I have been in vocational ministry for about a decade. I know many of you have done this for several decades and as I listen to advice and read and learn, I find out thing. There is a lot of people who basically say “your job will make you miserable.” I have been taught that you spend 60-80% of your time doing the things you don’t want to do and aren’t not gifted at so you can spend the other 20-40% of the time doing the ministry you feel called to do. People will have unfair expectations, you work hard, you work long and they will still not be happy. People will assume you work an hour a week and wonder why they are paying you so much. High expectations, high stress, a large amount of pressure on your family, on your health and emotional isolation. It’s the norm to be criticized, and no matter what you do, someone will be upset with you.
I think we as pastors often begin to get the martyr complex. Not so much that we think we are, but we begin to think that we have to suffer in order do our jobs correctly. We think we can’t really serve Jesus unless we are suffering. After all, Paul and Peter suffered, they suffer in the countries all over the world. Jesus suffered and died, so I think maybe we think we should suffer. The difference is, every one of those situations the people suffered from the pagan, the government and the outside world. We are experiencing suffering from the church. Our own people are wounding us. Why is this is expectation?
So here are my questions, do you expect to get beat up by your church? Is this the accepted view of vocational ministry? Do you think it’s a cross you have to bear, or is it a symptom of the consumer culture of the modern church? Is there a solution? Can it be and should it be changed?