The majority of Christendom has no idea what it’s like to be a pastor. Pastors think a lot about the words they use, and about the words they hope others will use.
I figure David Letterman would never get around to this, so I’ve developed the list. In case you’ve ever wondered, here are some of the words pastors dream about hearing.
Some of them are tongue-in-cheek; others are straight from the heart. I’m sure you can improve the list (Post yours below).
10. “Last week, we read that the pastor who preaches and teaches is worthy of double honor, so we’re doubling your salary.”
Through the ministry of Heal Your Servant, we have four scheduled weekly conference calls. Every call is unique, and most are filled with surprises. Sometimes we will have one person on a call, and other times we have several callers.
On a recent phone conversation, I had one individual call in. I introduced myself. He then gave me his name. As is customary, I began a short prayer, asking God for His wisdom.
I concluded, and instead of hearing the words, “Amen,” I heard, “Why do you do this?”
It was as if the Lord had been preparing me for this question.
The youth ministry I grew up in was amazing. I was offered so much activity and was infused with so much passion that I was always serving somewhere.
Each week started with Sunday school, followed by Sunday service and a meal out with fellow youth groupies. Sundays ended with the evening service. On Monday nights, we went street witnessing, on Wednesdays we had youth group (all of the “mature” students served in multiple capacities), and on Friday nights we did ministry at the nursing homes.
My spiritual life was packed with social activities and service opportunities, and I owned my kingdom responsibility. I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to win the world.
We live in a world that is defined by boundaries. Our roads are painted with them, our sports games are designed around them, and our psychologists tell us we need to expand them around that codependent crazy aunt of ours.
While it may be true that the term boundaries has been “Oprahfied” in the last few years, I think it’s an area that is vital in the lives of church-planters and pastors.
People often point to too much activity as the inherent culprit of fatigue and early departure from ministry. The problem, however, transcends a busy schedule.
Recently, a friend told me of a major shift in his home life—one of the life-altering kind. The thing that bothered me most (and the whole thing is an issue for prayer) is that I didn’t sense that anything was wrong.
Sometimes people who care the deepest for others are the best at hiding their own pain.
How can you tell if your staff is in a place of pain?
1. Pacing. Sometimes when our personal lives begin to fall apart, we run to what feels safe. Our work feeds us with constant accomplishments (despite the pain), and when home is too stressful it is easy to hide in work. Think about ways to help your staff take time for their families—not just to fix problems, but to build good memories.
Years ago, I realized that I was different than the rest of my staff. When they took vacation, they looked for a big church to celebrate at (and learn from).
I love learning from other churches. Every conference is a great opportunity for me to learn how other people communicate with their members, follow up with visitors, structure their services, etc.
But when I’m on vacation, I want to get alone with God and not hear another human being.