I have pastored for twenty years and I recommend it as one way to serve God. I had an extremely positive experience but there are certain things that people should understand before beginning a career as a pastor.
1. Your family will not have a pastor
This is one of the most important things you must understand. No matter how hard you try, you cannot pastor your family. Even if you are part of a multi-staff church, the others will never be your family’s pastor, even if they are a support.This is one of the highest costs of going into vocational ministry.
2. Not everyone in your congregation will be your friend
I had an overwhelming positive experience with my congregations. But I must tell you that I have enough pastor friends who didn’t, that I have to warn you. There are going to be people in your congregation that will be threatened by you, either by your leadership or perceived challenge to congregational tradition. There may very well be those who will take it upon themselves to have you removed. It happens all to often. Be prepared and come up with a plan on how you will deal with it.
3. It is spiritually and emotionally exhausting.
The tiring part of ministry is not the number of hours. Many congregations will be flexible with your schedule. The tiring part is being the receiving end of everyone’s problems. This is especially true for a solo pastor. They may unload on you five minutes before the service. This is a part of the job. But it also means that you have to find a way to unwind.
4. You do not get a vacation from being a pastor.
Even when you go out of town, your heart and mind is with the people you are pastoring. I have not pastored for two years and I still worry about my last congregation. It is very difficult to get away from the burdens of being a pastor. You definitely cannot do it when you leave the office for the day.
5. There will always be someone who is not happy.
If you did a weekly survey, you would always find that people thought there were too many/too few songs and the sermon was too short/too long. If you try to please everyone, you will burn out quickly. Try to do your best for the congregation as a whole with the gifts that God has given you and let those who are unhappy come to terms with it on their own.
Should you become a pastor? That is between you and God and the Church. But if you do, just be aware that there is more to it than standing behind a pulpit and calling yourself reverend.