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The blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below; however, ministry is definitely not easy. Don’t waste your time and money going to seminary or college for pastoral training if you are not prepared for the negative aspects of ministry mentioned below.

Furthermore, always remember that God has called you to love His church, not merely His mature church, but His immature church as well. Moreover, a call to ministry is a call to bleed.

If you enter pastoral ministry…

10. Not everyone will like you.

9. You will make people angry regardless of how godly you handle yourself; it comes with the position.

8. You will feel like a failure often, and when you do appear to succeed, the fruit that is produced cannot be accredited to you. God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Thus, there is little “sense of accomplishment in ministry” that you may be accustomed to in other vocations.

7. You will fight legalism and liberalism, along with laziness, ignorance, tradition and opposition. Yet, your greatest enemy will be your own heart (Jer. 17:9).

6. Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching, teaching or leadership. You will bring people to tears with the same sermon—one in joy, another in anger (I have done this).

5. You will be criticized—rarely to your face and frequently behind your back. This criticism will come from those who love you, those who obviously do not like you, and pastors and Christians who barely know you.

4. You will think about quitting yearly or monthly, if not weekly or even daily.

3. You will be persecuted for preaching the truth, mostly from your brothers and sisters in the pews. You shouldn’t be surprised by the sight of your own blood. You’re a Christian, after all (Matt. 16:24).

2. You will feel very lonely on a consistent basis, feeling like no one truly knows you or cares how you feel, because you do not want to burden your family, and trustworthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the ”super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors literally, you will find it extremely difficult to disclose your deep thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, you will struggle with loneliness.

1. You will probably pastor a church that is barely growing (if at all), is opposed to change, doesn’t pay well, has seen pastors come and go, doesn’t respect the position as Biblically as they should, doesn’t understand what the Bible says a pastor’s or a church’s jobs is, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).

After understanding these realities, do you still want to be a pastor? If so, then God has probably called you to the ministry!



Jared has served in pastoral ministry since 2000. He is the pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is the author of 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. Jared is married to Amber and they have four children. He is a teaching assistant for Bruce Ware at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and a  PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS. You can take Jared's Udemy Course, "How to Enjoy God Through Movies, TV, Music, Books, etc." with this link for 43% off. Engage popular culture with Scripture. Enjoy God through popular culture.

 

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Talk about it...

Dennis Cocks

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Right on target! I have experienced all of these at one time or another. Number 2 is VERY true! I have NO ONE to talk to in the ministry. I do feel all alone. Number 1 also hits home except the pay isn't bad even though I haven't received a raise in about 7 years. Also I started the church so I am the only pastor they've had. But the rest in number 1 are spot on. For Pastor's Appreciation Month the church put in the bulletin that the 13th would be Pastor Appreciation Day, but NOTHING happened. I received two gifts all month. Sorry if I sound like I'm complaining (because I am) but all of this gives credence to the article. And I also know some pious soul is going to rebuke me and say "Shame on you! Your reward is in heaven! You aren't supposed to be discouraged." Well the Word of God says we are to edifiy one another and that includes us as pastors. Also what is Jesus going to say to us (hopefully)? "WELL DONE thou good and faithful servant." If Jesus doesn't think it is wrong to appreciate what we (including all Christians) do, then why is it wrong to expect people to appreciate their pastor? Maybe more would continue in the ministry instead of leaving it in droves as is taking place today. The article is right, if you can't handle all that comes with being a pastor, don't do it. That being said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I could never be satisfied doing anything else. There is much good in ministry. You have to be able to take the bad with the good or you will quit. I am not a quiter! Ok, I'm done ranting, go ahead and tell me how wrong I am.

Jayson Hoagland

commented on Nov 15, 2013

I agree with the whole article Dennis!! Been where I am for several years, except at my church Pastor Appreciation Month wasn't even mentioned. Hold the line, brother, and always remember Who you work for. Better days will come.

