Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Pastor's Life

One of the main search strings that bring people to this blog is "what is a pastor's life like?" or some derivation of it. There's no real concise way to explain it. I'm coming up on another anniversary in ministry and with this one I will have had just as many years in ministry as I did outside it. Hard to believe.

What can I tell you?

It's lonelier than you think it is.

Yes, I know that I'm engaged in caring for a group of people and am given unprecedented entrance into the lives of them and their families. I get to be there when babies come into the world, share the joy at weddings. When sorrow is present, I'm one of the tools God can use to apply His grace. Bunny and I get to follow kids as they grow up through recitals, chorus concerts, games and graduations. There's after church lunches and end of week invitations out to eat.

But it's lonelier than you think it is.

To pastor a church, especially a small church, means that after God and your family, it is everything. It's not just a job -not just income - it's a calling - a holy passion to see God glorified through your place of service. While it's critical to trust God to do what only God can do, you want to make sure that as much as you can do, you do. And it's very easy to let momentary losses, people leaving, or setbacks chip away at your confidence - not in God - but in you. If the church is hurt - you hurt. You know it's not you when it goes up, but you always wonder if it was you when it goes down. The only people who really understand what pastors go through are other pastors. And with the exception of  one dear friend who now lives in Atmore AL, I've never had anyone local to share the load. Not whining, just the facts.

So your wife, who in most jobs doesn't really get the full brunt of what you go through at work, is involved in the everyday ebb and flow and is your sounding board as well as all the other things wives typically do. Sometimes she suffers from the same sort of loneliness. We have to, have to, have to trust God to provide all our needs through Jesus.

I thank God for the friends Bunny has here.

Well, now all you folks who search for what a pastor's life is like have part of the answer.

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