Those who are not in vocational ministry may not have a full grasp of what it is really like to be a lead pastor. Right or wrong, people have expectations that are so diverse that if I tried to live up to every one of them I would go bonkers. Consider the following:
- Some people believe I am holier than I could possibly achieve. Others are suspicious, secretly hoping I will fail.
- Some good people sincerely hope that my family and I prosper and are able to enjoy a good standard of living. Others believe that my family and I should barely live above the poverty line.
- Many people will have high expectations of my children – higher than what is reasonable. Some will privately (or publicly) gloat if they fail.
- Some people want to get close to me simply because I am the lead pastor. Others are too nervous to be around me.
- Some people extend genuine love towards me and my family. Others are easily offended, and their love turns to bitter hate over something that is very minor.
- Some shower me with accolades; almost gushing. Many of those same people will leave our church by the end of the year.
- Some of the best friendships I have ever had, I developed while in the ministry as a pastor. These are friendships that will last a lifetime. At the same time, some of the greatest pains I have experienced in broken relationships also occurred while in the ministry, which will also last a lifetime.
- As God blesses the ministry I am involved in, the more negative voices I hear. When it was small and struggling, people had plenty to say then too.
- People are always watching. Many are full of grace. Many are full of judgment.
- No matter how healthy a church is, the children of the pastor feel a different kind of pressure than anyone else’s kids.
It's like living in a fishbowl. Could you do this job?