The call to lead God’s church is a beautiful calling just as much as any vocation is, but just like any other profession, it also has its shares of challenges that can be unique and somewhat veiled in the beginning. Church leadership is a daunting task, but not one that cannot be overcome once surrendered to the lordship and power of Jesus Christ.
I’m not an ordained pastor, but for almost four years now, I have been working on a full-time basis training leaders, preaching, counselling, ministering and a lot of other jobs that a pastor would do. The past year, I have also been training a handful of up and coming pastors who are new on the scene and are just as clueless as I once was.
1 Timothy 3:1 says, “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.” And as noble as the call of being a pastor or spiritual leader is, there are things that aren’t really obvious on the onset and some pastors wish they knew. Here are ten things that pastors wish they knew before entering the ministry.
1. Financial struggles can get real, not just because the majority of full-time pastors are underpaid, but because God puts His servants through a special finance test to check their character and faith. There’s no test more daunting yet effective than a finance test.
2. Pastoring a church has more to do with our personal life and testimony than we thought. Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-11 tell us upfront that relationships with wives, kids and friends were a part of the deal, and we should take the hint!
3. Leadership skills are just as or even more important that preaching and teaching skills in many situations.
4. As a pastor, you won’t always have the answers to the problems of the people in your congregation.
5. Working hours can get really crazy and you might have to do a 60-hour work week every now and then.
But it’s not all that bad. There are some sides to the ministry that are way better than we thought they would be.
6. I didn’t know that I could love a church as much as I do now until I started serving on a full-time basis.
7. Being a pastor isn’t necessarily something I carry to my grave if it’s not the will of God. Many pastors and leaders can be served a seasonal call before being called back to the marketplace.
8. I never knew how valuable and crucial the support of church members and volunteers were to ministry and how much I must appreciate them.
9. God never fails to pull through in providing, sustaining and empowering. Though I’m not perfect, He still showers His grace upon me day by day.
10. I never thought ministry could be so adventurous.