Appreciate Our Pastors

I have worked many jobs. I’ve labored in factories, built fences on the frozen high plains, cleared forests with a chainsaw, sold motorcycle boots for commission, scooped ice cream, owned small businesses, been the president of a poorly funded nonprofit organization, spent 13 years as a soldier, written five historical novels and hunted child traffickers in Latin America.

Without a doubt, pastoral ministry was the most difficult of all of those jobs. In fact, even after growing up in a church ministry home I could only do it for three years as a job before I was fully burnt out, angry at Christians and church life in general. That is something I still seek God’s grace and covering for. So when I see people rage and rail against their pastor or pastors in general, I have to pray for patience.

As a pastor’s kid, I remember the late nights my father came home after church meetings where people accused him of everything under the sun (passive aggressively, of course). I remember being told by a church member that it was unfortunate that their tithing was going to getting us school clothes. As a staff pastor, I sat in front of many more complaints than compliments. The job is lonely, pressure-filled, and brutal on a family. Harsh personal criticism is constant. Yes, it comes with the territory. Yes, a pastor is called to a higher degree of accountability. No one is more aware of that than him. There have been and will continue to be terrible pastors. 

All of that being said, please have grace for him. Please pray for him. Before you rake him over the coals, remember that you have never walked that path. Many can stand under a spotlight and soak up the adoration of hundreds or thousands. Few have the backbone to prepare all week to preach to only a dozen. If he is faithfully serving you, he is a warrior worthy of respect.