Home Pastors Articles for Pastors The Punches Pastors Never See Coming in Vocational Christian Ministry

The Punches Pastors Never See Coming in Vocational Christian Ministry

I have never written a sermon that wouldn’t have benefited from another five hours of study, meditation and prayer. There are always people who expect more of me than I can give.

When I was planting hedges, I dreamed of the day when I would get paid to disciple. I’m there. It’s a gift.

But it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Pastoring is like being a Gumby doll. You will get pulled in many directions and sometimes feel like a limb will fall off.

There are cards of encouragement to write, sick to visit, leaders to equip, lessons to plan, staff to mentor, couples to counsel, prayer to offer, weddings and funerals to perform, your own heart to tend…it never ends.

If pastors and their spouses will persevere in vocational Christian ministry, they need to accept the nature of the work. If you don’t, you will whine, resent your calling, and probably burn out and get out.

The sooner you accept the fact that there will always be more to do, the sooner you can develop healthy expectations for yourself as well as boundaries for you and your family. Work with elders to develop a work/life balance plan. Strive to differentiate between a genuine crisis and a perceived crisis when your flock reaches out to you.

I can’t tell you how many times someone didn’t really need to talk right away despite their desperate pleas.

The unending nature of the enterprise can become a blessed opportunity to trust in the sovereign God to magnify your small offering and make it enough.

3. When money runs short.

Money has been short for our entire ministry tenure, and at times we have allowed this lack to rob us of joy and discourage us in carrying out our calling.

I didn’t pursue vocational Christian ministry as a means for wealth. I knew we’d have to be careful. I didn’t have any idea, however, just how careful we’d need to be.

How many of us have heard the quote, “Where God guides, he provides“? There is faithful joy in following God forward out of our security, but there is a danger in abandoning wisdom in the pursuit.