This was a question recently I saw on Twitter. The answers were interesting as I saw what people said. Here are a few that I have found.
- – People think they are giving good advice and have no clue what it is like to be in a pastoral role.
- – Meetings with endless talk and no action.
- – Complaints about the most insignificant matters.
- – The regular feeling of failure or falling short.
- – Unrealistic expectations, the pastor can never have a bad day or struggle.
- – Personal agendas & power-hungry leaders within the church.
- – Meeting that don’t glorify Jesus and lead nowhere.
- – A consumeristic form of church culture.
- – People who major on minors.
- – The fatigue that comes with always having a target on your back.
- – Being held accountable to lead while not given authority to lead.
- – Having to spend so much time running the “business” of the church that you don’t have enough time to “minister” to the church.
- – Trying to find a balance between being the loving, available pastor I want to be, but also setting up proper boundaries to protect my heart.
- – Feeling insufficient and unable to meet all the needs in my congregation.
- – How little I actually get to disciple people as Jesus did.
- – Getting all sorts of Twitter advice from “expert”/celebrity pastors.
- – Feeling guilty for not “checking” on everyone in the church.
- – When disunity (not disagreement) creeps into the leadership team.
- – It’s 24/7 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Even on days off and vacations, you carry the vision.
- – That there is no clear beginning and end to the work…..unlike teaching or coaching.
- – Waiting to be accepted as the pastor. Until the past is forgotten, the new pastor is just the bearer of unwanted change.
I believe all these are true and can sympathize with and echo many of the concerns of the pastors.
Before I give you my answer to, “What do you like least about ministry?” Let me begin with the joy of ministry, by answering the question, “What do you like most about ministry?”
What Do You Like Most About the Ministry?
It is the people. My greatest joy in ministry is the people.
When people for the first time come to saving faith and give their life to Jesus and experience the glorious, good news of the gospel.
When people stand before a congregation and give a testimony of praise to God for His good work and by profession of their faith, enter the baptismal water and are baptized and added to the church.
When people by gospel conviction have driven out fear and courageously have a real gospel conversation with neighbors and friends pleading for repentance unto salvation.
When people are passionate about the good news and have a humble teachable heart and are learning to live, love, and lead more like Jesus!
When people who are united in prayer and harmony are evident as Spirit-filled godly Christ-like examples. “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Ps 133:1).
When people get to sit next to over coffee and the opportunity to be able to disciple and grow into becoming a disciple-maker. “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:2).
When people are open and transparent and begin to share a concern in a god-honoring way that leads to true healing in Christ. “Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret” (2 Cor 7:10).
When people follow God’s radical call and are sent to the mission field to be obedient followers of Christ by risking it all for the nations. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:2).
When people seek further counsel and at whatever cost go to a bible college and seminary to be further equipped to serve the local church.
When people see a tremendous need in the community and prayerfully and sacrificially send out church planters for the glory of God.
When people are desperate and listening to the preaching of God’s Word and being led by the Holy Spirit and being transformed into more the likeness of Christ.
Then, What Do you Like Least About Ministry?
It is the people. My greatest grief in ministry is the people.
When people need to be corrected and they don’t want to be corrected.
When people leave the church and only find out from someone else in the church.
When people instead go the route (which is not biblical) being talked about…instead of being talked to.
When people you have come to dearly love, the ones who have grown close they in turn betray you.
When people are more concerned about being right than concerned for the oneness and unity of the body.
When people are very pleasant and nice until they don’t get their way. Then all hell is loose on earth.
When people fight and gossip like a ferocious bear by tearing, biting, and devouring one another.
When people who are now should be mature Christians yet are instead behaving childishly (immaturely).
When people in the church are NOT acting like Christ yet refuse to heed the warnings from leaders.
When people have a critical spirit (prideful and arrogant) rather than a critical mind (humble and constructive).
When people are more concerned (offer) complaints and criticism rather than partnering in prayer and reaching the community themselves.
The Joy of Ministry Outweighs the Valleys of Ministry.
Yes, I get it. I am human too. I am a pastor myself. Been there done that, got the T-shirt. I get tired of the backstabbing that happens on sideline talks. The constantly broken friendships.
However, all the answers above are true, yet, what a great joy ministry is, and I wouldn’t personally exchange it for anything. It is a calling that I don’t want to ignore that is from God alone. Even being in the ministry for more than a decade as a vocational position, I would do it for free.
Therefore, keep on pastoring. Don’t give up. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)
Pastoring is challenging in difficult times so embrace the joy of Christ. (1 Thess 5:16,18).
Pastoring is a great privilege, and one should take great pride in doing so (Acts 5:41).
Pastoring is hard with very, very few friendships. But God gives you a brother that sticks closer than a brother that you can trust in other than my wife, a person that is trustworthy and safe.
Pastoring can be very lonesome, painful, and filled with sorrow. You will be misunderstood often, and wrongly accused; tiredness will overbear your sleep schedule. However, it is the most rewarding work on the planet.