I came across the following bit on the Good Guys Wear Black blog, which is an Eastern Orthodox discernment blog. The blog post credited a source that surprised me: a blog that is written by a Baptist minister in Kentucky. Reading the comments on both sites, I see the words are true of wherever one serves in ordained ministry. I also gather that these are words that are seldom if ever taught in seminaries or ordination training but should be for those entering pastoral ministry:
10. Not everyone will like you.
9. You will make people angry regardless how godly you handle yourself; it comes with the position.
8. You will feel like a failure often, and when you do appear to succeed, the fruit that is produced cannot be accredited to you. God alone gives the increase (1 Cor. 3:7). Thus, there is little “sense of accomplishment in ministry” that you may be accustomed to in other vocations.
7. You will fight legalism and liberalism, along with laziness, ignorance, tradition, and opposition. Yet, your greatest enemy will be your own heart (Jer. 17:9).
6. Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching, teaching, or leadership. You will bring people to tears with the same sermon: one in joy, another in anger (I have done this).
5. You will be criticized, rarely to your face, and frequently behind your back. This criticism will come from those that love you, those that obviously do not like you, and pastors and Christians that barely know you.
4. You will think about quitting yearly or monthly, if not weekly or even daily.
3. You will be persecuted for preaching the truth, mostly from your brothers and sisters in the pews. You shouldn’t be surprised by the sight of your own blood. You’re a Christian, after all (Matt. 16:24).
2. You will feel very lonely on a consistent basis, feeling like no one truly knows you or cares how you feel, because you do not want to burden your family, and trust-worthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the ”super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors literally, you will find it extremely difficult to disclose your deep thoughts and feelings to others. Thus, you will struggle with loneliness.
1. You will probably pastor a church that is barely growing (if at all), is opposed to change, doesn’t pay well, has seen pastors come and go, doesn’t respect the position as Biblically as they should, doesn’t understand what the Bible says a pastor’s or a church’s jobs are, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).