This one goes back a few years but appeared most recently in Voice, May/June, 2012.
Recently, I listened to an edition of Pastor Pastor, a radio program just for pastors, sponsored by Focus on the Family. The theme was “What I like about being a pastor.” That theme really put its hand upon me, because usually programs geared to the pastor deal with negatives such as coping with problems.
Being a pastor, I am well aware of the myriad of difficulties associated with pastoral ministry. These tensions erode the passion of many ministers, driving them out of the ministry. I have heard that from the time a career pastor begins his ministry to the time he finds another vocation is fourteen years. Such a high attrition rate is alarming when you consider the many years of specialized training that pastors have sacrificed to obtain. Some pastors are out of the ministry before they have paid off their school loans.
I will not attempt to thoroughly analyze such a complex problem in this brief article, nor will I deal with it without a sympathetic heart. My goal is to provide a measure of help to pastors who simply do not like being pastors.
I believe that a big part of the problem is that pastors tend to focus on the negatives of the ministry (and there are many) rather than the positives (and there are many).
Reposted, with permission, from My Two Cents.
I recently finished teaching through Acts 20:17-38, one of the most influential passages in my life and ministry. In Paul’s lecture to the Ephesians elders he provides for us what I call “an inspired philosophy of ministry.” He explains what his ministry looked like, providing a pattern for the church throughout the ages. We need to know this passage well and apply it to our churches intentionally, especially in a day when there are so many competing voices regarding the nature of Christian ministry.
Paul speaks often in this “seminar” of the importance of character and affection (as I noted in this post). He roots spiritual influence both in the leader’s integrity (“you know me” type comments in v. 18-21 and v. 33-35) and relationships (“I wept over you” comments in v. 19 and 31; cp. v. 37-38). But example and engagement are far from sufficient. The genius—the essence—of Christian ministry is the teaching and preaching of Scripture. Paul emphasizes the centrality of the Word in a variety of ways:
Recently I sat down with Pastor Matt Morrell to discuss the challenges of being a young pastor, life in a pastor’s family, the state of Fundamentalism, the role of the Internet and blogs, and other topics. Matt is the new pastor of the historic Fourth Baptist Church of Plymouth, Minnesota. He succeeds Richard V. Clearwaters, Dr. Ernest Pickering, and Dr. Doug McLachlan in that role.
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