Please, read all of this blog post before you aim and shoot…:)
God has done some amazing renovations in my heart over the past 47 years but over the past couple of years he has been tearing out some rooms that needed to go and constructing new open spaces.
Being a pastor is a hard and sometimes difficult job. We sometimes work really long and odd hours. We are asked to sit in and be part of so many meetings, one could make a career out of just going to meetings. We are asked to do the work of a counselor, only we can’t call it counseling, it is pastoral counseling. We are asked to solve arguments, we are asked to share the faith with people of whom, others are unable or afraid to share with. We are expected to arrive early and stay late. We literally are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Yes we get a vacation but it is just expected if something goes wrong while we are away that we will return home and leave our families behind. We are expected to hold office hours so that others will know that we are actually working and not on the golf course or otherwise goofing off. We are expected to study one hour for every minute we plan to preach each week. So, if we preach 20 minutes and have Bible study 20 minutes each week, there goes 40 hours. Whoa to the one who agrees to do more than 2 services each week, this may be why revivals are almost a thing of the past, at least revivals as we know them. We are expected to take care of ourselves physically and one must exercise a lot because so many of the meetings we are required to go to include food. We must attend to continuing education because we are required to obtain so many hours each year for continued orders in the church. We are called on to do weddings, funerals, pet blessings, baptisms, youth events, district events, conference events, and community events. We are supposed to visit from house to house (social media counts too). We are called on to visit with those who cannot come to church and those who are in the hospital and having surgeries. We are called to have good marriages and smart children. We are charged with keeping a good reputation in the community. We don’t smoke, drink, or cuss (religious cuss words are acceptable).
Man this is fun…And I haven’t even scratched the surface. But, just in case you’re about ready to quit reading, let me get on to the new open spaces God is creating in me.
People thank me every day. Every morning I sit down and read Facebook and twitter posts and see where people are growing in Christ and where they are having the time of their lives with Christ and that is your thanks.
Every day people trust me enough to come to me with their concerns, their fears, and yes even their complaints, and that is saying thank you to me, that you trust me that much.
The church trusts me enough that you pay me a salary to make it possible for me to do what I do, that is saying thank you.
You say thank you to me, every time you walk through the doors of Out Of The Box Worship Center and a bunch of you do that every week.
You say thank you every time you post on my Facebook, twitter, blog, e-mail, or send me a text.
As human beings we are often not very good at saying thank you. Oh, we are great at finding fault, complaining, whining, blaming, etc, etc, etc… but we need to be better at being thankful. You see, I am the one that God has been working on in the thankfulness department.
I have enough sense to know that your job is hard and sometimes difficult too. I have enough sense to know that there are complainers and whiners in every walk of life. No job is easy that is worth doing. Your job is just as difficult as mine, we have just been called to do different things in life. Matter of fact, I wouldn’t want to do your job, I love doing what God has called me to do.
All of the meetings, the demands people put on me, the complaints that I receive, the complaints that I receive, the complaints that I receive, oops it was a slip of the keys, :). These only take control of my life if I allow them to. I can only do so many meetings, I can only spend a certain amount of time handling crisis situations, I have to take control and say this is the limit and I am getting so much better at doing that.
Here is a great post from a fellow blogger this morning that pushed me off the edge of my seat and got my fingers moving…from Tony Morgan’s Blog entitled “The Dark Side of Pastor Appreciation Month.”
here are some things to consider…
- You’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you are expecting appreciation. When we our surprised by someone’s kind word or gesture, it has a bigger impact. When it’s expected, you’ll never know if it’s genuine and it’s unlikely it’ll ever meet your expectations.
- You think you have a tough job, but there are people in your congregation that have tougher circumstances. You are not unique. If you ever get to a place where you think your circumstances are far more difficult than anyone else’s, that’s a sure sign that you need to see a counselor.
- You may be pushing people away who don’t have appreciation months. There are factory workers, administrative assistants, CEOs, food service workers, homemakers, insurance salespeople and many other professions that don’t get entire months to be appreciated. Don’t alienate the people you are trying to reach by expecting appreciation that they will never see.
- If your church appreciates you, I sure hope you’re effectively appreciating them. Remember, God designed honor to go both ways. What are your strategies and systems to make sure the people in your church are honored in the same way you feel honored every October?
- When we spotlight the role of the pastor, it downplays the role of God’s people doing the work of God.Lifting up the role of the pastor can be a dangerous thing if it deviates the church from embracing the priesthood of the believers. We need to be careful that we don’t embrace a practice that reinforces poor doctrine.
Here are a couple of quotes that rocked my world at Catalyst this past week.
“If you’re not ready to face opposition for your obedience to God, you’re not ready to be used by God.” Craig Groeschel
“To go toward your destiny you have to step away from your security.” Craig Groeschel
“We can’t make progress without embracing the process of leadership and that process is sometimes painful.” Perry Noble
“Pastors: We get paid to do what others have traditionally given their lives to do.” Perry Noble
“There is only one love language, it is DIE. Die to self.” Christine Caine
“God gets more mileage out of adversity than anything else.” Andy Stanley
I just want to say thank you to my congregation. You are AWESOME, yes that is my word and I wear it out. I will say it again, you are AWESOME. I wouldn’t want to do anything else. God is doing miracles among us and we are living life to the fullest. Beware, we haven’t arrived yet, God is still Making and Molding us, there will be pain but there is Eternal Joy.
I love you guys.