Many of my tweets and blog posts are about “negative” things. Mostly that’s because my humor is fueled by making fun of negativity.
But often people just hear me as whiny and complaining.
And they would be correct.
However, making fun of negative things is one way I deal with it.
There are actually many things I enjoy about being a pastor.
OK, “many” was way too big of a word. There are several things I enjoy about being a pastor
1. People crying.
Seriously. People let pastors in to their personal lives, sometimes shockingly so and occasionally disturbingly so, but for many it’s quite healthy and beautiful. I’ve been at the bedsides of dying people. I’ve grieved with people. People share their spiritual struggles, their passion for saving the souls of their loved ones, and their deepest fears, disappointments, and regrets. It’s amazing to me how many grown men have spoken to me through tears over the years. It’s moving and beautiful and I love it.
2. People growing.
I don’t have Church Growth to speak of. My church pretty much muddles along in attendance. Whenever new people come in, someone will move or drift off. We just never gain any traction in numbers. But I do have people who are growing spiritually. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing someone say that something you said truly helped them grow. Not just empty compliments, but a specific word was spoken that moved their understanding forward. Spiritual growth takes forever and it’s frustrating because so much more could be there. But to see people make progress, to see their families see the progress and appreciate it, it’s just beyond words.
I love preaching. I love the time I get to study the Word. No, it doesn’t pay well materially, but what I’ve gained spiritually I will forever be grateful for. This job, the task of preaching the Word in season and out, has kept my nose to the grindstone. Being available for people’s questions keeps me on my toes. I just love working through my week’s progression in forming another sermon or three, to see the points develop, and the Scriptures come together. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. Getting to glimpse the depths of God’s Word and His wisdom that is higher than ours.
As more people turned on me and left my church, the more I was driven to go to God in prayer. As people were stripped away, sometimes painfully, I developed an absolute sense of security in Christ. To see myself standing before God alone giving an account, living in dependence on His leading and teaching, and fulfilling those obligations to the best of my ability, regardless of what anyone says, has driven me to my knees before God. If I had never become a pastor, I doubt I’d have grown so much in Christ, in absolute dependence upon the foundation of His Word. He is indeed faithful, even as all others fade away. One of the best things about the job ever and the massive upside to being stabbed in the back by so many people!
5. I don’t have to go to anyone else’s church.
I hate going to church as not the pastor. I cannot listen to a sermon without tearing it apart. I despise churchy busy work events–Christmas programs, Easter Cantatas, etc. That’s fine if you like them, go for it. I hate them. Since I’m the pastor I can eliminate them from my church! I have created a church that I would like to go to. Granted, apparently no one else likes it, but still, I like it. Sitting through sermons is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I now never have to do this. I stand during them. I can end them when I want! I’m sure this paragraph is all terrible and many judgments are being thought about me, but hey, it’s true. One reason I became a pastor is so I wouldn’t have to go to your church.
So, yeah, it’s not all negativity with me. Don’t get the wrong idea. Being a pastor has been the hardest, most challenging, most devastating and painful thing I’ve ever done in my life. But nothing worth doing is ever easy. The more difficult it is, the more growth occurs.
I’ve gotten to the place where I can sort of, usually say with the Apostle Paul sometimes, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”