Scared Straight: Pastor’s Edition / Unappreciated Pastor
by Unappreciated Pastor
(Unappreciated Pastor blogs HERE.)
So, you wanna be a pastor? Big man on campus; that’s you, huh? Standing up there in front of everybody, holding your Bible, preaching to the people. I can see you now, scooting around the stage, dancing to the “Amens” and applause. Mr. Pastor, Bishop, Reverend, Elder, Preacher Man. Yeah. I used to be like you.
Let’s take a walk.
“Where are we going?” you ask.
It’s a little place I like to call reality. I’ve been living there for the last 15 years.
Look at this. What is this? I know what you’re thinking. It’s a blank piece of paper, right? Wrong. It’s a list of all the friends you have at the church you serve. Not hard to remember their names is it? Ministry is a lonely place, buddy. If you are looking to make lots of friends, you are headed down the wrong road.
Here’s the deal. The people you like leave and the ones you don’t like will stay. You’ll think you have friends. When you start at a new church, they’ll invite you over for a BBQ and board games. But the truth is the first ones to ask you over are also the first ones to ask you to leave.
Look at those guys over there. You know who they are? They’re deacons. I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking, “They are here to serve the pastor.” Yeah that’s right — serve you like a tennis ball. Truth is, they’re the cold-water committee, the dream busters. They are going to make sure you don’t get too excited about growing this church. They’re the head of the puppet ministry and they think you’re the puppet.
And by the way. Your mother goes to this church. And you have eight of them. Word to the wise: “I feel like you’re one of my children” isn’t a compliment. It means she is going to tell you what you should do and it would be in your best interest to listen to her. This church believes in church discipline, but only for the pastor.
Listen. You hear that? Sounds like a bunch of fifth graders upset over a game of sandlot baseball, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s the Wednesday night business meeting, and it happens every month, and you get to be the referee. Oh, the stuff is real important, too. You get to earnestly contend for the carpet color. You’ll be able to sleep so well on Wednesday nights after Betty and Bertha duke it out over what to serve at VBS.
What’s that? Where’s your wife? Oh, she’s busy trying to figure out where she fits in to all this. Yeah, she’s standing by her man, but she’s also standing by that phone hoping someone will rescue you all from this. She’s in a town she doesn’t know; keeping nursery kids she doesn’t know. She is biting her tongue. She is cleaning a house that she will never own. She is concerned about what the church thinks about her kids, her yard, and her involvement with the church. She’s pretty busy. Don’t be surprised if she goes to bed early.
Oh, wanna hear a joke? Too bad. Because you’re going to, and it’s going to be the same jokes over and over. Jokes about fried chicken, being the first in the line at the potluck, only working two days a week, getting your sermons off the Internet. My advice would be learn how to laugh like Fran Drescher, and do it every time you hear one of those jokes. They won’t stop, but they will slow down a little.
I wanna show you something else. Look in there. It’s dark, isn’t it? You can feel the heaviness, can’t you? Loneliness exudes from that place. No, that’s not rain. That’s tears. You know what this is. It’s Monday, the day you get the most negative phone calls. It’s the day you remember how much you butchered yesterday’s sermon. It’s the day you remember a church full of dry eyes and an empty altar. It comes every week. Fifty-two times a year Monday shows up just to say “Ha-ha-ha-Hi.” You will leave the ministry countless times in your heart on this day. Statistics show that if you ever do quit, it will most likely be on this day.
Listen up. It’s tough in here. You ask why am I here, then? Because God called me, and I couldn’t be happy anywhere else. And that’s the only reason you should come.