Hugo Fries

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Good point Jayson, better days ahead - we can only imagine - I think I put a few pounds during pastor appreciation month - baking upon baking. The "appreciation" culture was very different for me at an earlier church.

Robert Rummel

commented on Nov 15, 2013

You go Dennis...........you need to talk contact me.....rob

Dennis Cocks

commented on Nov 16, 2013

Thanks guys for your encouragement! It is much appreciated! Sounds like most of us are in the same boat (as I already knew was true).

Roger Rayl

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Jared: Your article could not have come at a better time. I'm experiencing just about every one of your 10 points right now. Thank you for this. I'm still here, as long as God wants me to be here.

Dawne Cheyne

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Having spent 40 years in Pastoral Ministry I agree but realise that the Church people are immature and we mature. It is like Dad and Mum being wiser, and more understanding than the Children. However, because the nature of a Pastor is Compassionate and Caring they also feel the pain. A good Colleague in the Ministry to share your heart with really does help....plus telling God

David Emeigh

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Fantastic article! I will print these bullet points as a daily reminder that we play for the coach, not the stands. And let us pray for each other daily.

Bruce Greenwood

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Number 8. (my version) If things go well, God gets the glory. If things go badly, it's my fault!

Robert E. Jeffrey

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Great article! One other point - If you enter pastoral ministry you will have to be extra strong and supportive of your spouse because they will experience many of these things as well.

Lawrence Rae

commented on Nov 15, 2013

I think your first paragraph was most important, because we love God's church the blessings outweigh these other matters, and our suffering brings us intimacy with the Savior.

Dr. Ronald Shultz

commented on Nov 15, 2013

AMEN and AMEN! Excellent article! Indeed, I would have quit long ago if I depended on the warm fuzzies and adulation. Thought about it often, but I am still in the fray just in a different position on the squad right now. Don't know if I will ever pastor again, but I may be better equipped for a pastoral support ministry from my experiences.

Byron Sherman

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Thanks for your strong words of encouragement Jared!

Leonard Cowan

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Every item in this article is the truth. Especially, the statement about having heard these truths and still want to be a pastor, you are probably called to be. I have been in pastoral ministry 45 years this months. I have experienced all ten of the items mentioned. I can only say I am called, because I still choose to stay in until the end.

Jeff Glenn

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Hey Jared, have you been reading my mind? (LOL!) Seriously, thanks so much for your article. I WILL make a copy of it and refer to it...often!

Charles Ingwe

commented on Nov 15, 2013

Jared: This only goes to show that christ will keep talking to us His friends and partners in ministry so as to strengthen us. He has spoken to me through you. I woke up feeling tired and lonely. Tears were forming in my eyes due to pain I have experienced from members that seem to be always trying to frustrate the work of the Lord. My landlord is likely to increase rent as we move towards end of year and currently from my monthly salary of $200, I only remain with $75 as house rent is $125. If there will be an increament on house rent it means that I may end up with maybe $25 and church increasing my allowance seem much unlikely. We have stagnated at around 120 members. My innocent wife at times get frustrated by some ladies who ever learning never come to the full knowledge of christ. I am feeling lonely as many of my leaders seem much committed to their private business in the name of harsh economy. Many times I have sensed a feeling of giving up. But this is what God has called me to and the truth of the matter is that among these members are some faithful ones as well who need tender care. In all this Christ takes the centre stage with almost His entire body completely smashed but still slowly walking towards calvary with an iron will. The " WOUNDED HEALER ". Thanks again Jared.

Neil Uebergang

commented on Nov 15, 2013

The article serves well from Jared and all is true. Charles, I'm interrested in knowing your circumstances as pay goes. With 120 souls in your congregation, why the two hundred a month salary? Is tithing low? Can't they pay anymore? I live in Queensland, Australia and most Pastors recieve a salary of around Au $58,000 plus expenses- ie travel and phone etc and a house free of rent. It is very reasonable.

