21 Maxims for Discouraged Pastors

1. The ministry is hard, exacting work.

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

In 2 Tim. 2:3-6, the apostle Paul compares the work of ministry to three vocations, and all of them involve a goodly amount of sweat — soldiers, athletes, and farmers. The calling of the ministry is not for buttercups, and if buttercups can do it, it isn’t ministry.

I don't remember anything about this in seminary . . .
I don’t remember anything about this in seminary . . .

2. The ministry is sacrificial work.

“Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13).

There are many sacrifices involved, but one of the principal sacrifices is that of reputation. Of course in one sense every pastor needs to have a good reputation with outsiders (1 Tim. 3:7). Every Christian leader needs to be an honorable man, but if you want to be faithful, there is a certain kind of respectability that you might as well kiss goodbye now.

Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “The more prominent you are in Christ’s service, the more certain are you to be the butt of calumny. I have long ago said farewell to my character. I lost it in the earlier days of my ministry by being a little more zealous than suited a slumbering age. And I have never been able to regain it except in the sight of him who judges all the earth, and in the hearts of those who love me for my work’s sake.”

3. The ministry can be thankless work.

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:16–17).

Of course, many ministers receive real gratitude from many of the saints. There are good and godly believers who are most grateful for the ministry that is conducted on their behalf. This is just as it ought to be. They are doing what Scripture requires (1 Tim. 5:17). But there will also be ministry sinkholes, where countless hours go, and where gratitude is rarely in evidence. This is a problem, but it should be their problem, not yours. The ministry is before the Lord, not before man. Let the Lord repay you, let the Lord thank you. Jesus tells us that we should make a point of ministering among those who cannot (or perhaps will not) pay you back. Doing something that elicits gratitude is one kind of blessing. Doing something that elicits no gratitude whatever is another kind of blessing, and in my judgment, it is the greater blessing (Luke 14:12).

4. Events that fulfill these first three maxims are not a sign that something has gone wrong.

When you experience such things, things that every faithful minister of Christ has also experienced, this should be an encouragement to you. You are in the right place. You enlisted in the army. Now you in the front lines and people are shooting at you. This is all part of the point. As my son recently put it, an army might enjoy some tranquil times marching from one battle to another — but the battles are why they are there. The wrong kind of conflict is always to be avoided, but the right kind of conflict is the point.

5. Learn to distinguish weariness from burnout.

“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (1 Thess. 2:9).

When you lay out without taking in, the end result will be burnout. When you take in great nourishment from the Lord, but burn every calorie of it in ministry, you will fall into bed exhausted. That is not a problem. That is what you are supposed to do. But this is not the same thing as fritzing out.

6. Keep your heart. Walk with God. Confess your sins.

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (1 Tim. 4:16).

The gospel is your life, and not an academic or vocational specialty of yours. Don’t lecture on things that have not been your food. Share bread that you are also eating. Encourage the saints to grow while you are also growing. Among all your parishioners, the most important salvation to mind would be your own. As your justification is fully in evidence, as your sanctification grows and is flourishing, you are doing your congregation fundamental good. As the pastor, you are not the boss of the Christians, but rather the lead Christian. You are not the conductor — Christ is that — so learn to think of yourself as the first violinist, doing what all the violinists are doing.

7. Guard your family, and let your family guard you.

“(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Tim. 3:5).

Your central qualifications for ministry are not found in your graduate studies, or in your library, or in the leadership webinars you attend. They are found around the dinner table, in your love for your wife, in kitchen laughter, in your glad sacrifices for your children, and in singing in the car.

8. The Scriptures contain every tool you need for ministry.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17).

The “man of God” here is the minister, and the “good works” referred to are the good works that any minister might be called upon to do. When something blows up in the congregation, and everything about it seems new to you, the first and foremost question should always be, “What does Scripture teach about this, and how can I find out?” Alternative approaches will not be shy about putting themselves forward, and so you must be eager about finding scriptural instruction.

9. Tools you need but don’t know about are no good to anybody.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

A minister must be a Bible reader. He must read the Bible over and over again. He must be steeped in it. Whenever a problem blows up, if you have the confidence that there is a scriptural principle that addresses it, you should also have the confidence that you have handled the tool you need sometime within recent memory.

10. Don’t try to fix problems in counseling that you never address from the pulpit.

“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).

