The Toughest Job In The World

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.

Jon Terry Preaching At The Tuscola County Fair Grounds In 2017.
Sitting Down To The Left Is Season 6 American Idol Finalist Phil Stacey

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)

A Modern Day Proverbs 31 Mother

She gets up before dawn to prepare cinnamon rolls for her teenage sons and plans the weekend softball line up for the girls softball team.

She goes and has a home built for her and her sons; With her earnings she plants flowers and small bushes in the front yard.

Her hands are busy cleaning the house, cleaning and folding laundry.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and needy teenagers of the town and opens her arms to them and their families.

Angela Miller With Her Then Teenage Sons; Andrew Terry (top right)
Tom & Jon Terry (twins seated on the bottom)

She has no fear of winter, for her and her sons, because they all lived in Florida. 🙂

Her husband is well known in Citrus County, where he is the most photographed man in the local newspapers history.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs in the face of satan for she knows Jesus holds her future.

When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness in her Kindergarten class. She carefully watches everything in her classroom and home and is not lazy.

Dennis (Her Husband) & Angela Miller

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband cherishes her by saying:
“There are many upright and Godly women in the world, but Angie Miller…YOU surpass them all!”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty fades; but a woman who fears the Lord  will have life EVERLASTING.

Dress Code? What Dress Code?

My wife and I recently went and watched a movie called Breakthrough at one of our local theaters. Let me first say that this movie was fantastic. The acting was decent, message phenomenal and I loved how it showed how all the emotions a family can go through during any times of trials and suffering.

The movie is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John (What a great name. But spelled wrong of course :-)) falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction.

Topher Grace

I personally really connected with the Pastor, Jason Noble, in this movie played by Topher Grace of “That 70’s Show” fame. And its not just because of the character being a Pastor. No, its because I can relate almost 100% to how this Pastor was mistreated by Joyce, Johns mom, and how this Pastor was willing to use “outside the box” thinking to reach the next generation for Jesus Christ.

Without giving away too many spoilers for the movie, Id like to fill you in with one thing that this Pastor went through that I have also went through in my 7 years of full time ministry.

Joyce had an issue with her new young Pastors hair. Now, I tease my 15 year old son about his hair style all the time. He and I go back and forth about how his hair is “Justin Bieber Like” and he will say something along the lines that my hair style is the same as Noah’s was before the Flood. He and I have a great time about it. No one, in any Church I have been on staff at or Pastored, has ever commented negatively about my hair style but they have about my clothes.

Pastor Jason Noble & John Smith

My brothers and I grew up Pastors kids in the late 80’s into the 90’s. And as typical for that time period, there was a certain way we were to dress as the Pastors kids or for Church Service in general. Even as a child I never really was comfortable “dressing to impress” so to speak. But I do get the logic of dress in our “Sundays Best” when going to worship Christ our Savior and King.

Changes in what people wear to church reflect the wider cultural changes regarding clothing. The whole of American culture has dressed down. This has produced largely generational debates over appropriate Church attire. Those who favor more formal dress suspect casual clothes reflect a disrespectful, irreverent attitude toward God. Those who favor casual dress feel it reflects a more authentic approach to God.

Fact is, God does not explicitly endorse either formal or casual clothes in corporate worship. He doesn’t even enter the debate. In fact, outside of ritual Levitical laws that no longer apply in the new covenant, God says virtually nothing regarding how we should dress when we come together to worship Him. Here is what He does say though…

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives Grace to the humble.” (1st Peter 5:5)

So…based on Scripture, we are to wear humility.

Another fact is, all clothing — formal, casual, work, sport, beachwear, sleepwear, underwear, headwear, can be a source of great pride. There isn’t a clothing item or style that we can’t turn into an expression of self-centered, self-exalting self-worship.

However, if we clothe ourselves with humility, if we “count others more significant than ourselves,” and “look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others,” then no matter how we dress, we will honor and reflect Christ (Philippians 2:3-4). We should always dress modestly whether we are in Church Service or out. This also means that the way we dress should not be a “stumbling block” to others. (1st Timothy 2:9-10, 1st Corinthians 8:9)

I am not a big fan of wearing suits and ties what so ever. I always wear them though when I am officiating funerals, weddings or have been invited to events that require that particular dress attire. For the most part though, I preach in a pair of jeans and a nice shirt. I can assure you that how the Holy Spirit speaks through me when I preach does not change based on my “Sunday Morning Dress” attire.

