In my Southeastern Seminary class this semester, “Pastoral Ministry and Leadership,” I required students to interview a pastor who has served more than 10 years in ministry. One of the questions was about their greatest joys in ministry. Here are some of the findings from this group of pastors:
- Seeing people come to know Jesus. No pastor can adequately describe the excitement when a lost person is redeemed through the grace of God. That’s one of the times that ministry is completely worth it.
- Seeing people “get it.” There’s nothing quite like it when laypersons genuinely connect with the gospel and their eyes light up with excitement. Every pastor loves it when that happens.
- Sending out workers. These pastors were excited when they could raise up and send out the next generation of church planters, pastors and missionaries—even when doing so meant they sent out their best.
- Seeing radical transformation of lives. That includes things like breaking sin patterns, healing broken homes, restoring fractured relationships and overcoming struggles. When transformation brings joy to others, pastors rejoice, too.
- Experiencing church change. Because these pastors have been in ministry for more than a decade, some have been in the same church for some time—and they’ve seen their church overcome much to move forward. They’ve seen congregational miracles take place.
- Watching members grow up—literally and spiritually. When you’ve served one congregation for years, you get to baptize kids who grow up, marry and then have kids you help dedicate to the Lord. Nobody else has that kind of privileged access to others’ lives.
- Preaching the Word. It can be a heavy task, but something happens when the “preaching bug” bites you. The fire seldom goes out, even when ministry is hard. Even the pastor who has been wounded deeply often still loves to preach the Word.
Come back tomorrow, when I’ll let you know what these pastors said have been their greatest frustrations. You might be surprised.
And, pastors, what are your greatest joys?
This article originally appeared here.