Private instruction, or counseling, is conducted from house to house. You do teach in your pastor’s study, in small group Bible studies, and so on. But what you are doing in those settings is pushing into the corners principles and doctrines that you have already declared from the pulpit. The base coat of your counseling ministry should be what you preach publicly. This — frankly — takes courage. In addition, make sure that you are picking up cues for your preaching from your counseling sessions. If you have three situations of domestic anger, fits of rage, and so on, then there needs to be a sermon series on fits of rage. Preach on the sins that you know are being committed in your congregation, and less on the sins of Hollywood and Washington, D.C.

11. Your flock is in constant danger, and your appointed task is always to be in between them and the danger.

“The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep” (John 10:13).

The point here is to love your people. Courage is a by-product of the love. If you love them, when the danger comes, you won’t have to think about it.

12. Your flock’s loyalty to you will be a function of your loyalty to them.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, ESV).

Don’t waste your time wondering why there is not more loyalty shown to you. Show them what loyalty looks like. You are the pastor — give yourself to them. Model for them what it looks like to give yourself away. Then urge them to imitate you in it. But if you don’t give yourself away, don’t complain that they are not giving themselves away. Don’t complain that they are not imitating you, because they are in fact imitating you.

13. Never use apologies to mollify others. Apologies should of course be offered when God requires it, but never when someone suggests that a token appeasement might work.

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).

Trimmers, patchers, managers, and and other unreliable friends will not hesitate to tell you to lie, if lying might make a problem disappear. They will not think of it as “a lie,” but what it actually is matters. A lie can never be fixed with another lie, not even a flattering one. Any kind of lie, even a peace-making one, will sap the strength of your ministry. We are to speak the truth in love — but it must be the truth.

14. Recruit and train good men to stand with you.

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2).

There are four generations here — Paul’s, Timothy’s, the men he trains, and the men that they train. Christian leadership in the church is in fact corporate, but it is  also personal. This means that the church should be led by a faithful pastor, surrounded and backed up by reliable elders. This is not the same thing as saying that the church should be governed by a committee. We know that the church is not to be effectively governed by a committee because we know that God loves us.

15. Expect betrayals.

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29).

Whenever a work of God begins to advance in the world, the devil first attacks it from outside with persecution. When that doesn’t work, he attacks it from within by means of dissension. God hates those who sow discord among the brethren (Prov. 6:19), but He still uses them nonetheless. It has been my privilege to be able to watch a veritable parade of fools accomplish this kind of great good for the church, over and over again. As a red sky at evening predicts fair weather, so also bitter betrayals are often the prelude to great blessings. Some of the greatest blessings in my life have happened in just this way. What I wouldn’t have wished for anything is now ranked with those things that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Judas helped himself to the Lord’s money. Judas received the  Supper from the Lord’s hand. Judas had his feet washed by the Lord Jesus, and then walked with those washed feet to the rulers of the Jews, and from there to Gethsemane. The result of his machinations was the salvation of the world.

16. Expect betrayals without becoming cynical or bitter.

“And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:20).

The fact that Paul knew that there would be treachery from within the ranks of the elders at Ephesus did not prevent him from “keeping back nothing.” He put it all out there. This made him vulnerable, but it was not a vulnerability that was caused by naivete. It was an obedient vulnerability. Walk in with both eyes open, but also without flinching. So when you trust someone, and they let you down, this does not provide anyone with a scriptural argument for not trusting anyone else.

17. Repeat yourself. Remind. Go over again. Review.

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe” (Phil. 3:1).

The gospel preached rightly is food, not simply information. You don’t ever refuse to have lunch because you already know what a hamburger tastes like. You do in fact know what it tastes like, but that knowledge cannot be chewed and swallowed. Put food on the table for God’s people, and there is no shame in putting the same dish on the table from time to time. The old-timers should love it, and the kids growing up in the church have never had it before. Remind, review, repeat. One of the great sins in Scripture is the sin of forgetting.

18. People sin. If they didn’t sin, they wouldn’t need pastors.

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:28).

Every man who can be presented “perfect in Christ” is also a man who needs to be warned. Men who resent being warned are men who have already neglected too many warnings. Caution the people of God. Warn them carefully. Is there ever a time when you can just let this duty slide? Sure. Look at the calendar, and if it is not “today” then you can skip it just this once (Heb. 3:13).

19. Sin doesn’t make sense. If it made sense, it wouldn’t be sin.

“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4, ESV).

Sin is lawless. Sin rejects sensible boundaries. Sin is therefore incoherent. Sin makes no sense. Do not waste any time trying to figure out the logic of sin. That logic does not exist. Rather, spend your time figuring out how the related lies work.

