The unfortunate reality is that not all pastors finish well. We hear about the pastors of megachurches who have moral failures but it happens in small churches all the time. The key is not to wait until the pastor is in burnout or is dealing with the consequences of bad choices. Like every other area of life, preventative medicine is the way to go.
Here are four questions that all pastors should be asking themselves.
Why am I Doing What I am Doing?
Being a pastor can be an enjoyable and rewarding career but it is important to reflect on motives. Are you doing it because it can be an “easy” job? Are you doing it because of the rush of having so many people look up to you? Is it something that feeds your ego? Or are you doing it because you feel that God has called you to pastor a congregation?
Am I Sacrificing My Family for Ministry?
While things have changed somewhat, some congregations still respect pastors who work 70-80 hours a week and never see their families. The truth is that you will one day leave your current congregation but family will always be family. You cannot be a good pastor if you are a bad spouse or parent. How do you want people in your congregation to treat their families? Treat yours the same. Lead by example.
Am I Sacrificing My Relationship With God for Ministry?
Pastors spend more time reading the Bible and attending worship services than anyone else. So they must be the most spiritual, right? Unfortunately not. It is difficult to worship at church when you are leading and are thinking about the next thing that you need to do. It is difficult to read the Bible without looking for a possible sermon. Pastors need to work extra hard on their relationship with God.
How Desperate Are You for Your Church to Grow?
It is good to want your church to grow. It is admirable that you are willing to work hard to make that happen. But desperation can be a dangerous thing. First of all, desperation can be a sign that your ego is wrapped too tightly around your ministry. Secondly, desperation can lead to a willingness to compromise if it will provide the results. In the long run, this will be disastrous.
I’m so thankful for all of the faithful and hard working pastors out there. God bless you for what you do. But I encourage you to ask these questions of yourself on a regular basis.