There is a weight that pastors feel that I don’t know translates into other jobs. I think that people in churches can know about it but not fully understand it. I know that as a youth pastor I didn’t truly understand the weight of pastoring until becoming a lead pastor. For no particular reason it just worked that way.
While there are many weights that a pastor carries, some of them are just human weights that others carry (including parenting), but I thought up five that I think pastors particularly carry on a daily basis because of what they do each and every week. There is an important distinction here: these are not pains. These are the weights of pastoring. There is a huge difference between pain and weight (so no one misses that).
Over the coming months I wanted to share some of the weights and joys of pastoring.
Weight #1: Preaching God’s Word Every Week
One of my favorite parts of my job is preaching every week, and for your pastor, this is probably one of his favorite parts of his job. Yes, I call it preaching, not teaching. For me the goal of preaching is life change, not to pass on information or to make people smarter.
There is this weight of knowing that each week you are standing in front of a group of people and trying to communicate in an accurate way what the Bible says. The idea of God using you and speaking through you is incredibly weighty. The idea that in our church every week there are broken marriages, addictions, pain, hurt, questions, doubts, people who are struggling with their faith, people who are trying to piece together their faith, and people who don’t know Jesus and are going to spend eternity without Him.
This is weighty.
It keeps me and other pastors up during the week, it humbles us as we read, as we pray, as we think through the faces and the stories every week of our churches.
While we don’t decide for people, and we don’t make people change, the weight is the part that we play in this. The idea that God can and does use preaching every week is weighty.
The weight that if we’re not prepared, we dishonor God and the call He has placed on our lives. If we’re not prepared, someone may think their suspicions of God, church and pastors have been confirmed, and they move farther away from God rather than closer.
One of the things that I try to do every week, and it doesn’t always happen, is to stand up at Revolution and preach like it is the last time I am going to preach. This is pastor talk for leaving it all on the field.
I’m often asked by people how they can help me or support me (or support their pastor). Here are some ways:
- Pray during the week when I’m studying.
- Pray on Saturday night. I rarely sleep well on Saturday nights as I am thinking about Sunday morning.
- Come on Sunday expecting God to show up.
- Don’t bring something up on Sunday before church; wait until after church. That sounds rude, but for me personally, if I can stay focused on my message before church, it goes so much better for me.
- Pray and support Katie. The best way to serve and care for a pastor is to serve and care for his wife. While I carry a weight and have a target on my back, Katie feels it even more, and it is often lonelier and heavier for her.