20. Some of these maxims stand in tension with others.

“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

How do you get a feel for which way to go this time? The way to learn discernment is by constant use. Practice, practice, practice. The way to learn how to apply these maxims in wisdom is to apply them before you have that wisdom. Every  fruitful minister in the history of the world has routinely been in over his head. Trust God and go.

21. Labor for the reward.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” (1 Thess. 2:19).

You do not approach your duties as a disinterested party, or as a block of wood, or a bureaucratic functionary. You should labor with the harvest in mind. But never forget that this harvest is made up of people. What is our hope, our joy, our crown of rejoicing? Is it not you?

And when you have done all, and you stand before your Master — cut, bleeding, grimy, sweating, and breathing hard — you will say that you are an unworthy servant, and only did as you were instructed (Luke 17:10). If that.

And He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23).

Enter into joy.

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Benjamin Bowman
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“Your central qualifications for ministry are not found in your graduate studies, or in your library, or in the leadership webinars you attend. They are found around the dinner table, in your love for your wife, in kitchen laughter, in your glad sacrifices for your children, and in singing in the car.”

Very convicting and well said. God has been teaching me this more and more.

John F. Kennedy
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John F. Kennedy

Not sure this is a good interpretation of 1 Timothy. Seems to me these things are prerequisites; not central qualifications. Except “singing in the car;” pay attention to the road; please.

Benjamin Bowman
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You might be missing the forest for the trees here. Point is, if you are learning all the right things and not doing the right things, you’re not really being a good Pastor.

John F. Kennedy
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John F. Kennedy

I did say that “doing the right things” is a prerequisite, no? Maybe it’s semantics, but it seems to me that calling these things your “central qualifications” goes too far. All husbands/fathers ought to be ruling their homes well. Few are qualified to be pastors.

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

{Note: None of this is to bash the post which I actually appreciated and had good advice but as someone that hears a lot of talks about how rough the pastorate is, I think the following also needs to be said.} As a pastor, can I be the one to tell pastors just to suck it up and quit being so whiny? I always get the sense that pastors think their job is harder than everyone else’s and (as someone who worked in industry for years before entering the ministry) I know first hand that is not true. Guys in… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

As a former full time pastor (I currently serve a small country church) I will disagree. Industry is far easier. Perhaps you’ll call it whining but here is the Reader’s Digest version of my ministry path. What do you tell a seven year old girl when she asks why do people hate daddy and want us to leave? Do you tell her that the church board was really honked off that daddy had the temerity to confront an elder about his public adulterous living? That was church one. Church two. Please don’t talk about sin because it upsets my wife… Read more »

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1 Peter 4:12-14 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoiceinasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Booney, one does not have to be a pastor to suffer as you, or The Word relate. One thought. We are responsible for… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

True. Our mid eastern brethren are truly being put through a fiery trial of the kind we’ve not experienced. Yet the ‘count it all joy’, well, it doesn’t reduce down to three easy steps does it?

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No it does not, more like many hard steps!

2 Corinthians 4
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned;struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Don’t think we could stand the fiery ordeals, if not that “the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”

Hang in there Booney! Amen!

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

BooneCtyBeek, Here are my answers to your comments. Church 1: First, not sure how the 7 year old knows people want the pastor to leave but I do know that in industry (especially as you move up the corporate ladder) there are plenty of people that hate and want you to leave. That same conversation (assuming the kid finds out how people feel) would need to take place there too. Church 2: Guys in industry have to deal with ethical and practical questions all the time. I know people who were forced to put their jobs on the line to… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

“First, not sure how the 7 year old knows people want the pastor to leave…” How about the head of consistory showing up when I’m not home, speaking to my wife and handing her a letter saying there will be a congregational meeting to vote on my (un)employment? How about this young wife dissolving in tears and despair? How about my daughter sitting in the room playing while all this transpires? Let me do a poor imitation of Doug Wilson reasoning. Things – working in industry and working in ministry – being similar does not make them the same or… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

Hi BooneCtyBeek, //How about the head of consistory showing up when I’m not home, speaking to my wife and handing her a letter saying there will be a congregational meeting to vote on my (un)employment? How about this young wife dissolving in tears and despair? How about my daughter sitting in the room playing while all this transpires?// That is a crappy situation and I totally feel for all involved. But you do not think that industry guys lose jobs? You think they never have wives (and kids) who are in tears as a result? //Let me do a poor… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

