The blessings of ministry far outweigh the realities below; however, ministry is definitely not easy. Don’t waste your time and money going to seminary or college for pastoral training if you are not prepared for the negative aspects of ministry mentioned below.
Furthermore, always remember that God has called you to love His church, not merely His mature church, but His immature church as well. Moreover, a call to ministry is a call to bleed.
If you enter pastoral ministry…
10. Not everyone will like you.
9. You will make people angry regardless of 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 who 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 trustworthy peers are few and far in-between. Because of the ”super-Christian” myth accredited to pastors, 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 is, and will only follow you when they agree with you (thus, they’ll really only follow themselves).
After understanding these realities, do you still want to be a pastor? If so, then God has probably called you to the ministry!
Jared Moore is 32 years of age, and has served in pastoral ministry in a Southern Baptist context for 12 years. He currently pastors New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, KY. He is happily married to Amber and has three children. He has authored one book 10 Sacred Cows in Christianity That Need to Be Tipped. Jared is also a regular contributor at SBC Voices, Servants of Grace, Sermon Central, and Church Leaders, and occasionally writes for Speculative Faith, Credo Magazine, Gospel Husbands, and SBC Focus. I have a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Trinity College of the Bible, an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, an M.Div. in Christian ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), a Th.M. in Systematic Theology (ABT) from SBTS, and I’m currently a PhD Student in Systematic Theology at SBTS.