The Best Job Ever

010716 eml flood victims 004

by Greg Alms

Being a pastor is the best  job ever. Yes, that’s right: the best job ever. It may seem surprising when we open our computers and we hear of surveys that measure pastors’ rising discontent and we hear of burnout increasing and pastors resigning or being chased out of the ministry in record numbers.  The job of pastor in a congregation can seem to pastors and those observing them as anything but a great calling.

Note that I did not say that being a pastor is easy. It’s not. It never has been, and it’s not getting any more comfortable. It is a demanding and difficult vocation. We could list the problems and burdens.  Intense emotional situations. Funerals. Conflict. Debt from seminary and college. Low pay. Cultural opposition to Christianity. Heavy workloads. Negative impacts on marriages and families. That is just a small sampling of the challenges. Each pastor could come up with more items to add.

Yet the Office of the Ministry is still the most incredible and rewarding work on earth. Think of what pastors get to do.

  • Be immersed in the Word of God and preach and share that Word day after day.
  • Read the Bible in the original languages, listen to the very voice of the apostles and prophets and communicate the wonders of the good news that the Scriptures contains. What an amazing opportunity!
  •  Share the faith with non-Christians and watch as the Holy Spirit brings faith to an unbelieving heart.
  • Teach and form Christians, young and old, and lead them to see and understand the truths of the Christian faith. What a wonder!
  • Give the Lord’s Supper, the very body and blood of Jesus, to people whose joys and burdens you know.
  • Baptize babies and witness God usher them into the kingdom.
  • Be present at the death of God’s saints and to pray and point to the resurrection.
  • Walk with fellow Christians through times of pain and grief, joy and blessing. That is an enormous honor and a humbling thing.

Pastors are not called to comfortable or easy lives. There is not a lot of money in the ministry. Many days (or weeks or months) can be continually arduous and painful. Results are mostly hidden. But the work that pastors do is so important and valuable that there comes with the daily work a sense of profound joy and gratitude. Being a pastor is the best job ever.

The Rev. Paul Gregory Alms is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Catawba, N.C.

, ,

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

6 Responses to The Best Job Ever

  1. Steven MacDougall (CTS 92) May 4, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    Agreed. I loved my work with my congregation and the people young and old in whose life I was honored to bring the Gospel to bear. I miss it, but am thankful for the time the Lord gave me. Thank you, Greg, for reminding me of it.

  2. E.B. Holschuh May 4, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    This is what God has been telling me as I prepare to go to Ft. Wayne! I know being a pastor is not easy, but I smiled inside and out as I read through your list of “what pastors get to do”… Thanks!

  3. Mark W Love (CTS 92) May 4, 2016 at 10:38 am #

    Great truths Pastor Alms, thank you!!! To be a pastor is to be daily confronted by my nothingness according to the Word, the world, even the congregation and myself, and yet be given so much of everything that is Christ our Lord, that He overcomes all that is me and accomplishes for me and for those I serve, His good and gracious will. It is to not be the miracle of God’s grace but to be the recipient and distributor of it. Thanks be to our Lord for His gracious sufficiency and the privilege of being a small part of His ministry.

  4. May 6, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    As a parishioner at Redeemer Lutheran Church where Pastor Alms is our Pastor, I can vouch for the truth in his words. Shepherding ME is not an easy thing. I am a sheep. I recognize my Shepherd’s voice, but I am prone to stray and forget God’s faithfulness and grace. As a retired Postal Worker, I am hard pressed to say my job was “The Best Job Ever”, although it was a very good job. However, Pastor Alms lives his vocation with sincerity, perseverance, and dedication. His enthusiasm for The Word of God and for helping us sheep understand it is a blessed joy. His Pastoral leadership makes my current vocation “The Best Job Ever” – a sheep among many at Redeemer Lutheran Church. I know I speak for us all – thank you Pastor Alms!

  5. May 7, 2016 at 8:40 am #

    The age of the worker/priest is at hand! You need to be prepared to work a secular job to make ends meet. If you think you will make it on one income, you are completely wrong! If your wife has a professional job, consider yourself blessed. I am a worker/priest and I have no regrets. Its nice to be able to go into a restaurant and not have to look at the prices on the menu. Its nice to be able to give my family a nice vacation. Its nice to be able to live in a wonderful home, drive a newer car, pay for my children’s college, etc. It is not the seminary’s job or the church’s job to provide you with a call. This is not church social welfare. No one is responsible for your career, but you. I have been ordained 20 years. The church has been a huge blessing, but ministry is still spelled W-O-R-K. Make sure your eyes wide open when you graduate. Don’t live in Jesus Mamby Pamby land. Gird yourself with reality, because I will serve you and your family well!

  6. Padre Dave Poedel May 15, 2016 at 11:41 am #

    The military used to advertise itself as “the best job you will ever love”. I have been in the military, and I loved my job as an Emergency Medical Services Specialist and, indeed, turned it into a civilian career. All along, though, there was a tugging my heart, a tugging that began at age 7 in a Polish-American parish in Milwaukee, to be a priest. By God’s grace, I became a Lutheran before realizing that Calling and served the Church for 27 years as a worker/priest. I taught full-time and served my struggling parish and enjoyed much of my service. God had in mind for me to take congregations about to die and resuscitate them with Word and Sacrament and LOVE! Again, by God’s grace both congregations I served are still alive and much healthier. It certainly wasn’t easy having my life split along with a challenging family life, but, again, by God’s grace He got me through it. I retired this year and painfully miss the altar and pulpit, but God continues to grace me with being able to guest preach/preside in my city, often 2-3 weekends a month. I now get to be a sounding board and support for my own Pastor as he labors full-time in the mission field. I may be retired, but by God’s grace I am still a Pastor, and will be until the day He calls me home! Praise God!

LCMS News & Information