Last week I wrote about what I do, as a pastor, during the week (the other 6 days). You can check out that post here. This week I want to ask you, “What is the most important thing a pastor does?” Believe it or not – there are a lot of different answers to that question!
Pastors, depending on their role, have to do a lot of things:
- Be close to Jesus
- Pray for and with people in the church
- Preach God’s Word
- Be available for counseling and care
- Visit people in the hospital
- Develop staff and volunteer leaders
- Oversee administration and communication to the church
- Reach new people outside of the church
- Be involved in serving the community
- Lead and promote great events for the church
- Respond to facility problems that come up
- Have a great family life
Quite a job description! Look back at that list. No one is going to be amazing at Administration, Preaching, Counseling, and Evangelism – those are spiritual gifts. No one has all of them. OK, except Jesus!
Pastors don’t burn out because of the list; they burn out because they are expected to be EXPERTS at everything on the list. Ironically, the person who is usually frustrated with the pastor’s shortcomings in a certain area usually is an expert in that area. The expectations bring up the question: who is the boss?
Who is your boss? The great thing about having a boss (stay with me!) is that you know that you only have to please that one person and live up to their standards. If you are self-employed you don’t have to deal with a boss, but you have got plenty of other problems! Being a pastor is often like having a room full of “bosses”, evaluating if you are really doing your job up to their expectations. Even better – the bosses frequently tell you what they think of your job performance. That is enough pressure to drive enough people crazy. For me, I am already pretty crazy, so it doesn’t bother me much! And not to burst any bubbles, but the pastor has only one Boss.
My seminary – North Park – was great about helping young pastors discern their role as pastors. I made a choice as a young pastor, discerning my gifts, to see my primary role as Teacher. That guides how I spend my time. I pray and study a lot. I focus on preaching and teaching in my ministry. I do leadership development as discipleship/teaching. I see counseling as listening/teaching and look to empower those who have stronger gifts in these areas.
Everything on the list needs to be done – absolutely – but not by the pastor. The Holy Spirit has brought so much talent and passion into every church. It is a pastor’s job to see those gifts and raise up others to do the work of ministry together, as we each are gifted. Honestly, it is way more fun that way!
Next week I will talk about how I do pastoral ministry without losing my family or faith (many do). Feel free to share your thoughts on this week’s blog!