Unsung Heroes: The Preacher

by 8:36 AM 3 comments
What does your preacher do?  Yeah, the guy that preaches sermons nearly every Sunday morning. I say guy not to be exclusionary, but to generalize - it's easier.  Do you think preachers must have it real easy...  preach one day a week (maybe two), show up for some free lunches during the week, pray over a couple of sick people.  Great gig, right?  They're home by  5 or 6 pm every night.  If they're married maybe they have a 3 course meal with the wife and kids before tucking the kids in.  They enjoy a book over a cup of tea, reclined back with feet propped up in house shoes.  Cue reality....

Preachers have a difficult gig - their families have it just as hard.  The Sunday sermon doesn't materialize into neatly typed notes Saturday night.  Most preachers spend weeks, months even, agonizing over every word and verse.  Asking God to help them do the delicate tightrope walk between biblical and relevant, loving and teaching.  Repeat ad nauseam for Sunday night services, mid week services, bible studies, speaking engagements, commencements, weddings, funerals, and so on....  now do that every, single week.  That's a full-time job but that's not all your preacher does.

Now consider the secretary needs preacher to do what?  Which group of people didn't get what they needed?  Graphics for what with a who are needed for which thing?  Missionaries from Mars have landed and need to speak to our leader?  Is this real life!?!?

Ever been in he hospital?  Got a terrifying diagnosis?  Moved a loved one to hospice as they near the end of battle?  Who's one of the first calls to request a visit? Yep, the Pastor.  Is someone about to have major surgery and you'd like someone to pray over them?  Yep, cue the pastor.  It's 2 am and you had a fight with your [insert loved one here] and need spiritual guidance?  Call the pastor, surely he won't mind.  After all, that's his job...  right?

Between meeting required needs (personal hygiene, eating, sleeping, etc.), prepping all those sermons/speeches, and visiting loved ones your pastor is probably also a husband and father.  Now let's do all the above PLUS maintain a marriage.  Not just any marriage - a preacher's marriage.  Because your wife is woken up by the 2 am phone calls too.  She doesn't see you while you're doing your hospital/home visits, maybe she attends the funerals/weddings so she can spend a few more precious minutes with her husband.  Home for dinner every night?  Not hardly!  I bet preacher's wives have gotten really good at setting aside a plate for when her husband finally gets home.  

And the kids?  I mean, everybody knows a preacher's kid is totally out of control and bratty!  What's the deal with preacher's kids?  Oh, you mean the youngsters who've likely spent as much (or more) time at church than at home?  The kids who are sick and tired of Mom and want nothing more than their Daddy's undivided attention... that is when he's not doing services, weddings, funerals, visitations?  Who see their Mommies and Daddies doing the best they can to serve a church congregation who don't recognize, let alone understand, the stress and strain of being the church's "first family"?  You're right, they're the worst.  The Preacher should really do a better job of controlling his kids.  

Meanwhile, when you get down to brass tacks your Preacher, his wife, and their kids need the same things you do.  Biblical teaching and preaching, meaningful friendship and fellowship with people who care about them.  Preachers already have the burden of knowing and praying over the confidential information they have to keep close to the chest.  Ever consider where a Preacher goes when they have something confidential of their own they have to share?

I cannot imagine the difficulty a Preacher, his wife, and their children have developing meaningful friendships with people.  How many times do they vent one totally minimal, ridiculous frustration to someone "safe" and next thing they know everybody knows about it, has an opinion of it, and has blown it way out of proportion?  My guess is 99.99967% of the time.  I'm sure the backlash is enough to make people want to take a vow of silence!  

Guess what the Bible says about preachers: 
James 3:1 - Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  

Great, all the secular pressures aside now the preachers are going to get to eternity and get judged even more harshly than the rest of us - because of the rest of us.  No pressure, Preach!  No pressure..... 

How about Associate Pastors.  Who are they?  Those are the guys you only notice when they don't do their jobs.  Maybe you think they're the JV Team, I mean they obviously don't have what it takes or they'd be head of the church right?  He's only the guy that climbed on the ladder of mythical proportions to change a light bulb only to see his life flash before his eyes when he felt it wobble.  Or when the first freeze hit and a pipe burst in the baptismal and he spent the next 36 hours with plumbers, carpet cleaners and insurance people... yeah those are good times. Plus, the majority people never knew it happened because he did his job and did it well.  If he didn't, you would have been skating on the 3 inches of ice covering the auditorium.  It's a shame he's such a second-string wannabe, huh? He could have been so much more.

Remember when it was too hot/cold in the sanctuary?  Maybe preacher wasn't feeling well and the Associate pastor adjusted things a few degrees so it was bearable for Preacher. Even though everyone complained for months, they knew it had to be done.  Because, oh by the way, Preachers who call out sick better be dying because they only work one day a week.  Sacks of lazy bones.

By the way, those "JV string" pastors are also the ones who are often in charge of organizing, staffing and managing your beloved children and youth ministries, worship team, missions and outreach, and just about every other thing that your lead pastor simply doesn't have the time and resources to handle!

Why did I write all this?  Because preachers of every shape, size, and level of responsibility need to be recognized for what they do.  It's a job full of criticism and condemnation.  Group A people think things should be done this way.  Group B wants them done that way.  Meanwhile no one wants to step up and meet the ministry needs of the church even though everybody knows exactly how it should be done.

Let me say this, lest you get the opinion that I think Preachers can do no wrong.  I've seen first hand the terrible things that happen when a church becomes a victim of a terrible leader.  I think it's because I've seen those things, and I know how badly it can go, that makes me love and respect the Preachers doing everything they can to be the right kind of leader.  Yes, they need to be held accountable.  Yes, the congregation and other church leaders need to ensure the wrong leaders don't do irreparable damage. But our main job needs to be to encourage, support, and uphold our church leaders.  

Guess what the bible says to us about helping our preachers:
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Are you letting your preachers do this with JOY or with GROANING?  Hold yourself accountable.  

I hope that my team of preachers/pastors, past and present, read this and know that I DO notice, I DID notice, and I don't take enough opportunities to thank you.  

Thank you! :)

Jodi @ God Still Speaks

Head Writer

Boy mom of three. Married to the same man since 2002. Former working mom turned stay-at-home mom. I love my faith, family, and coffee.

3 comments:

  1. I love this! Most people don't realize the pastors are still people. Pastors still have bills, they face hardships and trials. They still have moments when it fels like everything is going wrong and feel overwhelmed. They still have deaths in the family & family memebers go roage. The difference is they deal with al of this under a microscope, & many people with big opinions are the ones watching usually. Thank you for blogging this. I am definitely sharing.

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  2. I love this! Most people don't realize the pastors are still people. Pastors still have bills, they face hardships and trials. They still have moments when it fels like everything is going wrong and feel overwhelmed. They still have deaths in the family & family memebers go roage. The difference is they deal with al of this under a microscope, & many people with big opinions are the ones watching usually. Thank you for blogging this. I am definitely sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Jodi & Alisa for posting and re-posting this message. We truly need to keep our pastors in our prayers daily. They are very much under stress, duress and the microscope of all around them. Satan brings so much against the pastors and they need to be lifted up and a hedge of protectioin around them and their families.

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests to made known to God. — Philippians 4:6