If you read my stuff, you know I have some “issues” surrounding my pastoral career. It begs the question: Why are you still doing this if it’s that bad?
Here are my answers to that question in no particular order:
1. I do actually occasionally help people. Not many, not as many as I’d like. But there are some. I can see their growth in Christ and to know I had a part in planting or watering is so awesomely cool I can’t even explain it. I fail to see how I’d get this many shots at that by not being a pastor. To be of use to hurting, questioning, and doubting people is very cool.
2. I just wouldn’t do these things otherwise. I get opportunities to be with people in very personal moments. Weddings, funerals, counseling, just talking. I have sat next to more crying people in the last 20 years than I ever thought possible. These are things this job requires me to do and people view me as someone they can invite in. I would never in a million years get this many opportunities to be with people otherwise.
3. I have grown in Christ tremendously. Much of what I share on the Failing Pastor is my flesh’s cynical take on being a pastor. The reality is a tad more balanced. I have had so many people and things ripped away from me, I’ve only had Christ left. Only His Word to stand on. If my pastoral career had been successful, I’m quite sure I’d have lost my soul. I cannot thank Him enough for how terrible my church is for what it’s done for me spiritually!
4. Being a pastor allows me flexibility. I was and am able to spend time with my kids and wife that other jobs would prevent me from doing. I have been able to establish a good home for my family. Being a pastor has allowed me to do this. I can move things around in my schedule quite easily, much more than a typical 9-5 job would allow. I’ve been able to be with my family and this is a giant responsibility this job allows me to fulfill.
5. In many ways my church has been very good to me. I have been paid. I have had numerous people do very generous things for me. There is a core of people that would give their lives for me and I would for them. Yes, the morons tend to make it into my Twitter feed, but there are other people too. I love them. They love me. It is a beautiful thing. We are a family. To quit being a pastor would be akin to leaving my family.
6. I absolutely love preaching. If it weren’t for preaching I would never feel as though I were allowed to talk ever. I love the process of studying and preparing sermons. I love preaching sermons. The amount of time I’ve been allowed to use to study the Bible is incredible. I will never regret the hours spent doing this. I just, I can’t even explain how huge this is for me. I love the Word. Can’t get enough of it. To be allowed to do this for a job is incredible.
7. Eternal reward. I believe the Bible says God rewards people who serve Him well. This is how I’ve chosen to serve Him rather than doing any number of other things. I believe that for eternity I will not regret being a pastor. My reward is in heaven. My treasure is in heaven. From a worldly view; yah, I fail, I suck at this. But I can’t wait to see things from God’s perspective. If He tells me I failed, then ok, I failed! But until I hear Him say it, who cares what my flesh thinks, or what cranky people who’ve left my church think, or what smarmy people on Twitter think. I serve the Lord. I’ll let Him judge my service and reward me accordingly. I attempt to judge nothing before the time, but rather to remain a faithful steward.