Pablo Rodríguez

commented on Nov 16, 2013

Charles, my wife and I are in the same situation. I'm from Spain and she's from Guatemala. Both studied in SETECA (a branch of Dallas Seminary in Guatemala) and we were called to serve in Spain. Our congregation promised us that we receive 1000? (1350USD) monthly but the truth is that we are receiving 500? (675USD). We are living BY faith, and we understand that God wants us here. The church is growing up, we were just 27 people when we came and now we are 70 (in 10 months). We give all the glory to our Lord. God bless you brother. Hugs from Spain.

Anthony Collins

commented on Apr 16, 2015

I want to encourage you Charles. In our moments of deepest despair it is then that we are reminded of our calling. This idea that the one who spoke the solar systems, galaxies and universes into existence is the same one that called you and I to pastor. In doing so, He was saying that He had a specific purpose and plan for us to fulfill for Him. And because He called us, He would never allow us to fail in our calling as long as we didn't quit. And how can we quit when it is HE who called us? And so while we may not be called to lead a huge congregation or labor in the lap of ease, I'm so glad that you and I know, that the one that called us is faithful and He will do it. He will cause our effort to be successful to the purpose of our calling in Christ Jesus. I love you in Jesus my brother and I pray the best of the Kingdom for you, your family and your ministry. Let your God arise and His enemies be scattered!

Delroy Bryan

commented on Nov 16, 2013

Thanks Jared. The points shared are so true. Ministry work is truly a special calling. the financial rewards are usually less than secular work, but the eternal reward are beyond our imagination. God will provide and he will not allow us to go hungry or unable to meet our needs.

Michael Sawyer

commented on Nov 16, 2013

You really nailed it on all points. And still, there is nothing I would rather be doing. Thanks Bro.

commented on Nov 17, 2013

Great article. I agree with all the points. After 20 years of pastoring I understand. But I still wonder why God chooses wimps for ministry? I Cor. 1:26-29

Ariel Gilbertson

commented on Nov 18, 2013

My husband and I have been pastoring for almost 16 years. And this is exactly right. You could also add in that your wife will be in the difficult position of being neither hired nor a member that can choose to come and go like everyone else, which adds its own layer of difficulties. I try very hard to be human, though too often people have used that against me. Very often I've been put in the position of door mat or up on a pedestal, and I don't know which is worse. I learned quickly not to put my husband in between if I could help it, because what other job makes you take your wife along? That's kinda a nightmare all by itself. But I absolutely love the job. I love the people and I love ministering when I can, joining them in their sorrows and joys and giving guidance and support if possible. Though I've felt my heart break repeatedly and have cried many hours of tears when I've taken a back seat again, or received another knife in my back, I have never wanted to quit. And when my husband does want to I tell him it's just a low moment and try to remind him of why we do what we do. He's a good pastor.

Keith B

commented on Apr 16, 2015

I've only been a pastor for 3 years and I've seen all of this. I still wouldn't trade it, though. Great article.

Joseph Dumbili

commented on Apr 16, 2015

Very well detailed, but somehow deep inside me the empty pews and looking at the door every time hoping somebody is about to walk inn when many are walking out simply because you confronted sin, have a way of speaking to my weakness. "God is the very one in trial not me" His word that I am believing is being tried my is to follow wherever, however He leads. But Pastoral work in this generation becomes more risky when you are a fresher out of seminary university like me. Barely having anybody to talk to over certain things not written in textbooks but biblically evidence of new creatures. How best can I go on evangelism in a community that not only don't believe in God but have seen churches present strange lifestyles so similar to the unchurched.

Pastor Warren Mcdowell

commented on Apr 17, 2015

Brother Jared, Good, Honest, Sound, and Wisdom Teaching. We truly need more. To God be the Glory. Pastor Warren ,

Mike Provost

commented on Aug 1, 2015

Enjoyed your article. It sounds right to me.

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