Imagine it’s a bitterly cold Friday night. Just as you lift your mug to sip a warm drink, the phone rings. It is someone in crisis who needs you right now. Quickly, you gulp down your warm drink, wearily put back on your coat, and head to help.
You don’t get home until the wee hours of the morning. You fall exhausted into bed, only to have your alarm ring a few hours later. It’s time to get up and head to church. As you prepare to leave the house, you bundle up in your warmest coat, knowing that after you brave the early morning cold, there will be sermons to preach, church members to greet, and a potluck lunch to attend.
Have you ever thought about how hard it is to be a pastor? A pastor’s job extends to much more than simply preparing a God-led sermon each week or visiting church members when they are sick; there’s no such thing as a 40-hour work week. A pastor’s job is one that takes a special calling!
In a recent global study (ICM, 2013) commissioned by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church and conducted by Roger Dudley and Petr Činčala, 4,260 Adventist pastors around the world were asked to respond to the statement, “I know that God has called me to be a pastor.” Ninety-six percent of respondents indicated that they agreed with this statement.
Interestingly, 64% of these pastors were between 25 and 46 years of age, 73% of them were supervising several churches, and some of them previously worked for the church in different capacities, including administration (12%), departmental leadership (26%), chaplaincy (25%), and teaching (24%).
The same study also asked pastors to respond to the statement, “I enjoy being a pastor.” For 95% of respondents, this statement was also true. As morale has much to do with how successful and effective a pastor is, this finding is significant! How encouraging for church members to be led by someone who truly feels God’s calling on their life – someone who has a passion and excitement for serving the Lord and His church!
While your pastor may feel called to his profession and may enjoy his position, however, this does not mean that the calling is an easy one. Take time to contemplate ways in which you can serve your pastor and his family in return. These might include:
- Tell your pastor what God is teaching you personally. It may seem like enough to tell your pastor, “Great sermon!” every week, but taking the time to share why the sermon touched you is so much more meaningful. Learning more about what God is teaching you can also help your pastor better meet your needs, as well.
- If you see a need, fill it. One of the hard parts of being a pastor is seeing a need, knowing it needs to be filled, and not be able to take on anything else. Don’t be afraid to step in and say, “I can help!” Ask yourself, “How can I involve myself in the Total Member Involvement Initiative?” (If you are unfamiliar with this initiative, check out this video.) Each church member has spiritual gifts that can be used to extend the Kingdom here on earth!
- Award your pastor the same grace he extends to you. Remember: your pastor is only human. Just as you mess up, he does too. He is walking the same earthly path and fighting spiritual battles – just like you. Be slow to judge him and quick to grant him Christ-like grace.
- Pray daily for your pastor and his family. This is the most important thing you can do for your pastor! The battle against Satan is fierce, and your pastor is at the forefront of the fight. Surround him daily with prayer, praying especially for him to be encouraged, protected, and to stay close to Jesus.
Your pastor loves you and is serving you according to his calling from God. Don’t forget to love him back!
To learn more, you can find the full report here.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.