One of the best parts of being a pastor (or a Christian for that matter) is seeing God use you. There is nothing like using the gifts God has given to you.
Recently I’ve been sharing some of the weights and joys of being a pastor 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.
Being a pastor is unique. It isn’t harder than another job, just different.
If you’ve missed any of the weights or joys I’ve covered, you can see them here: Preaching God’s word every week, You can’t change people, God’s call on your life, Seeing life change, People under you are counting on you, God using you and What God thinks of you.
Joy #4: Communicating God’s Word
While this is a weight that pastors carry, this is also a joy.
To have the ability to open God’s Word and share it with others is a huge joy. To have people come to hear what God is saying through his Word and you is unbelievable. It is humbling, holy and scary all at the same time. For me, because teaching is one of my top gifts, I love being able to preach every week.
I love to see the way God chooses to use the work that I have put in and the time I have labored on a talk. It is something that is difficult to describe. It goes back to God using us.
For me, a sermon starts about six to eight months before I preach it. I lay out where I feel God is taking our church over the coming year and begin meditating on those passages, researching, finding articles, books and commentaries to see what others have to say on those topics. By the time I get up to preach something, I have been sitting with that topic for quite some time. To see more of how I prep a sermon, you can read that process here.
I am always blown away at how, even though we plan in advance, our church seems to be in the place where what I’m preaching on is what they need. Countless times God has shown up where we are going through what I’m preaching on. I used to be surprised.
By far this is more work, but at the same time it is so worth it. To be a part of God’s work in the world in this way makes what I do worth it.
Too many pastors, while they enjoy preaching, get lazy at it. They don’t plan ahead, they are trying to figure out Saturday night what to say instead of getting a good night’s sleep. They simply download someone else’s ideas instead of doing the hard work of figuring out what God wants to say to the church they serve. Or, they get up and say too many things instead of doing the hard work of editing.
Preaching is a weight, and according to the New Testament something you will get judged twice for. So if you preach, it is a joy as well as a weight. If it is not a joy, do something else in your church, or ask God to make preaching a joy to you.
When you see this task as a joyful weight, you finally get it. In that moment, a lot changes as a communicator. You are humbled by the opportunity, how God works but also that God will move through your prayers, confession and study. Those are never wasted in this weighty joy.