I entered full time ministry approx. 7 years ago as a Kids Pastor. I fully intended on being a Kids Pastor until “Kingdom Come”. Kids are mold-able and truly believe in jumping around and worshiping Jesus. And not to mention Kids Ministry may be exhausting but it is a lot of fun!!!!
But alas…that was not meant to be.
In the middle of the night one night, I could not sleep, so I spent some time praying and literally heard the still soft Voice of God when He spoke to me and said He has called Katie and I for a greater purpose and part of that purpose was to be Lead Pastors. Not one to argue with God I humbly accepted the calling.
When the sun came up, and Katie woke up to get our kids ready for Church, I shared with her what God had said to me. She agreed that we should not fight God on this and trust in Him. At the same time though, she and I both were just fine if God took 20 years to put us in a Lead Pastor position. And anybody who knows us, knows this was not the case.
I went to Church that morning to start my Sunday morning staff/Kids Pastor duties and shared with my mentor and Lead Pastor, David Lucas, what the Lord told me and Pastor Dave confirmed the call of God on my life and began to guide me and till this day has been a great brother and mentor to me when I have needed someone the most.
Being in full time ministry is tough work. Its rewarding, don’t get me wrong, but tough none the less. But being a Lead Pastor is even more tough. In fact, in my opinion, its the hardest job in the world. And for those who may have never been in any form of full time ministry or have never really been involved in any Church, may never understand the weight and burdens Pastors carry.
Pastors carry the emotional, physical, spiritual, and in most cases, financial burdens of themselves, their families, their flocks and the communities they minister in, on their shoulders. This calling/job should not be taken lightly.
There are many misconceptions about being in full time ministry. I’d like to address a few of them here in this blog.
1) Pastor’s Only Work 2 Days A Week (Sundays & Wednesdays)
Here is my initial response to this….AS IF!!!!!!!!!!!
I have heard this a lot in my years in ministry and when my parents were in full time ministry. Granted, the few I have heard it from here lately were legitimately goofing around with me, which I actually appreciate, but this statement cannot be further from the truth. Sundays are typically a full day of investing in others, whether preaching or leading in another capacity, they are definitely not the only day Pastors work. The burden for people is not something Pastors leave at the Church facility when they go home on Sundays or Wednesdays. This role is continual.
During the week, Pastors are ALWAYS on call. In fact, Pastors are on call 24/7/365. Counselings, hospital visits, emergencies, sporting events, weddings, funerals etc. And I, myself, have been called to the local school system for a crisis and county commissioners meetings, community events, conferences, research, sermon prep, praying, fasting, family time (which is interrupted sometimes,) school activities and the list can go on and on. Pastors work on average 55-75 hours, or more per week. And the average salary for a Pastor is approx. $48,000 compared to the average american citizen salary of $58,000. Id say us Pastors are grossly under paid.
2) All Pastors Care About Is Your Money
Not even close!!!!! Now don’t get me wrong, there are those Pastors out there that come across this way or legitimately do want as much money as they can get, and I have seen them and could name them, but the vast majority of the approx. 400,000 Pastors here in the great United States of America want to be paid for their job, but above all else want to see you blessed.
What people are saying is they believe that pastors talk so much about money, and they ask their flock to give so often, that it makes them feel uncomfortable about how they manage their own finances, and a little guilty about how much, or little, they give to the Church. Oh Its True!!!!
Fact is, when we go to the doctors office, grocery store, movie theater, theme parks, the mall, charity event, or any business establishment for the matter, we are asked to spend money. No business, organization, or ministry survives without money. Businesses charge their customers for the products and services they receive. Churches do not. Instead, churches invite people to give to meet their financial needs so they can accomplish the work God called them to do. Giving, by the flock of Jesus Christ, is an act of love and obedience to Jesus Christ.
Our goal as Pastors in asking people to give is to show how their giving makes a real, and eternal, difference in the lives of real people through the daily ministry of the Church inside the four walls, across the street, across town, across the sea and across the world.
3) Pastors Have Unlimited Time Off
Nope!!!! I have literally been inconvenienced as a Pastor when I have been on a date with my wife, out to one of my kids school function, sporting event etc. In recent years I have learned to balance all this out but there are still issues that I have to address as a Pastor of my Church and in my community I am living in and called to serve. My wife and I have even had to reschedule plans and trips so we could be there with families for emergency situations. I have even heard of Pastors coming back from vacations early to address situations going on at their Churches.
I once Pastored a Church where the board only wanted me to have one week vacation a year. When I shared this with some fellow clergy friends of mine I thought they were going to go on a rampage in my honor lol.
What does Scripture say about all this?
Let the Elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. 1st Timothy 5:17-18 (NKJV)
The term Paul uses in this Scripture, double honor, is specifically talking about the Elder who teaches and preaches. This of course is the Lead/Senior Pastor. While no specific amount is given as to what to pay your Lead/Senior Pastor, Paul makes it abundantly clear that pastors are worthy of double pay, double vacation time, double respect, and double honor. No Pastor though, should go to their congregation and demand these things. Pastors are not more important than the other members of God’s Church; however, they are the human leaders of it. The pastor’s job is to take care of their Church, and it is the Church’s job to take care of their pastors. It is our job, as Pastors, to teach our flock in these areas mentioned, but lets face it…its hard to.
4) Pastors Do Not Struggle With Sin
I wish this were true. But it is not. James 3:1 says that those who teach or preach are held to a stricter standard. Most Pastors get this and abide by it, but for anyone, inside or outside of the Church, to think Pastors are free from sin and or temptation are just sadly mistaken.
I once heard this saying… “The Christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.” Sadly, I have seen this first hand and have been a victim to it and a culprit. If the Church is a family, then we should rally behind those who are hurting and broken and lift them up and love them. If they allow us too.
Us Pastors, are human. We make mistakes, we sometimes fail you, our communities, our families and we feel like we fail our God. Love your Pastor and their family. They carry a huge burden that you will never understand or see. Let me leave you with a Scripture. Because after all, I am a Pastor. And I LOVE BEING A PASTOR!!!!
Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the Church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the PASTORS and teachers. Ephesians 4:11 (NLT)