Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why pastor?

Some weeks, I find myself asking, "Why would anyone want to be a pastor?" Many pastors I know are struggling. They see needs and try to lead their churches to meet those needs, but they run into resistance. They think they understand what their church members expect of their pastor, and suddenly find that they have it all wrong. They go the second and third miles in ministry, but they find it is not enough. Therefore, many pastors of my acquiantance are disappointed and even depressed. They are seeking other places of service or even considering leaving full-time ministry.

Is it any wonder that many of our young adults go to seminary, but boldly declare, "I don't want to serve in a local church!" We have to find ways to help our pastors lead and serve. Maybe then more people will want to be pastors!

Am I just having a bad day?

5 comments:

Steve Street said...

I am reading Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Rediscovering Ministry by Bill Easum. He discusses the need for spiritual oxygen for our ministerial leaders. However, I found it interesting that Easum has an appendix "Alternative Careers for Today's Distressed Clergy Translating Ministry Skills into Alternative Professions." I appreciate Easum's realism--some ministers reading his book will only find "spiritual oxygen" in another career. To pastor is a calling that requires a healthy flow of energy--spiritual, physical, emotional. It is so difficult to set healthy boundaries for ourselves under the pressure to be involved in so many people's lives.

Ircel said...

Agreed. One of my mentors said, "If you can do anything rather than being a minister and be happy at it, go ahead." I am sure that this sentiment was not original to him, but the truth is that ministry is more than a profession--it is a calling. Those who are called to ministry will do it, no matter who pays the bills.

mike smith said...

Easum may be on to something important. Historically, we Baptists have paid attention to calling out the called (entry point into ministry) and some attention to sustaining pastors (retreats, peer groups, minimal aid to terminated pastors, etc). To my knowledge, we've never developed and implemented exit strategies for pastors who conclude they need to move into another profession. Would it not be honest and even caring to admit the need and develop structures to meet it?

Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

This notion of being a pastor goes back to "calling." I have a note card on my desk with two words: Patience and Perseverence. Remember the old saying, "I love the ministry, but it's the people I can't stand." I've been fortunate to have served in good congregations, but every church has its problems. I try not to be one of them.

Ircel said...

In response to Mike Smith's posting, I wonder if anyone is doing this "transitioning" to alternate professions for ministers. At least one pastor of my acquiantance has done this in the past year, but I don't know how much counsel and support was provided to him in this process. It may well be the most healthy thing that a minister can do. In my other life as a campus minister, I suggested to colleagues that they should always have an "exit strategy." Most didn't and still don't.