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.