by Kevin T. Bauder
When I accepted my first senior pastorate, I thought that I had no illusions about ministry. I had grown up in a pastor’s home, been through four years of Bible college (which took me six years to finish), completed four years of seminary (M.Div. and Th.M.), served in an interim pastorate, worked as a pastor of youth and music for two years, and taught Greek and theology in a Bible college for two years. I thought that I knew what I was getting into.
I was wrong.
Within a month, I felt completely overwhelmed. I had no idea that pastoral ministry involves constantly juggling a dozen time bombs, any one of which has the potential to destroy the church. I had no clue about the depth to which depravity has affected the lives of Baptist church members or about the horrendous moral and spiritual problems that I would be forced to confront. I had no way of guessing how petty and vituperative God’s dear children could be.
I was not ready.
Of course, most of ministry was not the “bad stuff.” Most of it was very, very good and tremendously fulfilling. The church to which I was called was not a bad church—it was just an ordinary one, with all the usual quirks and foibles.
But I didn’t know that.