity and disappointment when I’m walking through a season of significant change.

Criticism of any kind is never fun. But it carries a special sting when I’m operating off my normal routine. During a typical week, I have systems in place for staying connected to Christ, my family, my friends, my staff, and my goals regarding finances, health and growth.

But toss a new role, a new city, a new house in the mix, and those systems take a hit. As a result, I’m thrown off balance. I’m uncertain. I’m self-doubting. I’m tired. This is when Satan loves to strike. Simply knowing when to watch out for my enemy helps me block his predictable blow.

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Brady is the Lead Pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. He is married to his college sweetheart, Pam and is the dad to great kids named Abram and Callie. He just wrote a book called "Fear No Evil" and he's really serious about caring for the people of Colorado Springs by opening numerous Dream Centers.