I need your prayers. You see, I am a pastor, and with that title, or role, or job, or responsibility, or whatever you want to call it, came more than I bargained for.
Please don't misunderstand me, I love being a pastor, I truly do. And I don't mean to share this as whining or complaining in a "woe is me" kind of way. Yes, sometimes I am frustrated by being a pastor. I get overwhelmed, discouraged, even angry. I feel defeated and lost because of what I do. But it is my calling, and I cherish it, even though I may struggle with it.
I just want to put it out there that I can't do this alone. You see …
I'M UNDER PRESSURE I never really grasped that leading a church also meant leading an organization. Budgets, staffing, organization, direction, vision, values, profit and loss sheets, insurance negotiations, building discussions, lease arrangement, vacation schedules, meetings! And as much as I L-O-V-E preaching, Sunday comes every week! I have to have a sermon ready. I have to have a staff prepared. I have to have volunteers in place. And I have to do all of this with a smile, because if I ever have a bad day someone gets left behind, put off, fired up, or let down.
I'M OVERWHELMED. Organizational leadership is one thing, but spiritual leadership is something else all together. People seek me out for counsel on parenting, marriage, finances, addictions, relationships, conflicts, business ethics, fears, disorders, depression, spiritual attacks, emotional attacks, physical attacks. Everyone (and I mean everyone) has issues to deal with, and I am humbly doing the best I can to help out however I can, even when I don't have the expertise, answers, or experience that is needed.
I'M OUT OF TIME. On top of being a pastor, I'm a husband, father, son, brother, in-law, uncle, cousin, nephew, grandson, co-worker, neighbor, friend, and member of the community. Like everyone else, I'm trying to balance my job and all the responsibilities that it entails, with being there for the love of my life - my wife, parenting the two people that I will spend the rest of my days discipling - my daughters, honoring and serving the two that have supported me all of my life - my parents, being a good brother and family member to those who love and encourage me, all while trying to build relationships with my neighbors, who only seem to know me as "the guy who pastors that church." While I love the church (that is, the people of the church), it is often the church that expects me to be there for them more than my own family expects of me.
I'M UNDER SCRUTINY. My life is lived out on a stage, under seemingly the biggest microscope that exists. A President can have an affair and stay in office. An actor can be arrested for drug abuse, physical abuse, or simply sleep around with his co-stars and be celebrated for his/her work. "Normal" Christians can fall every day in "common" ways and be granted grace. But a pastor … For me there is little to no room for error. If I fall, so does everything I stand for, everything I live for, everyone around me, and everything I'm involved with. And it doesn't even take a failure. If I say something someone doesn't like. If I say something in a way that someone doesn't like. If I give counsel that is 100% biblical, but not agreed with. If I dress wrong, swear, drink a glass of wine, lose my temper, take someone else's side, see the wrong movie, or simply don't live up to someone else's idea of what a pastor should be or what their last pastor was … I'm never going to be good enough.
I'M INSECURE. I have skeletons in my closet. I fail. I really do! I do lose my temper. I do watch things I shouldn't watch. I do swear from time to time. I do lust. I am envious. I often think about myself before others. I struggle with sin just like everyone else. And I hurt. And I wrestle. And when people talk about me, I internalize it, remember it, and let their words lodge in my soul and build walls around my heart. I second guess and question my decisions, my calling, and my leadership. There are many mornings I wake up ready to serve the Kingdom and go to bed ready to quit my calling.
I'M UNDER ATTACK. I've heard it said that when someone steps up to lead in the church, Satan learns their last name. I think when someone steps up to be a pastor, Satan learns their middle name too! Is there any greater strategy for tearing down the Church than by tearing down its leaders? Through addictions, adulteries, financial ruins, power struggles, and flat out pride, everyone knows a pastor who has fallen. That could be me. Satan sets traps for me (1 Timothy 3) so that he can destroy me and defame God's Church. Even when I can't see it, I'm being stalked ...
Even though I am UNDER pressure, OVERwhelmed, OUT of time, UNDER scrutiny, INsecure, and UNDER attack, I also know that I'm in the CENTER of God's will for my life. I know He is with me. I know He is for me. I know He will never leave me.
So, you see, I'm not complaining, I just want to be the best Pastor that God has called me to be - for HIS sake and for YOUR benefit. To that end, I'm simply asking you to pray for me, because I can't do this alone.
If you don't know what or how to pray for your pastor star with this:
- Pray for protection.
- Pray for integrity.
- Pray for his/her self-confidence and identity in Christ.
- Pray for his/her family.
- Pray for his/her calling.
- Pray for his/her heart.
- Pray for his/her effectiveness.
- Pray for them to be ministered to as much as they are ministering through.