Ever have those days when you think “am I really called for this?” Those days where everyone is a critic and no one is happy with anything you do, the messages seem to fall on deaf ears and people seem more concerned with the lighting and the volume of the music than with what the scripture is says. Have those moments? I am currently not serving in vocational ministry, and it leaves me heart broken some days. I know my calling, and I have shared it on here, so I’m not going to rehash all those things. There is bi-vocational work in my immediate future, and I feel blessed that God’s calling on my life is still so strong, but as I look back on the 12 years I spend in full time vocational ministry, I wonder, is this really what we are called for?
If you serve in Full Time ministry, you probably relate some. I often tell people who are going into the ministry that you spend 60-80% of the time doing the stuff you don’t want to do or feel called to do to spend the other 20-40% of the time to do what you are called to do. When it gets to the point that it become 80% of what you are not called to do and you are not skilled at, the church will then begin to evaluate your performance on that 80% and you will soon be out of a job. Some pastors make it longer than others, but it’s sort of a general rule for ministry. It’s why most guys stay at a church for 3-6 years. It’s why the majority of people who are called into ministry never retire from ministry, they drop out, or too often are forced out.
I guess things aren’t really that different for us as they were for the Apostle Paul. After all, he was kicked out, ran off, forced out, pushed out and even stoned. He found himself making tents to get by. He was rejected, laughed at, forced out, not paid, arrested and eventually beheaded by his critics.
So fellow ministers, some days you may ask yourself, “is this really what I was called for, to be beat up by those I am trying to serve”. The answer is probably “yup”. It’s not always fun, it’s seldom easy and you will be under valued and under appreciated. It’s the reason why so many don’t make it, there is a huge struggle with depression and so many fall into sin. Often, it’s just a form of escape-ism to get away from the stress and the pressure. So what is the answer.
Here is my opinion, being is several situations where I was supported greatly and when I wasn’t supported well at all. First, better find some good friends. Gut level honesty, be yourself with, vent about real life friends. When you are a pastor everyone says they are your friends, but many of them will turn on you pretty quick. Doubtful you will hear from these people ever again once you are no longer at that church. They are your friend at the church, but when you are gone, they will just move on. You need good friends. You need good heroes. These are usually dead guys, guys like Edwards and Owens, most of these guys has trials and persecutions, so they get it and they wrote about it. You also better be sure you know your calling and life mission. I have been in several churches, some para-church ministry and in plenty of transition, but through it all, I know my calling. I feel called to help people find their ministry and serve God in their capacity, where they are. I want to empower people to serve. That’s not always easy when the people expect you to do the work for them, but I am sticking with that calling through everything.
Ministry is hard, there are critics, slanderers, wolves and some who will seek to destroy you for no good reason. There are also a lot of great and wonderful people out there who need someone to help them and to serve them. It’s what we are called for, and to be honest, it often stinks. You will spend nights awake thinking about all the things you have done wrong, all the places you failed and all the people who are lined up to point it out. Press on my brothers and sisters, press on. This is what we are called for.