I’ve served in ministry for over 15 years, as a senior pastor for 9 years.
I’ve seen people come and go, hate me and love me, but one thing is for sure, I wouldn’t want to and couldn’t do anything else besides pastor, it’s my life’s purpopse. After 15 years of sitting under, working for, and being a senior pastor, I thought you might want to know the truth about your pastor.
1. Your pastor is trying his best
You may not believe it. You may think he’s just throwing things together, but he isn’t. The results may not be what you want, but I’ve never met a pastor who didn’t want to succeed or make a difference. He’s preaching the best sermons he can create, empowering the best volunteers he can find, and doing whatever possible to try and motivate you to be excited about your church. Whatever is bothering you about your church, trust me, he’s more frustrated than you are.
2. Your pastor works harder than you think he does
You may work more hours than he does, but you’re not working harder. His mind never shuts off. He’s planning sermons, making phone calls, and doing visits. He’s always on call, he’s counseling, providing care, and being a husband and a dad. Every time he gets ready to finally take a break his phone rings with a call from somebody in the church. The emotional strain of pastoring wears him out. Don’t assume that a lack of physical labor means he’s not working hard.
3. Your pastor is rarely 100% confident
He works really hard to come across as confident, but most of the time when he is pitching a new idea or casting vision, he’s only “kind of” sure. He hopes it works, he hopes it was God speaking, but he’s learned that waiting to be 100% confident will never come when you are working for God.
4. Your pastor has an ego
I’ve never met a great pastor who doesn’t have a little bit of an ego. He has to. When he walks into a church that hasn’t grown under the last 5 pastors, there has to be part of him that believes he can accomplish something others couldn’t. After enough people tell him “They aren’t getting fed anymore” he has to have something on the inside that convinces him to walk up on the stage and speak again. Yes, some pastors can be egotistical maniacs, but every great pastor has to have a small ego to get out of bed every Monday.
5. Your pastor is worried you’re going to leave
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been attending the church for 20 years, pastors feel like you are just one conflict away from visiting another church. He probably shouldn’t be so defensive, but he has seen too many people walk out the door over small, silly things. The feeling of disappointment when someone leaves the church is impossible to explain to someone who has never experienced it, especially someone who is leaving. If you’re going to leave and choose to meet with him, use these tips I’ve provided in “How To Tell Your Pastor You’re Leaving Your Church”
6. Your pastor takes things personally
Even when you preface your statement with “Don’t take this personally, but…” I know in your mind it’s just a church, or it’s just a service, or it’s just a sermon, but to him it’s his life, calling, and identity. When you say you don’t like the music, or you’re leaving because no one has befriended you, he takes it personally because you’re talking about his family. It would be like if someone said to you, “I really love you and want to hang out with you, but I don’t want to hang out at your house anymore because your kids are crazy. Don’t take it personally because it’s your kids, not you, but we’ll have to hang out somewhere other than your house.” That’s what it feels like.
7. You get on your pastor’s nerves sometimes
Don’t take this personally, but… you can be annoying sometimes. You probably don’t realize how fickle, or temperamental you are, but when you want to meet to talk about something “really important” and tell him you’re frustrated because your daughter didn’t get a solo in the Christmas play, it’s annoying. Sometimes it feels like the loudest people are the least involved, and that’s even worse. Which leads us to the next thing you need to know.
8. Your encouragement matters (especially Monday-Saturday)
You will never know how much your encouragement lifts his spirits, especially during the week. While your encouragement of his sermon on Sunday is nice, encouragement during the week feels like you really care, that during your busy day, you were thinking good things about him.
9. Your pastor would take a bullet for you
He would take a bullet for you, even if you wouldn’t take one for him. He has a burden for you because God gave him the burden. He prays for you, he cares about you, and he would do anything he could to make sure you know God. There are times you might feel your pastor doesn’t care about you, but it’s not true; he does. He may not get to speak to you or he may miss a visit sometimes, but if he didn’t care about you, he wouldn’t be your pastor, he would choose a profession with less stress, more money, and emotional stability.