Ministry is hard, sometimes.
Often, people see the fun things that ministers get to do. They get to visit with families and laugh and play. They get invited to hunt and fish. They get to set their own hours. They eat with people, a lot.
Some people think that preachers only work Sundays and Wednesdays. This is NOT true. Most weeks, ministers work some part of every day. Not because they choose to, but because they are needed, and unless they are deep in the backwoods somewhere, they are reachable. And, because ministers are in it to serve God and others, they say, “Yes!”, even on their days off, and in many ways, they enjoy serving in this way.
But sometimes ministry is hard.
When you live a long way from home, and your loved one is dying, and you have to choose whether or not to go see him before he dies, ministry is hard.
When you invest time upon time into the life of another, only to see them turn from the ways of Jesus, ministry is hard.
When your friend dies, and you are called upon to do his funeral, ministry is hard.
When someone in the community asks you to do a funeral for someone who didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, ministry is hard.
When you show people the ways of the scripture, but they choose to continue in their traditions instead of with freedom in Christ, ministry is hard.
When you watch children spending time with their extended family who lives nearby, while yours only see their extended family during vacation time, ministry is hard.
When your job security is a certain as the emotional state of the church, ministry is hard.
But ministry is fulfilling.
It is wonderful to see lives change. It brings great joy to help others understand the love of Christ in the Scriptures. It is wonderful to have forever family that you can lean on in hard times and in celebratory times. It is great to have the freedom to do ministry when needed and not be confined to an office.
There are many perks to being in full-time ministry, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Pray for your minister. I know this may sound selfish since I’m a minister, but encourage him. Let him know he’s wanted. Let him know his place is secure. Treat him like your brother, and not as an outsider or hired hand. Invite him and his family to lunch or dinner or an outing instead of waiting for him to invite you. Get to know him.
Encourage his family. Often, his wife and kids are left to fend for themselves while he serves everyone else. The preacher’s kid syndrome is real, and many ministers lose their kids to the world because of how the kids grow up seeing the church treat their dad. Let the family of your minister know how valuable they are, not as helpers for the church, but as brothers and sisters who are beloved.
When you treat your minister well, you will find he has renewed strength to soar in the Spirit as he works to serve and teach and lead in the church.
I’m glad to be a minister, working for the LORD, and serving the church and community.