I know why I became a pastor and I also know why I did not become a pastor.
1) I did not become a pastor so I could ruin people’s lives. It is never my intent to hurt people or make people’s lives worse. My intent is to help. I know a lot of pastors, and the vast, vast majority of them are just trying to help, yet repeatedly pastors are blamed for ruining people’s lives. There are exceptions, there are wolves leading churches who are ruining lives, but the vast majority of pastors are just trying to help.
2) I did not become a pastor to fight the never-ending battle of keeping people happy. I used to. I tried. I really did. I gave up. I’ve seen pastors nearly kill themselves trying to keep people happy. I will probably not change the start time of church, start singing your niche of music, build a building to your liking, or any other whimsical ideal you invent just to keep you coming to church. I’m all for suggestions; I am not for power play politics.
3) I did not become a pastor to raise your kids. Training your kids is your job, not mine. Yes, I can help. I can be their friend. I can be a good example and teacher. But the primary way I can help is to equip you to know the Scripture better so you can raise your kids. It’s your job. If God wanted me to raise your kids, He would have made my wife give birth to them.
4) I did not become a pastor to entertain you. Yes, I am to effectively communicate the Word, but the effective communication method is not to trump the substance of the communication. I am not here to keep people interested–you either want the Word or you don’t. I have yet to find a way to make people want it other than seeing them saved and indwelt with the Spirit. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make em drink.
5) I did not become a pastor to get respect. I do not wear a clerical collar or any special clothing that sets me apart. I do not make people address me with any title. I always try to be last in line at potlucks. I was a janitor before I was a pastor and it was great training–cleaning up people’s messes for little pay, no respect and the occasional complaint as to how I should have cleaned the mess better. I do not want your respect; I want you to know Christ.
6) I did not become a pastor to argue your pet issue. I will discuss anything at any time of day, but when it becomes clear your interest in church is to argue your issue, I will stop playing. I refuse to argue with people who are itching for an argument.
7) I did not become a pastor to make money. I do not look at church as a tool to better my personal financial situation. We don’t even pass an offering plate at my church. I do not do this for your money: I want you to know Christ.
8) I did not become a pastor to make you a better you. Joel Osteen I am not. I do not want you to have your best life now: I want you to know Christ so you can have your best life for eternity. This life stinks. The only person who can honestly say they are having their best life now are people who are going to hell. It’s true, think about it.
9) I did not become a pastor to make friends. I do not view church as a social club where I can make professional contacts and expand my network. I am here to preach the Truth, and I hope this results in our friendship, but if one has to go, I’m sticking with truth.
10) I did not become a pastor to be your daddy. I am not your boss. I am not the guy who tells you what to do. You are to follow Christ to your Heavenly Father and I am to help you get to Him. The road does not end with me. I am merely a minister, a servant, a guy trying to help. I must decrease; He must increase.
When I was in seminary I was told by a counselor viewing my personality test results, “Um, you do not have the personality of a pastor.” Word up. I have received few compliments better than this one.
I may be in the wrong line of work, God will let me know, but this is what I do and this is why I do it.