5 Tough Challenges for Any Pastor

It may be one of the most difficult jobs in the world. Indeed, it may be an impossible job to do in our own strength. I know. Before I was LifeWay’s president or a seminary dean, I served as pastor of four churches. I know. I have heard from countless pastors in countless churches. Their stories are similar to mine. So I asked the question: What specific part of being a pastor is the most difficult for you? Here are my five tough challenges for pastors.

Responding graciously to someone right before you preach.

The pastor has put hours into the sermon. He has prayed for God’s power for that moment. He is focused on God’s Word and its proclamation. All of his energy is devoted to the upcoming moment. Then someone rushes up to him with a piece of paper and says. “Pastor, you need to announce about the garage sale we’re having this week.” Most of the times I showed grace. A few times I did not and showed something else.

Knowing what do with a staff member who is not making a vital contribution to the church.

Many churches will not let leaders make the tough decision of letting a staff member go, even if he is not really productive and obviously an ill fit for the ministry and the church. Such a move is considered “un-Christian” and will not be tolerated, even if it would ultimately be best for that staff member. Many pastors have lost their own jobs when they made such a move. So we often move those persons to innocuous, low-accountability positions, even though we know it is poor stewardship.

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Thom Rainer
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.