The Painful Truth About Being a Pastor

Church PewsI have been a pastor for over twenty years. I enjoy it and I’m thankful that this is my career. However, there is a truth about being a pastor that I just can’t shake.

When I look at the sanctuary on a Sunday morning and see more people than expected, I feel on top of the world. When I look at the sanctuary on a Sunday morning and see less people than expected, I feel down in the dumps.

I need to make clear that I understand the way things really are. I know that what is important is not the number of people in the pews. I also know that the measure of a church is now less attendance on Sundays than it is the size of ministry footprint in the community.

I understand that regular attendance for many Christians is no longer weekly but monthly. That happens in most churches.

I also know that increased numbers are not a measure of my skill as a pastor, nor are decreased numbers a measure of my lack of skill.

I know that some Sundays everyone shows up at once and visitors just happen to come. I know that some Sundays many people are away or are sick or just don’t like the weather.

I know all of these things and yes when the numbers are up, my heart beats a bit faster and when the numbers are down, my head hangs a little lower.

I don’t think knowing the facts changes the emotional reaction. But at the same time, it is important to be self-aware about these responses.

One final point: Don’t ever resign on a Monday. One bad Sunday is not a good reason to leave a congregation.

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