There are things that pastors won’t tell you. Things that you don’t want to hear, things that make us more human than you want us to be. There are other blogs that have said things like this before, written by people far more important and far more famous in the churchesphere than I. The things they say are true, but many of them leave out some of the things that we won’t tell you because well yea they just do.
I also realize that I am now telling you dear reader, the things that pastors won’t tell you, meaning you now will know some of the things that we don’t tell you or are afraid to tell you.
I want to be clear about something when it comes to these things we won’t tell you, this is ammunition, plain and simple. This blog all about me getting out the things that are in my mind and heart, pretty much unfiltered, and whenever this happens, whenever someone goes unfiltered they open themselves up. It’s a safe bit that some of these things may be things your pastor won’t tell you. Again I get it ammunition, what you choose to do with what I write and what you read is on you.
Anyway. We won’t tell you…
1. Pastoring is not just a full time job, or vocation. We are constantly in pastor mode, even when we are supposed to not be in pastor mode we are. 40 hours is a joke when you’re a pastor. You are always on call, even when you’re not supposed to be. Sure we will block out time, we will attempt to disconnect for a while, we will even make lip service to taking a break and knowing we need to, but it’s just that, lip service. We are constantly thinking about praying for, and agonizing over the church we serve. Email, phone calls, texts, vision casting, service design, building issues, member growth both spiritually and physically, all of it is always there, it never goes away. You can’t leave it at the office, you can’t just unplug from it. You can set up some walls, and try and cut out space for a life beyond the church but it never really works. When we aren’t pastoring, we’re miserable, and when we are pastoring we are miserable for a whole different set of reasons.
2. Our family suffers. Every time you pick at someone in our family, hold them to a higher standard or say something about them or to them about how disappointed you are or about how the other pastors significant other or kids would never have done or said or been fill in the blank it hurts. Every time we have to say no to some family something because of a church something it builds walls between us and the people we are supposed to put first. What makes I t worse is the massive amount of guilt associated with the suffering our family endures. The worst part is we become accustomed to feelings of guilt, because when we do take time with or for our family, we feel guilty about not being there for the church we have been called by God to serve.
3. We want you to like us. Not our preaching, not the way we dress, not if we can sing or not, and not the things that we do for the church. We want you to like us, and we can tell when you don’t, and when we get that vibe one of two things will happen, we will try extra hard to get you to like us, or we will come up with ways to avoid one on one conversation with you.
4. We look at the service as art. Putting it together, making sure it flows, spending time praying over each element, trying to get the timing down, all of it is art, all of it takes time. Sometimes the work is fridge worthy, sometimes it’s gallery worthy, and sometimes it’s rubbish that needs to be scrapped. The problem is we don’t always know which it will be until we are in the middle of it, so not only do you get to see the gallery and fridge stuff, you also see the crappy pieces that we wish no one could see.
5. Sermons are not just a weekly speech. There is more to preparing a quality sermon than reading a few verses. We know when they tank, in fact we know that they are going to tank when we open our mouth at the beginning of the message, and we feel horrible about that.
6. Sometimes you bother us especially when you hurt the people we love. We won’t tell you this, in fact we will feel really bad for not liking you at any given point, we will agonize over it, pray about it, and figure there is something wrong with us.
7. We worry about your spiritual life, sometimes to the detriment of our own.
8. We want the church to grow more than you do. Every Sunday that attendance shrinks is another punch to the gut telling us that we aren’t good enough, that we aren’t really called, and that we should just get out of this whole pastor thing. The problem is it’s not so easy to just turn off the calling that God has on our life and so we keep working and working and working.
9. Every time you bring up what the other guy did as the way it should be you are telling us that we will never really be your pastor, and that hurts.
10. We are pretty broken people that aren’t allowed to appear broken. We feel like we have to always be on, and when we aren’t on to everyone’s expectations we feel it, know it, and try working harder and longer, all of which is a detriment to our family, but we don’t know how to or are unwilling to stop juggling all the balls that is the church we are called to serve.
11. Titles, committees, and fundraisers are not nearly as important as everyone thinks they are. We do know what we are saying, we want you to know Jesus, we want you to be a part of the church because you Love Jesus more than anything. When you are doing it for any other reason we know this and it hurts because we are obviously not communicating the importance of a personal relationship with God that informs the rest of your life, in a way that helps you see how important it is and makes you want it.
12. We are scared and scarred. Scared to say the things that will hurt your feelings but ultimately help you in your life, and scarred from the times we did so and found out that you could really care less and have decided that we have no real say in your life. Again letting us know we are not your pastor.
There you go 12 things that we won’t tell you.
Now for one thing that is true beyond a shadow of a doubt, at least for me it is. We LOVE you. We LOVE you so much because it’s part of who we are and what we are made to be and what we want to do.