Yesterday I had lunch and a discussion with colleagues. As I listened to them, I realized again how grateful I am to be serving this congregation. Ministry is hard. The demands keep coming. We are pulled into very difficult situations. We are expected to be on call 24 hours a day. We are expected to be able to do a variety of things well, from administration and personnel to crisis counseling to preaching and teaching, to hospital visitation to grief counseling. We are expected to be able to teach the Bible, leadership, interpersonal relationships, prayer, and comparative religions, among other things.
We are held responsible for things that we have no control over. Crazy people project all kinds of things onto us. We are expected to satisfy everyone's needs, even when those needs are impossible or opposing. One Sunday I had members telling me how wonderful the hymns had been while others were complaining about how terrible the very same hymns were.
When we get tired, and we do get tired, it is very hard to go with the flow and not let the criticism and complaints take a toll on us. It is amazing how many people graduate from college and then seminary and within a few years are out of the ministry, no longer able to cope with it all.
Today is the start of Lent, and it is a time when life gets even more challenging for many pastors. Pray for your pastor today. Pray for pastors everywhere who are working to be faithful to God amid the competing demands of the congregations they serve. Pray for pastors who are struggling to maintain a healthy family life and a healthy church. Next time you see your pastor, say thank you.