I talk to young men and women on a regular basis who feel God has a call on their life in ministry. It is an incredible encouragement to see the passion in their eyes, and hear the hopefulness in their voice. With that in mind here are five things I wish I knew before becoming a pastor…
1. Pastoring is lonely.
Spend time with people outside of your church community. It is difficult for people to seperate you from your position. You need to have people in your life that knew and loved you before you were “Pastor ______”. You need to continue to grow and pursue relationships that are mutually building and encouraging. To many pastors wake up one day with no friends. This not only kills the soul, it is an incredibly dangerous place to find yourself.
2. You will not be able to make everyone happy
There is not enough grace or diplomacy in the world to appease everyone. You have to get used to the fact that even when you pray, and plan, and hope, and communicate as well as you possibly can, there are still some who will attack and criticize. Be gracious, be humble, but be confident in your calling and vision, and don’t let anyone steal or hijack it.
3. Some people are scaffolding
God builds His church. Some people are scaffolding, (temporary tools used to build) and some people are foundation and brick. (permenant parts of the house) People will come and people will go. It will never stop hurting when people leave your community. But it will also never stop happening. God sends people for a purpose in time, and so does our enemy. Serve people, love them, lead them, but don’t ever try to keep them…they are not yours. Learn to see people as parts of God’s building His church, and when they leave, let them go.
4. You never outgrow a mentor
Fill your life with people who have been there and done that in the significant parts of your world…Someone who mentors you as a spouse, a parent, a teacher, a pastor, a boss, a student. Have the humilty to admit you need guidance, and submit to the wisdom God provides you through mentors.
5. There is no magic bullet
The working is God’s, and the blessing of the work is of God. There are methods of every style and perspective…they all work someplace. Just because you grow doesn’t make you a success, just because you struggle doesn’t make you a failure. Be diligent, walk with God, and sleep well.