Ted was dead serious when he said to me, “How tough can your job be when you only work a few hours on Sunday?”
Without blinking, I replied, “About as tough as Russell Wilson’s job, I guess, since he only works a few hours on Sunday too.”
At the risk of sounding defensive, let me take that chance with the hope of helping you understand a few things about pastors.
Most of us work long hours in preparation for Sunday. Just like a professional athlete who works hard all week to get ready for game day, we invest a lot of time in study, research, prayer, message preparation, and practice. On average, most pastors devote about 15-20 hours each week preparing their talks. Why does this matter to us? Because we recognize the value of teaching the Word and realize eternity is in the balance for many who attend.
Regardless of the size of the church, every pastor invests a great deal of his time in caring for the sheep and the staff or volunteers. I lead a fairly large church, so there’s no way I’m going to be personally available to the thousand or so who call me pastor. But I oversee an amazing team of pastors and staff members (who oversee hundreds of incredible volunteers) who daily support the spiritual growth and health of our church. Equipping the saints (Ephesians 4) and investing in lives takes time.
Some chafe at this reality, but it’s true nonetheless: the church is a business. There are bills to pay, payroll to meet, toilets to fix, and floors to clean. If you’ve ever run a small business, you know about the 1,001 little things that regularly vie for your attention. If you’ve been an executive (CEO, CFO, COO) in a company, you know the daily demands placed upon you. Most pastors, at some level, are the chief-executive-financial-operations officers of the church they lead. You would be shocked to see how many hats most pastors wear.
Oh, did I mention the many extracurricular activities like weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, and a plethora of community events we’re expected to attend? (Okay, maybe I don’t do many bar mitzvahs, but you get the point.)
Our lives are full. Most of the pastors I know work long and hard hours, and they do it with joy. We count it a privilege to function as under-shepherds in service to the Shepherd and His flock.
Or a marriage is healed and renewed . . .
When the disenfranchised is restored . . .
Or a broken soul is made whole . . .
All the sacrifices we’ve made pale in comparison, and we wake up each morning thinking, “This is the greatest job in the world!”
“Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern
for all the churches under my care.”
2 Corinthians 11:28 (NIV)