I’m writing this for me. No one else. For those of you who might read this? I’m okay. If anything this is my attempt at rebooting. I’m writing from a dozen plus years of pastoral ministry experience. Honestly? I’m writing from a place of brokenness. I’m writing from the trenches.
Over the years, I’ve made some lifelong friends as a pastor. I’ve also lost some friends along the way. Most likely have made some people mad and have disappointed some people too. When it comes to pastoral ministry, the pastor isn’t perfect. Pastors make mistakes. I own my share of mistakes. Some of them have hurt. As for decisions I’ve made in my ministry over the years?Some I have no regrets making. Others, I wish I could have a do-over. If only there was a reset button.
Honestly? Over the years, I’ve been beaten up, bruised, kicked around, and it hurts. Yes, it hurts. My heart hurts. It’s not the scary kind of hurt. I’m not going to jump off a bridge. I’m not super angry either. Okay, maybe just a little. If anything I’m just sad. It’s what every minister is afraid to talk about. There’s no place in the church for the pastor to be sad. It’s the 21st century and there’s nowhere for the pastor to be sad in the church. Nowhere.
It’s true. I’ve officiated funerals, memorial services, counseled hurting people, have sat in emergency rooms in the middle of the night, watched people breathe their last breath, have played the role of conflict mediator, social worker, and drug and alcohol counselor. I’ve sat in courtrooms, listened to sentences handed down by judges, and have watched people’s loved ones being taken away in handcuffs. I’ve helped people when they’ve been hungry, homeless, and needed me to just simply listen. I’ve done a whole lot of listening. Sometimes, I think people forget the burdens pastors carry at the end of the day and into the night and I think sometimes people think it’s easy just to leave everything at the office. Sometimes it’s not that easy. Pastors sometimes experience real pain and sadness.
The reality is that ministry sometimes just sucks. It’s messy work and yes sometimes being a pastor isn’t the easiest call to receive either from God. Sometimes, it’s lonely work too.
At the end of the day, I’ve decided that when God calls you to something and if by chance, you say yes, you’re saying yes to the possibility of God disrupting your life. I said it. God will disrupt your life. God has disrupted my life and I know God will disrupt it again. By the way? Don’t forget that when the pastor’s life is disrupted, the pastor’s family is disrupted too. I bet they have some stories. I’m so thankful for them, their patience, and most of all their resilience. It’s divine resilience.
Has God disrupted my life? Yes. Would I say yes again and do it all over again? Most definitely. I’m still standing.
I’ll say it again. Ministry sometimes sucks.
Would I ever do anything else?
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT) “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”