Yes, pastors get discouraged. We also get tired...and that often is one major reason we get down and discouraged. We don't want to, like to, or plan to. But we do get discouraged...just like you do!
Ever been asked on some kind of interview..."What's your greatest strength and weakness?" I hate that question! But let me answer it quickly...one of my weaknesses is that I can get discouraged rather easily at times. Yet, one of my strengths is that I get over my discouragement pretty quickly. When I get down, I get back up quickly.
Well, here's what I get discouraged about...
when the sanctuary isn't full.
when God's people come to church without their Bible.
When God's people gossip...sometimes while at church!
when God's people act one way at church and another way
out in the world.
So you see...things discourage me. But I know that God is bigger than those things, and people face the consequences of what they do.
2. I Get Frustrated
I honestly want to make things better. I want to see people's lives and hearts changed. It's a pastor's nature to want to fix people's problems...whatever they are.
But most of the time I can't fix things or make things go away. Again, many struggles and problems we face and deal with are of our own making and doing(though not all are!).
Oh, but I want to! I often tell folks 'that if I could, I would snap my fingers and make their problems disappear.' I really mean that.
But I just can't. God didn't give me the authority or ability.
The pastor's heart wants everything to be good, go well, and be a blessing to people's heart.
3. I Don't Know Everything
Yes...I've been to seminary and I've got the degree. But I'm still not an expert. There is so much to learn about the Bible – the original languages and the biblical history can be overwhelming, just to name a few. Seminary training barely scratches the surface of all there is to know and learn about God and the Bible.
There are times when I'm asked spiritual questions that I can't really answer. My answers will be mostly based on personal interpretation of scripture and even personal opinion. I'd have to be God Himself to answer some questions I'm asked.
There are those that like to put their pastor and staff up on a pedestal. They don't mean to do anything wrong by that – it's just normal. "Pastor's are just perfect and know everything," they say and think.
Believe it or not...I don't know everything. If I don't know the answer I will try and find it. So trust me...I will work to find the most accurate and honest answer.
And always remember, God knows all things.
4. I'm On God's Side
Hey...relax! I'm for you and I'm on your side. I will not take sides in family disagreements, in marriage struggles, or church preference stances. I will be there to help you in any way you might need.
And I will not argue about people's personal preferences...because they're just that – 'preferences.' Jesus didn't die on the cross for personal preferences. He died for TRUTH.
I will always listen to people, to both sides of an issue or story...
But then I will do two(2) things:
1. I will work to minister to folks on both side of a situation or issue.
2. Then I will work to protect the GOOD OF GOD'S CHURCH FIRST!! That's
the only way it can be.
Some may find that offensive. As if I don't really care about people. But it's not. We must protect God's church and the spirit of God's church at all costs. The church is not about any one member, family, or age group. It's about GOD and His CHURCH.
Any time I'm forced to choose...I'm on God's side! What does He tell us in His Word?
5. I Can't Grow A Church Alone
I've never tried to be much of a 'church growth expert.' I can't grow a church. Only God can do that. He just sends us waves of growth according to His sovereignty. Growth is always about what God is doing. In fact, there are times I think that God sends growth only when He knows that we've moved past that, "Look at us! Look what we've done," attitude.
But I do work hard at be a "Church Health Expert." I believe if you make decisions to get healthy as a church, adding things that are godly and positive and removing things that are ungodly and negative, then we are set up much better to be able to accept the growth that God sends us.
Listen...I wish that quality preaching alone could grow a church...but it can't.
I wish quality music alone could grow our church...but it doesn't.
I wish great children's and youth ministry alone would grow a church...but it can't.
I wish a surplus of money would grow a church...but it doesn't.
When we work hard in all those areas, honor the Lord in our efforts, desires, motivations, reach out to those around us, and pray, pray, pray...God in His time and way will bring growth.
Please remember, Bro. E can't bring growth by himself. But together with God's help we can do much for the Kingdom.