Seven Reasons I Love Being A Pastor
October 11, 2014
“And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” –Jeremiah 3:15
Lately I’ve been reading about how being a pastor has become more difficult in the last couple of decades. In our day, churches expect pastors to be visionaries, prophets, prayer warriors, marriage coaches, cutting-edge administrators, fantastic preachers, care-givers, organizers, grief counselors, and unifying leaders. Add to this the fact that most pastors are on call 24/7 at least 50 weeks a year, and you see why more pastors are dropping out of the pastorate than are joining it.
All that being said, I still love my calling. I’m currently in my 36th year as a full-time pastor, and while my experience confirms that this ministry is far more challenging than it was three-and-a-half decades ago, I can’t imagine being or doing anything else. I love it.
John (DMin) with his daughter Laura (MA Theology) after receiving their degrees
Here are seven reasons I love being a pastor. There are more – many more – but I’m sharing just seven, which is a good, biblical number.
The first reason I love being a pastor is that I get to give people certainty. Our culture is suspicious of anyone claiming to have sure answers, and this produces a sense of uncertainty and insecurity in many hearts. What a privilege it is for me not just to acknowledge the questions people have, but rather to give them some solid and certain truths in the doctrines of orthodox Christianity.
The second reason I love being a pastor relates to the first. The solid truth I am privileged to share with folks is not mere human wisdom; it’s the very Word of God. I get to share with folks what God says about things! There is deep joy in being able to just take people to the Scriptures, open them up and say, “Let’s see what God says about this.” God’s Word is powerful and sharp, piercing and convicting, faith-stirring and life-changing. My delight is that I don’t need to defend the Bible, or prop it up, or make it easy to swallow, or re-imagine it; I just need to share it.
A third reason I love being a pastor is that people let me pray with them. I can’t remember how often I’ve been asked to pray for someone when they discover I’m a pastor. And not just in the normal venues, like a hospital room, a doctor’s office, in homes when I visit, or at the church altar. No, I’ve been asked to pray for total strangers in the check-out line, while waiting to get my oil changed, at a party, in a feed lot, and out in a farm field. When people ask me to pray for them, I always say, “Well, let’s just pray right now, okay?” In 35 years, only two people have ever turned me down.
A fourth reason I love being a pastor is that a pastor’s interactions with people are invested by God with His grace and wisdom. Every encounter I have bears the potential to become centered on God’s love and truth. At any moment, someone might say, “Pastor, you know, I’ve been thinking about this issue, and I wonder if what I’ve been thinking lines up with what God says.” And suddenly, a more or less idle conversation is transformed into an appointment with God, and eternal truth breaks in again.
A fifth reason I love being a pastor is that it reminds me daily that everyone around me is an eternal soul Christ died for. Because this is a truth I preach to others, I remind myself of it all the time. I get to live in the reality that God’s Son died for the gal who cleans my teeth, the guy that tunes up my car, the person honking at me at the stoplight, and the man who delivers packages to my house.
A sixth reason I love being a pastor is that what I do for a living is something that will literally last forever. There are only two eternal things on earth: the Word of God, and the souls of people. I have a job at the intersection of both of them. What an honor that is!
The seventh reason I love being a pastor is perhaps the most gratifying. I get to see lives changed through what I do. The couple who came to me on the verge of divorce, now transformed by the gospel into a stable family serving in ministry in our church. The addict, now clean for six years. The woman Christ saved after three suicide attempts. The list of souls formerly bound for hell now headed for heaven and lives formerly trapped in sin now free in Christ is graciously long. I love it.
As I review this list, it strikes me that not one of these seven reasons that I love being a pastor is the exclusive right of the pastorate. Every Christian can live this life. Every Christ-follower can enjoy these privileges. It all depends on who you’re living for. How about you?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the privilege it is to serve you as a shepherd leading your flock closer to You. Give us the courage to live out your example in our lives and in our ministries. Amen.
Rev. Dr. John Roberts
First Baptist Church of Sterling, CO
35 Years of Service as a Pastor