BEING A PASTOR IS HARD WORK
I love pastors. I’ve been one my whole life and have been involved in training and mentoring pastors for many years. Pastors aren’t perfect people, but they do share a commitment to serve Jesus and others. I love their dedication, their hard work and their sacrifice. Pastors struggle with the same sins and difficulties others face. We are all still works in progress. People often see pastors as a step above others, closer to God and more spiritual. They think we have a wonderful life because others look up to us and admire us. But we face all that others face. Sometimes pastors have to deal with extra heartache because of their role with people.
It makes pastors sad to see people not follow Jesus and when Christians turn to sin instead of living for Jesus. It often bothers us more than it bothers them, because we know that not living for Jesus only brings misery.
As pastors, we mourn when marriages struggle and fail. Sometimes we are unable to help and that makes us feel like we have failed them We see the pain the people go through and how it affects their children and grieve for them.
It is very sad to see young people grow up and make decisions that lead to sin and trouble. We try to tell them how important it is to follow Jesus but they think they know best and follow the world’s ways instead. We feel bad for them and often think we should have been able to do more to lead them to follow Jesus.
When people sin and turn from Jesus, we need to carry out church discipline to warn them and others of the seriousness of their choices. If warning and talking with them doesn’t change things, we must remove them from church membership. When I have had to do this, I felt like I failed as their pastor.
We think it is our fault if the church we are leading is struggling or not growing. When people leave our church, we blame ourselves. If we aren’t bringing unbelievers to Jesus, we think we are doing something wrong or God isn’t blessing us.
When people we know and love are sick, we pray for them, but if God doesn’t heal them, we can think we let them down. If they die, we speak at their funerals, and our hearts are very heavy with grief. Doing a funeral for a person who isn’t a Christian can be very hard because we don’t have words of hope for the listeners and because we know they have gone to hell without Jesus.
Sometimes people gossip or complain about us. They criticize us to others. This is often inaccurate and unfair. Still, the talk hurts us and it is difficult to explain the truth. When the talk is about our wives or children it hurts even more.
As pastors, we have high expectations of ourselves so when we make a mistake, forget to do something, have a sermon or teach a lesson that doesn’t go as well as we thought it would, we put the blame on ourselves. Even when things are going well and the people are pleased with us, we often think we could be doing better.
Many pastors struggle with loneliness for themselves and their families. It’s sometimes hard to be a pastor or his family and have friendships like others have.
Pastors and their families also struggle with not having enough finances to meet their needs. This can be a great burden on pastors. We also feel we don’t have enough time for everything that needs to be done and it is hard to not do everything we think needs doing.
In addition, we also struggle with sin in our own lives. We all have areas where we are weak, places where God is working to make us more like Jesus. Many times we aren’t satisfied with our prayer time and Bible study.
These are some of the burdens we carry as pastors. Know you aren’t alone and that others struggle, too. Have fellowship with pastors near you so you can encourage and pray for each other. Remember that Jesus understands these things for He went through them Himself (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16). Share your burdens with Him. Claim His promises for He says He will always be with us (Joshua 1:9), won’t give us anything too hard for us without His help (1 Corinthians 10:13) and that His grace is always sufficient for our needs (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Romans 10:15 (Isaiah 52:7) How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!
How do you handle the pain and difficulties of being a pastor?
Do you know any pastors who are struggling? What can you do to help them? Do it as soon as possible.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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