7. We spend more time discouraged than encouraged.
Occasionally, people say to me, “Must be awesome to get paid to study the Bible all day.” Every time they do, I think to myself, “Must be awesome to be able to give someone the finger on the 520 without people saying, ‘The pastor at Redemption Church flipped me off today during rush-hour.’”
I’m not fully sure why that is the comment that flashes across my mental dashboard, but I think part of it stems from what I perceive to be the tone of the comment.
Rightly or wrongly, I infer they are saying, “Must be nice to have such a cush gig as a paid quiet-time.” In all honesty, it is pretty awesome to be paid study the Bible, but it’s a major downer when people:
- tell you—after two minutes of uninvestigated reflection—that your 30 hours of study and two collegiate degrees were wrong.
- tell you that they just couldn’t stay awake today during your sermon, but no offense. (How about I fall asleep at your kid’s graduation and we’ll call it even.)
- tell you how you should have also said…
- tell you how Pastor So-N-So says…
Aside from these particular examples, I find that for most pastors it generally feels like the boat is taking on water more than racing with the wind—regardless of size or rate of growth.
Lead pastors particularly suffer from this since much of their job is to focus on seeing things get better, which often translates into focusing on the broken, lacking or unfilled parts of the church more than enjoying what is right and working. Many of the most faithful and fruitful pastors in history have suffered deeply with anxiety and depression for the same reasons.
8. We worry about what you think.
We’re human and we want to be liked. Therefore, when we know we’re going to do or say something people won’t like, we worry about it.
Now when I say that I don’t mean to infer that it causes us to avoid the hard things. There are some of my fellow pastors who avoid challenging topics or decisions out of fear of people, but most of the ones I run with still choose to deliver the mail regardless of the popularity of its message.
Yet, we still worry about how you may take it.