Saturday, November 3, 2012

Five Difficult Challenges Pastors Face

  1. Responding graciously to someone right before you preach.  The pastor has put hours into the sermon.  He has prayed for God's power for that moment.  He is focused on God's Word and its proclamation.  All of his energy is devoted to the upcoming moment.  Then someone rushes up and drops a bombshell on him on the way to the pulpit, or hands him a piece of paper and says, "Pastor, you need to announce about the garage sale we're having this week."
  2. Knowing what do with a staff member who is not making a vital contribution to the church.  Many churches will not let leaders make the tough decision of letting a staff member go, even if he is not really productive and obviously an ill fit for the ministry and the church.  Such a move is considered "un-Christian" and will not be tolerated, even if it would ultimately be best for that staff member.  Many pastors have lost their own jobs when they made such a move.  So we often move those persons to innocuous, low-accountability positions, even though we know it is poor stewardship.
  3. Loving a person in the church when that person is your critic.  We want to be Christ-like and love people unconditionally.  I admit that I often saw those people through their critical words instead of seeing them through the eyes of Christ.
  4. Preparing more than one quality sermon a week.  When I was a pastor I had to prepare a Sunday morning sermon, a Sunday evening sermon, and a Wednesday evening Bible message.  Frankly, it took all I had to prepare one good message.  I know many churches no longer have the Sunday evening preaching service, but tens of thousands of pastors still prepare more than one message a week.
  5. Doing the funeral of a person who was not a Christian.  We can always hope the person had a deathbed conversion of which we are not aware.  And we can always preach messages of comfort to the family and friends.  But it is extremely difficult to talk about the deceased if he or she was lost.

[from Rick Warren's Podcast for Pastors and Church Leaders. by Thom S. Rainer]

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