We will disagree on your point that “pastors (don’t) have this uniquely difficult job.” Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus are sufficient evidence of this. And I worked in secular employment prior to pastoral ministry. I taught high school science and worked in a diagnostic lab. I sold myself to my current employer by telling him if I could teach myself Greek enough to test out of the first two levels before I went to seminary (Westminster East), I could learn building controls. I am the senior tech in our company now. Electrical, mechanical, programming, engineering, project management and other… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

Timothy and Titus say that being an elder requires special traits, skills and characteristics. It does not say that it is any more prone to tribulation or trial. I am glad your secular jobs have been more enjoyable than your ministry job. I have had the opposite experience. As have many others. As far as your last point, I do not consider it a “job like all the rest” but I also do not think that it is a calling that is somehow more difficult than all other callings either. My point throughout is that every role and station we… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

Why do I hear a redux of the Pharisee and Tax Collector in your posts? “Oh God. I am glad I know that life is tough. I am tough, too. I know how to suck it up. I do not whine and complain; not like this broken pastor who makes me ill.” No one has said that pastors are excluded from the trials of life shared by all people; executives, tradesmen, housewives. You have made the charge that “pastors tend to have pity parties assuming that no one in their congregation goes through the same stuff”. Or is there a… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

Hi BooneCtyBeek, I can tell I have hit a nerve with you and I am sorry for that. My post was not intended to be directed at pastors who are in the midst of pain and suffering. Nor was it intended to express disdain for anyone (wizened or no). The statistics for ministers that are often quoted (burn out, moral failure etc) are bad. But they are actually BETTER than the stats for the general population. Pastors actually do better at being cheerful and moral leaders than the congregation does. That is a good thing. We should be happy about… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

Yes, you’ve struck a nerve. No one is condoning whining or complaining. The unique difficulty of those pitiful pastors is based on the “wonderful and privileged role in which they get an opportunity to change the world in a way that few people do”. Who would not give a hearty ‘amen’ to that? Yet as you offer yourself and heart to serve your people, you also open yourself to heartbreak – which is nothing like I’ve experienced in the secular workplace. You speak as one who has had a marvelous ministry, free from the kinds of things I’ve experienced. But… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

So, are the Psalms for pastors only? I have prayed those songs of lament in my life with tears many times but the majority of the time, I have done so for life events that have nothing to do with ministry. I have prayed those over family trouble, health problems, and financial problems – all of those things are things that are not unique to pastors. Stop acting like pastors are the ONLY ones with troubles that require gut wrenching prayers. You seem to confuse me saying that pastors are not the only ones who suffer with me saying that… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

You are a broken record. I don’t think you’ve heard or interacted effectively with what I’ve said. There’s no point in continuing this conversation.

Jane Dunsworth
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Jane Dunsworth

FWIW, I think I get what you’re saying, Boone (if I may call you that.) An ordinary job is not defined by human relationships, though human relationships matter. Pastoring is. I can’t think of a situation in ordinary employment (I hate the term secular employment because my husband is not definitively worldly when he goes to work) where people show up at your home to threaten your job, and gossip in front of your wife and children about your character and your competency, or anything emotionally or spiritually comparable to that. Such a thing might happen in a family business,… Read more »

BooneCtyBeek
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BooneCtyBeek

Thank you for the summary. Yes, that is a large part of what I am saying. And I understand the secular part. Nor am I worldly in my ordinary employment.

For all on the forum, my name is Jeff Singletary. BooneCtyBeek has been a discus moniker for quite a while. In addition to my pastoral and controls work, a friend and I have a sideline beekeeping business RJ Honey in Boone County, Indiana, thus BooneCtyBeek.

Frank E Holmes
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Frank E Holmes

I agree with you Boone Christian comes across rather aggressively and misses the point being made, and the tenure of his language does not seem seasoned with grace.
I wonder how the pastors he claims to have trained have turned out/

Frank E Holmes
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Frank E Holmes

Christian. Being responsible for peoples jobs and physical well being and needs is indeed important, but the Pastor is concerned for the eternal welfare of the flock. Hence Jesus said He handed that care over to Pastors.

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

I find it hilarious that pastors are really arguing they have it worse than other people. I really do.

I think anyone who feels this way should stop be pastor.

Frank E Holmes
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Frank E Holmes

I fully endorse your sentiments brother, I have had many difficult situations to deal with, which would never occur in industry.