I once Pastored this Church where some long term members found it disrespectful that a first time guest was wearing a hat in the Sanctuary. I refused to even say anything to this individual wearing the hat. This person very well may not have known Christ as Savior. Why would we want to hinder this guests potential Salvation based on our own personal beliefs?

If our hearts are wearing humility, what will matter to us is whether God is Glorified and others are loved. But if our hearts are wearing pride, we will disregard God’s Glory and others’ Spiritual health in favor of our personal beliefs.

Here is what I practice…I wear clothes that will keep myself or others thinking more about Jesus. In church. At home. At work. Anywhere. Everything should point to Jesus Christ.

Pro Wrestling And The Church

Most people who know me, personally, know that I am a HUGE pro wrestling fan. That’s right….I said it!!! I have even said it from the pulpit!!! Laugh if you must but I find it entertaining lol. Although I did stop watching it for years due to the filth that was being allowed on the shows.

One of my favorite wrestlers is named Christian. He was also known as Christian Cage. His real name is William Jason Reso. But I will stick with Christian for now.

At any rate, I remember watching this dude wrestle in his prime and MAN he is a gifted wrestler. And he oozed of charisma. He made it look so easy. He just flowed in all his matches. In fact, a lot of his peers, who wrestled him during his prime, all stated that they enjoyed wrestling Christian and that he gave them a smooth great match.

5 Time World Champion, Christian

One of the main things I love about pro wrestling, is when the wrestlers music starts playing and watching the fans reaction. Us wrestling fans call this a “POP”. This is when the fans jump to their feet and go crazy for the wrestler making their way down to the ring. What I noticed about Christian, several times, was that when his music would play, he would get one of the loudest “POPS” of the night. But during his match, the crowd was quiet. BUT…they were watching. And at the end of the match they would cheer him for the performance he gave. And trust me it was deserved.

What the fans, and myself, were watching was this smooth great ring technician put on a wrestling clinic for us. It was amazing to watch. All his holds, moves, charisma and ring psychology came into play watching Christian and his opponent put on an amazing match. I can honestly say that I do not believe I have ever seen a bad match that Christian was in.

One of my favorite preachers, on this whole planet, is my brother Andrew Terry. Not only is he an amazing preacher but he is a Godly man, amazing leader and is Co-President of a Homeless Shelter in Lapeer Michigan called the Refuge. The vision and heart that God has given my brother, and his wife Tabitha, for this ministry is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to see where God leads him as he leads this organization.

As with most Pastor’s, we will not turn the pulpits over to just anybody to speak, teach or preach. We want to get to know them, where they stand doctrinely (is that even a word) etc. And while my brother and I do have differences in doctrine, I fully trust him to fill the pulpit for me and in my absence.

Here recently, I had my brother come in and preach for me, with me present, on the Great Commission. It was a PHENOMENAL message. And I am not just saying this because hes my brother. He knows very well that if he asked me how I felt about the message I would tell him, in private, and be honest. My brother gave an altar call at the end of the message but no one came to the altar. I encouraged him and told him that I gave a similar altar call a few weeks prior and it is not a reflection of him.

Pastor Andrew Terry, The Refuge Homeless Shelter of Lapeer

I went to most of the flock, in New Hope Alive, and asked them how they liked the message the Lord spoke through my brother and, literally, every one of them said they were floored by the amazing message that was preached by God through him.

You see, my preaching style, if you will, is more evangelistic. I shout alot, I am very animated with some “hell fire and brimstone”. My brother though, is more of a teacher. But when he teaches, those who are in attendance, are quiet, attentive, taking notes and completely in tune with what God is speaking through Andy to those who are listening willingly.

My brother is like Christian. When Christian wrestles, the fans are silent, watching a true technician put on a clinic. And when Andy preaches, he teaches a dynamic message, from God, and gives those in attendance a clinic on what Gods Word says. In my eyes, Christian is a legend in professional wrestling. And in my eyes, and so many others, my brother is a true man of God who teaches a dynamic, but easy to understand message from the Lord. Now that is a legacy I would love to follow.

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