Yesterday I polished off some thoughts about how everyone wants to be leader, the person on stage, the one who looks like they have authority. This one may sound contradictory, but its about why being a pastor is the most unappealing career in the world for some people.
Being a pastor is no dream job for me. The way churches run these days don’t exactly stack up perks to such a demanding job. About the only appealing aspect to the job is getting paid to go out for coffee five times a day (or at least it seems that’s how often they are leaving the office in an 8 hours stretch), and even then the downfalls arise like the caffeine jitters, which I’m heavily prone to.
A few of my reasons include…
- having to prepare and deliver engaging, fresh lectures every single week that fill 45 minutes of time,
- and also fighting off despair at the sight of dozing listeners,
- constantly having your weekends stolen by weddings (unless you’re in your mid-twenties then weddings are stealing your weekends regardless of your profession),
- the pressure of never being permitted to have one single character flaw,
- never being able to go out for a pint without first checking over your shoulder to scan the room first,
- an endless stream of conferences, meetings and committees,
- having to beg for money in front of a group of people every three months,
- and also having to weave together the biggest guilt trip each time (that tops the last guilt trip the previous quarter),
- the expectation of an amazing and effortless prayer life in spite of a whirlwind schedule,
- the heap of shame I’d lunge on a person anytime I’d slip on their name,
- being evaluated for every dime I spent and being judged the two times a year I buy one new piece of clothing,
Ultimately I think the biggest downfall of being a pastor is that every single thing you do or say is critiqued. You say one thing that someone thinks is apart from orthodoxy (even though there isn’t one universally accepted Christian version of orthodoxy at all) you’re toast. Newsletters and e-mails and angry phone calls spread like summer wildfires and people loose their grace like it was a snake around their neck.
I had started this post well over a month ago, and since then I was turned onto a study released that pastors are more highly prone to obesity and depression, as well as burn out, poverty, divorce and plenty of other wretched things.
The study only solidified that being a pastor sounds terrible. And I think the problem is ourselves – Christians – because we are the ones making it such hell for them. Last week I also wrote briefly about the Rick Warren Twitter scandal, where Pastor Rick wrote something (in 140 letters) that a whole lot of people didn’t like, so therefore they jumped on him like he had just stolen a purse from a little old lady.
So my suggestion is let’s loosen up a little bit and not get into so many boxing matches with each other. There are a lot of fish in the sea, and we’ve got bigger fish to fry.
(Confession: I just wanted to use those totally unrelated expressions together. But it does make sense I think!)
The point of it all – and maybe I’ll have to make this every few weeks – lets dismount from our high horses and rally around love.
Have you ever wanted to be a pastor? Would you agree for the reason(s) I listed that it is a totally unappealing job? How can we change that? Is the job so hard because of the work load and the difficulty of the gospel, or because Christians are outright mean to one another?