As with any job, there are highs and lows. Being a pastor is no different. There are joys and weights, as I call them.
Recently I’ve been sharing some of those to help people who attend church understand what it is like to be a pastor and how they can support their pastor and his family, but also to encourage pastors to keep going and not give up, as so many do.
Joy #2: Seeing Life Change
All the critics, things not going as you planned them, sermons flopping, services falling apart, electronics or videos not going as planned. All of these things happen and are inevitable.
Seeing lives changed, marriages saved, singles choosing integrity, people getting out of debt, Christians being baptized, people finding God, addicts getting out of addiction.
Makes it all worth it.
I think too many pastors stay focused on the negative and never get to see lives changed. Another reason pastors and churches don’t see lives changed is because they don’t expect it, they don’t pray for it and they don’t sacrifice for it. Seeing life change is messy. It is not clean. There are no defined categories. You will have people in your church who swear (at church), who smoke (at church), who will talk about getting drunk, sleeping around and getting high (like everyone is doing it, which in their world, everyone is doing it).
To see life change you must expect it, pray for it, put up with the critics and then see God work. I love getting phone calls from people at Revolution who tell me with a huge smile, “I didn’t get drunk last night,” “I haven’t gotten high in three days,” “I haven’t looked at porn in a week.”
It never gets old.
While those might seem like small steps, and many would think, “They shouldn’t anyway” (which is true), those are big steps for the person.
I think too many times as Christians we spend so much time focusing on brokenness and sin and not enough time focusing on life change and grace. This isn’t a way of being soft on sin, but think for a minute how much time you spend focusing on God’s grace versus God’s judgment.
That focus comes through in your preaching, your counseling and your outlook on people. Do you expect God to work in someone’s life? Do you expect change to happen? Do you believe it is possible for yourself and for those you lead?
If you don’t, then you are missing out on one of the joys God has for you as a pastor.