Recently I’ve been sharing some joys and weights of being a pastor. While being a pastor isn’t necessarily harder than other jobs, it is different. In fact, I cringe when a pastor says that they have the hardest job in the world, but that’s another topic.
If you’ve been reading along, you might think that being a pastor is only misery, but there are a lot of joys that go along with being a pastor.
In fact, if you are a pastor this might be just the reminder you need.
Joy #1: God’s call on your life.
While there is a call on all Christians lives to live a certain way, for a certain goal and to invite others into this, scripture is clear that God calls certain ones to lead his people. It does not mean that pastors are better than everyone else; they are just called to lead the people of God. In fact, this calling means they get judged twice. (James 3:1)
God’s call on your life (in any capacity) is humbling. That God would ask me to do anything is crazy. If we’re honest, we would all agree that God should call someone else or come up with a plan B. But we are plan A without a plan B. That God would even think I can fulfill his call and fulfill his will is humbling.
God’s call also gives us a specific way to live and a specific thing that we are trying to accomplish. It means life is not an accident, that we are not mistakes, but that God has set us apart from others. This means that as a follower of Jesus, God has placed a call on your life to do something. Your role is to figure out what it is and then do it.
God’s call is also important as a leader because when life gets tough, when critics get loud, when God’s voice seems silent, your call is what will keep you going. There have been countless times for Katie and me that the only reason we stuck with being a pastor was because of God’s call on our lives.
Another aspect that too many leaders miss is that your personal call must also be your spouse’s call (if you are married). In fact, I would venture to say that your spouse almost needs to feel this call more than you do. They will feel the pain more than you do, they will want to defend you, they will feel the hurt more than you do. When something happens to you, you can brush it off. But when something happens to someone you love, it is hard to brush it off. Too many pastors get into ministry and drag their spouse with them and use God’s call as a club to say, “We have to. God called me.” He may have, but you also chose to get married, and they need to be on board with it. Your call must be their call, or you will not be in ministry or married for long.
I know that last paragraph makes this seem like a weight instead of a joy, but that is one of my soapboxes because we have talked to countless pastors who dragged their spouses into ministry.
If you are unsure of God’s call on your life to vocational ministry, that doesn’t make you a second class Christian. All Christians aren’t called to be pastors, but that doesn’t mean God hasn’t called you.
If you are tired right now as a pastor, worn down and are unsure if you can go on, your call to ministry is one of the things that will get you through. Remember that moment, that clarity, that excitement. Cling to that and the one who gifted you and called you to what you are going through and what is ahead.