J Kluth
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J Kluth

Wow. On one hand I agree that sometimes being “tired” or “burnt out” isn’t unique to ministry. But there are definitely major things that are unique to ministry. Finding encouragement, and solace in the midst of spiritual discouragement is not necessarily a sign of needing to “just suck it up and quit being so whiny.” It seems you’re thinking of the discouragements that are similar between ministry and non-ministry jobs. Some of us are considering the discouragements that are different. The big differences. The frontline differences. The spiritual wear and tear. Some guys do need realize that all work is… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

What I am responding to is the common theme I hear at ordination services, pastor’s conferences, and seminar graduations. Regularly, I hear wizened old ministers warning the young pastors of the hard road they have chosen, quoting statistics on burn out and moral failure. This is what sort of makes me ill. It is not biblical and frankly not true from any sort of practical level either. God is sanctifying all of us (pastors or no) and no one road (e.g. the ministry) is any more likely to experience trial or temptation than another. All Christians experience exhaustion, sadness, burn… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

And I should note that this is one of the things I have always liked about Doug Wilson. He always seems like a pretty cheerful warrior. I imagine these recent controversies may have put discouraged thoughts in his head and probably lead to this blog post (which again, I thought was just fine and helpful).

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

That’s fair as far as it goes, but flattening out the inherent differences isn’t the way to address it.

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

I am not flattening out the differences. Every calling in life is different and the call to ministry is particularly unique (and high and wonderful). But saying that they are different is not the same thing as saying that the ministry is more difficult than living the person who lives in a non-formal ministerial role. If there is a biblical case to say that being a pastor is more stressful than being a Christian with a different function, I have not seen it (feel free to enlighten me). If there is sociological data saying it is more prone to burnout… Read more »

Jane
Member

Sociological data does not account for the fact that one has a higher level of responsibility with eternal significance than the other. But this has been said in several ways by several people so I doubt I’ll convince you now, either.

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

What has not been said is anything remotely like a biblical statement suggesting it is a harder job or more stressful. One man I know has to travel every week for his job. It strains his family and has been crushing to him. It is hard for several reasons, he has had to watch his children grow on Skype. He is tempted with porn and alcohol as he lives in hotels. He gets depressed and lonely as he never is with the same people two days in a row. Would a pastoral ministry (where he could see his wife and… Read more »

Frank E Holmes
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Frank E Holmes

I have to disagree with you Christian, I was in the mining industry for 26 years and have been a pastor for nearly 23 years. I believe the pastorate is the highest of callings, and I love serving the Lord and His people in this ministry, but I along with my son who is also a pastor believe it to be a very much harder than working in industry, where you have no spiritual oversight of people, and have the great responsibility of shepherding the people of God, and have to apply Biblical principles in every area of your life… Read more »

Christian Histo
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Christian Histo

Your experience =/= all experiences. My experience (15 years in industry and 8 years in ministry) has been the opposite. Everyone is different but God tests us all. I am sorry for any pastor who is struggling but DO NOT TAKE YOUR STRUGGLES AND SAY THEY ARE WORSE THAN OTHER PEOPLE’S! It is rude, often untrue, and unbiblical. People in the industrial world are tested by God as much as pastors.

Frank E Holmes
Guest
Frank E Holmes

I’m sorry Christian but that’s a load of rubbish, those of us who have quoted in this article are not complaining or moaning, or whining, or struggling, but merely stating the reality of the experience of long faithful ministry, I was wondering why you only had 8 years in ministry?

Christian Histo
Guest
Christian Histo

Maybe you are not whining but many pastors do. In this comment chain there is a definite idea expressed by multiple people that ministry is more stressful and difficult than other jobs. To answer your question on why 8 years – I became a minister after years in industry. I have loved ministry and it is refreshing and no where near as stressful. Again I should repeat some things I have said multiple times before in this chain: First, I enjoyed the Wilson post and think it is good to encourage discouraged ministers. Second, I know that many ministers are… Read more »

Christopher
Member

“…and have to apply Biblical principles in every area of your life and ministry”
Why would biblical principles be easier to apply to industrial work than to ministry?

Giovanni Maresia
Member
Giovanni Maresia

Perfect timing – to the minute – for a friend of mine. Well done, and thanks.

Scott Underwood
Guest
Scott Underwood

Beautifully true. Thank you pastor.

