I just read a lengthy post from a minister who has resigned not only his pastorate, but church ministry all together. He explained why, and yes, his “reasons” were all valid and accurate. The previous 2 years have changed what pastoral ministry looks like – no matter the denomination or church size. Pastoral ministry has always been difficult, and it becomes more so every day – a sign of the times, if you will.
While I understand everything this minister had to say about why he resigned, I always come back to one simple question that keeps me going: What about the call of God on your life to be a pastor?
I’ve been “doing” ministry for almost 43 years now, with 29+ of those years as a Senior Pastor. God has called me to small churches for all of those years, and yes, there have been times I wanted to quit. And every time I have, the one thing that has “righted the ship” as it were, was to remember that God placed a definite call on my life to be a PASTOR. He didn’t promise a life of ease. He didn’t call me to pastor only when it was pleasant or convenient. He didn’t say I could “cut and run” when the people mistreated me (and yes, church members have been known to mistreat a pastor now and then). He didn’t promise me great wealth, riches, fame, or acclaim. He didn’t promise me that my family would always be protected from the “fishbowl” of ministry. He didn’t even promise me that the churches I pastored would see significant numerical growth!
HOWEVER, He did promise me that if I, like Paul, would finish the race, there would be waiting for me a crown and the words, “Well done. You’ve been a good and faithful SERVANT.”
And the anticipation of those words is what keeps me true to the call of God to be a Pastor. (And as a side note – God had to fight with me for several years before I completely surrendered to that call.)
Maybe that one word is the real issue – pastors are CALLED to be SERVANTS OF GOD. Not hired hands of the church. And maybe we’ve all forgotten that one important fact.
Pray for your pastor. And let him or her know it’s alright to not be perfect