The lists people write (and I just wrote) about what they wish they knew before entering the ministry tend to be the things that has wounded them, or stem from mistakes they have made. Reading this kind of list on the front side of your calling can be an intimidating thing. They are important to know, and important to prepare for, but there are also some things I would hope you know before you begin your work:
1. Being a pastor allows you to experience God in a unique way
We are all free to experience God as we desire…He is an equal opportunity God. At the same time, I think it is fair to say that God provides greater grace to someone leading a community. The vantage point a pastor has on people’s lives affords him the opportunity to see God do amazing, life changing things in people’s lives on a regular basis.
2. Being a pastor is living out a calling
If you think God has called you into the ministry you need to be absolutely sure before you pursue it as your life’s work. Calling is a mysterious and imperative part of the ministry. If you are not truly called, you will not last long. That said, if you are confident in your calling, and your calling has been confirmed, you can experience each day in the knowledge that you are exactly where God intends you to be.
3. Being a pastor provides daily purpose
If you are in relationship with Jesus Christ you have purpose. A pastor’s purpose is to see to the people of God, and the work of God day in and day out. You wake each day in the knowledge that what you do will reach into eternity. You wake each day in the knowledge that God could rock the world around you. You wake each day in the belief that what God allows you to do is the reason you wake each day.
4. Being a pastor offers incredible joy
Pastors spend a good amount of time talking about the difficulties their lives present them. Although this true, the yang for their ying is that we have the chance to see God accomplish his plan in people’s lives, in familes, and in communities. To be given the opportunity to be apart of God’s redemptive work provides a joy that is unparalleled this side of eternity.
5. Being a pastor is the most important job you could have
The intensity of the trial and joy in being a pastor is evidence to this truth: if you are called to pastor, you are called to the most important job you could possibly have. This is not to say it makes a pastor better than a stock broker or teacher. It is also not to say that the stock broker or teacher cannot be used of God. It is to say that a pastor gives his life to the work of God and the preaching of His book. He gives his life to serving people. He gives his life to two things God says will last forever…the truth of His Word and souls