David Eanes
Guest
David Eanes

Pastor Doug, If the central qualifications are not found in graduate studies, then why does having a graduate degree seem like the primary qualification to church committees searching for a pastor. I mean, everyone wants a formally educated pastor. And it’s not realistic for a man to take on so much debt for and MDiv and then go pastor a small church with a small salary, take care of his family, and pay student loans. No, I think in reality the educational background gets way more attention than the other qualifications most of the time. I like this maxim a… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

Perhaps education is overemphasized, but let’s not fall off the other side of the horse and say that one need not pursue full education.

Pastors who are educated but do not love their family and congregation are certainly noisy gongs and clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13), but pastors who love their families but don’t pursue sufficient knowledge and wisdom will find themselves with shallow roots when a storm comes.

Undereducated pastors and unloving pastors can be equally destructive to the church – it’s just a question of on which side of the road you’re falling into.

David Eanes
Guest
David Eanes

Thank you for adding that. I guess my question comes from personal discouragement. Being formally educated is a gift indeed, and am thankful for the influence and teachings of several well-educated pastors. It wasn’t my intention to say that being formally educated is a disqualification. However, it seems that the reality is that a formal education has more commonly been desired for a pastor than the qualities that Pastor Doug had listed as central.

adad0
Member

Mark 9:37-39 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” 38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” 39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, Most of the guys in the passage above, did not have MDiv’s so to speak. Some were learned… Read more »

Andrew Lohr
Member

I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the elders because I always obey Your precepts–Psalm 119. (I like “The Book of Psalms for Singing” tune for this section. Slightly operatic: “Thy tes-ti-mo-o-nie-ies I con-sul-ult a-and follow Thy commands.”) Not, because I have an M.Div., tho that has its place. Spurgeon was preaching at 20 and refused to be ordained (he did, however, start a college to help preachers of some power get more effective); G. Campbell Morgan was self-taught,as I recall; Martyn Lloyd-Jones had an M.D. not an M.Div.… Read more »

Kevin Bratcher
Guest

The Lord has used uneducated men to preach wisdom, but I think we shouldn’t sit around in uneducated groups waiting for the Holy Spirit to make Spurgeon’s and Lloyd-Jones’s out of us either. Theology exists because God requires the Bible to be taught, and graciously provides the means by which we might understand. Therefore it ought to be studied and well-understood by those who would teach, so that they don’t lovingly lead their flock to some other god who looks related. (Like that “same god” Muslims are apparently worshiping…) It’s not “one or the other” on holiness, love, and education.… Read more »

adad0
Member

“11. Your flock is in constant danger, and your appointed task is always to be in between them and the danger.”

Any self respecting Ram has a nice set of defensive, head knocking horns, mother Ewes can kick up a storm in a pinch as well.

With regard to “danger”, when The Good Shepherd leads a ransomed shepherd, who is backed by a ransomed flock,

“danger” should be nervous.

Even in death, a ransomed shepherd and flock can’t be scattered, by any earthly attack.

There is a fight to take up, but the Good Shepherd has ransomed the war!

(All this, and no MDiv.!)

insanitybytes22
Member

“Every Christian leader needs to be an honorable man, but if you want to
be faithful, there is a certain kind of respectability that you might as
well kiss goodbye now.”

This made me laugh. It’s such good news, kiss your respectability goodbye! The only thing more encouraging is reading that those who lead will be judged more harshly.

Jeffrey Wencel
Guest
Jeffrey Wencel

Good post, Pastor Wilson. And I’m wondering (sorry for dumping this here) if you have the time and inclination to provide some perspective on this post over at DG: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/should-christians-be-encouraged-to-arm-themselves. Merry Christmas!

Jacob Schroeder
Guest
Jacob Schroeder

You may have seen this already, but I thought it was a helpful response: https://calvinistinternational.com/2015/12/23/john-piper-guns-and-civic-responsibility/

PerfectHold
Guest
PerfectHold

Sadly, “the ministry” for many (nearly all?) = spending half the week “preparing” for a couple 45 minute lectures.

And looking forward to getting paid for it.

Jane Dunsworth
Guest
Jane Dunsworth

Goodness yes, how unfortunate that they spend a large amount of time studying how to apply the word of God to specific people as befits their unique gifts and divine calling to do so, because they realize the seriousness of the matter they are entrusted with. I’m not sure what you mean by looking forward to getting paid for it. If you think “nearly all” pastors sit around thinking about the piles they’re going to rake in rather than having their minds on the task Christ has set for them, you need to get out more and meet more pastors.… Read more »

stevechu
Guest
stevechu

Well said. Thank you!

bbrown6
Guest
bbrown6

Thank you.