[Course 46 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 9
The "Cost" Of Being A Pastor

By Teresa Seputis

There is a big misconception going around that pastors have an easy or "cushy" job, and that they have to work only on Sundays, and then only part of the day. This, of course, is not true.

Pastors wear many hats and probably work much harder than the average person. A pastor has to be a speaker/teacher and has to study and prepare the Sunday sermon. A pastor often has to be a counselor, and to spend time with individuals in need of pastoral counsel/advice. A pastor frequently has to act as an administrator, making financial and administrative decisions about how to run the church. A pastor has to be God's representative to the community and to the city and local government. A pastor needs to remain apprised of current events and of what God is doing spiritually in various places, and to help his congregation interpret current events in light of God's plan and strategies. A pastor needs to be available to people in the congregation to provide individual pastoral care. On any given week, most churches have at least a dozen people who will need individual pastoral care or attention. Pastors have to spend time training and developing their leaders.

In addition, most pastors pray and intercede for their churches and for each person who is a part of that church. This prayer and intercession can be amazingly time consuming. And a pastor needs to maintain his own walk and intimacy with the Lord, maintain his own personal worship, his own devotions and personal time with God.

There are a lot of demands on a pastor that may not be obvious at first glace. Most pastors work very hard in their jobs; most work a lot more than 40 hours a week. In addition to all that, pastors:

Let me discuss these a little. I will develop the first four in this lesson, and will discuss the others in the next lesson.

Servant Of All

Some people see the job of pastor as powerful and glamorous - they influence a lot of people, they are up front, they set policy and run the church, etc. But in reality, a pastor is a servant of all. Pastors have to live and model the Christian walk for their flock. They have to be "all things to all people" to meet people's needs and to care for their charges. They have to watch over the people in their congregation and frequently put other's welfare and needs ahead of their own.

Jesus described it this way in John 13:12-17: "So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.' "

Accountable To Equip And Protect Those In Their Church

A pastor is not just accountable for his own spiritual walk. God also holds the pastor accountable for those He has put in their care. The pastor is responsible to help them grow/mature spiritually and to equip and release them into the ministry God has for them. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says, "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." Pastors teach on and expound Scripture (as well as how to apply the principles in God's word to everyday life) so that their flock will be "trained in righteousness" and "thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Hebrews 13:17 talks about how God holds pastors and spiritual leaders accountable for the development and well-being of their charges. It says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." God holds them accountable whether or not the person they are caring for is cooperative. That is really quite a responsibility.

In fact, when Paul was about to go to Rome for his final journey, he met with the elders of the church in Ephesus. The instructions that he gave the leadership there on pastoring are found in Acts 20:28-32: "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Not Necessarily Adequately Compensated (Financially) For Their Work

This statement pretty much speaks for itself. Sadly, this statement is true for more pastors than it is not true. (Yes, there are some congregations where the pastor fleeces the flock financially for his own gain. But that is the exception, not the general rule. For each pastor you can show me who is in it for the money, I can show you at least ten who are in it to serve God and who make substantial financial sacrifices to serve as a pastor.)

Most pastors work 60 to 80 hours per week and get paid as if they worked 20. For some reason, many people do not value the work that a pastor does. They would be willing to spend $75 per hour to go to a professional counselor or psychologist. But they expect equivalent service free of charge from their pastor and in most cases, the pastor is paid less than the average household income of the people in the church. Why don't they pay him more? In a lot of cases, it is because there is an incorrect mindset that says that the pastor job is not worth a lot of money.

So many pastors often do not get paid very well and have to live simpler lifestyles than they would live if they had a secular job.

Power Struggles

You have probably all seen this at some point in your Christian walk. There is always someone who comes in and thinks he can run the church better than the pastor can. Some try to manipulate the pastor to do things their way. Some have ideas about the direction the church should take and the activities it should be involved in. They assume they can hear God better than the pastor can. They may try to mobilize others in the church to side with them in getting their way.

The simple truth is that the Lord will usually give the vision and direction for the church to the pastor, since he is the one who is accountable before God for that congregation. (If the church is ruled by a governing board instead of by a pastor, then God will usually give the vision/direction for the church to that governing board.) Pastors who have governmental control in their church tend to vary in the amount of decision-making and policy-setting that they involve others in. Some pastors have a leadership style where they take input from everyone in their congregation and where they like to corporately set direction for the church. That is fine if that is how the pastor feels God wants that particular congregation run. Also, some denominations have a governmental structure where the pastor is not the one with authority to make decisions on how the church is run. Some denominations do this through corporate meetings. Some have a governing board that sets policy. Others give the pastor complete leeway in setting policy and making decisions.

I am not suggesting that any form of church government that does not give the pastor complete control is wrong. What I am saying is that there are people out there who will want to control the pastor, and the activities of the church, outside of the legitimate church government. And when that type of person comes around, the pastor usually finds that they try to initiate a power struggle for control in that congregation.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

[Course 46 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index ] [Prev Lesson] [Next Lesson]