This is the message that I saw when I read the article, reading between the lines and modifying the words:
(Modified from Article – Frustrating Things that Pastors Do)
I’m pro-pastor, but I’m not blind.
These men (and women) are called of God and assigned some of the most difficult work in the universe, and for the most part they labor well and long and you never hear a complaint out of them. They are special.
Most of them.
The typical pastor (Minister) serves a church running 100 or fewer in attendance, which tells you the offerings are insufficient to provide much of a living for him or her. In some cases they hold down a second job or their spouse works. Or both. Or, most amazing of all, he or she manages to live on what the church can pay. I believe in these individuals. They are my brothers and sisters. My admiration of them knows no bounds.
Most of them.
Here is a list of the 5 most frustrating things pastors do.
FIRST: It’s frustrating to see preachers cut corners on sermon preparation.
In the world I live in, the only time 90 percent of the congregation sees the pastor is on Sunday morning.
From the scant attention given the Sunday sermon by many ministers, from the small study time allotted to its preparation, and from the haphazard delivery of the message during the morning worship service, one would think neither the members nor the minister put a value on the sermon.
(But,) It is the single most important thing the pastor does.
SECOND: It’s frustrating when preachers miss the entire point of what a sermon should be.
The wise minister will tell himself, “The Lord (Our God) has a message for our people next Sunday. He alone knows who is going to be present, and what each person is struggling with. (The wise minister will ask: What message will be most beneficial and help our members as they go out into their world until we meet again?) Therefore, I will go to Him, asking what He would have me preach.”
It’s a great feeling (to know that our words have helped to guide someone in their journey).
THIRD: It’s frustrating to see ministers issue instant assessments on how well the sermon worked today.
When a minister feels like a failure, nothing good results. Often he will adopt one of two extreme measures: he will either throw in the towel, give up and quit, or he will adopt manipulative tactics to get people (to change what they do).
Neither is wise. Both are self-defeating and unworthy.
One could wish every minister knew several critical things about the practice of preaching:
–often, it’s more planting and cultivating than harvesting.
–just because people do not (make) a commitment to the church or to serve (at) the end of your sermon does not mean the message did not do its powerful work or that you did poorly.
–people are complex beings, and build mighty defenses against the work of the Holy Spirit. Destroying those barriers–which the Spirit of God alone can accomplish–takes time.
–you are not the judge of your own effectiveness, not now and not ever.
–and finally, even the Holy Spirit does not manipulate people into decision-making but allows each one to “choose this day whom you will serve,” so neither should you.
FOURTH: It’s frustrating to see ministers ignore the great sermon-building resources the Lord (Our God) has put all around them.
Often we keep our message a secret and do not discuss it with those who are around us. We do not ask for input or suggestions about our subject for the week.
What I’m doing is what I wish someone had done for me as a young pastor: prod my thinking, stir my juices, tell me something on a text I hadn’t thought of, pass along a great story on that subject I might be able to use.
All around the minister are other individuals and pastors. Each one is a mother lode of information and insights, experiences and concerns. Tapping into that resource is as simple as making a phone call: “Bob, do you have a few minutes to meet me for coffee?” And then, in your office or the coffee shop or the fast food restaurant or down at the service station, after you’ve exchanged pleasantries, you say, “Can I pick your brain? I’m preaching Sunday on ____________, ‘Talk to me about that. Anything at all that comes to mind.’”
Have something to write with. Jot down what is said. Take the conversation wherever it goes. Then, at the end, whether that’s 2 minutes or 20, thank him or her and end that portion of the discussion. If you or they need to leave, do so.
Repeat as often as needed. There are (many people willing to talk and listen) in your community.
Oh, and one more thing that is so obvious it should not have to be said, but it does: do not limit yourself to ministers of your denomination. Some of the best insights you’ll ever get will come from men or women of God who did not attend your seminary or any seminary for that matter, but who have devoted themselves to (serving God and Humanity).
Ministers tend to be loners. How self-defeating this is. We do see many who tried it, but rarely with positive results.
FIFTH: It’s frustrating to see ministers constantly frustrated.
A preacher (minister) will see and learn and know what he needs to do to be more effective, but because of a heavy load of administration or pastoral work, he does not have the energy or will or time to change. To make radical changes means adjusting his or her schedule and that frequently requires the support of the ministerial and office team as well as the congregation. That takes time and energy and patience.
Free yourself of the frustrations that hound you. Concentrate your efforts in the areas where you are strongest. There are others who know more than you and are willing to do what you are doing in the other areas of the ministry. This will keep you from spinning your wheels as a result of busy work someone else could be doing and free you up for more profitable ministry.
I have a strong feeling that when we are frustrated by our ineffectiveness, God may be the One who sent us the frustration in the hope that we would take drastic action to rearrange matters in our lives.
No one lacking courage need apply for this work.
You can do this. Stand strong. Trust God. Do right.