I love ministry. I love hanging out with the people and getting to know them and pointing them to the glorious cross. I don’t necessarily like saying hard things but those things are for our spiritual growth and God’s glory. I love the smell of a brand new book and digging into the Word, using the tools, and reading the commentaries. I enjoy writing the sermon: desiring to be biblically accurate and attempting to do it creatively and I love preaching it. But if I wasn’t a pastor, I’d want to pastor pastors.
We have friends in the U.S. that bought a big ol’ run down house and had some financial backers and they made the place into a haven for pastor’s to go to. We were welcomed to a five day retreat. We would arrive on the Sunday night and stay until Friday morning. Those were sweet times. We would often meet the other four or five couples the next morning and the walls would be up but very quickly you would hear some of the ministry hardships that made my concerns seem so much smaller. I once met an associate pastor who had to mop up the mess after their lead pastor committed suicide.
This host couple pastored us and every other couple that came to retreat. The husband would tell jokes and I’m sure his wife must have heard them thousands of times. They would also get together with us individually and they’d pray with us and for us. We haven’t seen then in a few years and with the recent transition, we may never see them again face to face until glory.
I do a funny thing and I don’t write this to get a shout out, it’s just what I do. Churches that I have gotten to know through the looking-for-a-pastorate process, I pray for them and check them out on-line to see if they’ve called a pastor yet. Last week I sent an email to the search chair at a church in Nebraska that I made the short list at. I saw that they had brought on a new pastor and said that I was grateful and that I was praying for them and I’d continue to do so. There’s another church that went through some really tough stuff a while ago and I have remained in contact with one of the guys who was on the search committee. I love the church. I want the church to thrive. I want the church to excel. I want the church to make disciples.
Through the last little while I have also got to know some pastors and pastoring is hard. I was talking to a pastor a few months back and he was sharing some of the highlights and struggles of his ministry and I thought ‘and I want to go back to that?’ Yes, I do. That’s call. You can’t ignore it. Pastors go through hard times. I try to encourage them and point them to Jesus and pray for them. I’m getting together with another pastor bro who will likely be doing the same thing with me this week. When I think of hardships in ministry I think of the Apostle Paul.
 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.  Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;  on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;  in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.  And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:24-28 ESV)
In all of those struggles the last one stands out…the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Few understand it. Few ever can. One day those who are called by God will have to give an account for how he shepherded.
This post was fuelled by an article I read recently that you can link to at the bottom. I guess I say all this to simply say, keep you pastor in prayer.