What It’s Really Like to be a Pastor

I absolutely love my job. Being a pastor is something I feel like I was created to do. I take so much joy in shepherding people and trying to equip God’s saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:12).

But sometimes I think people have the wrong idea of what being a pastor is like. I remember growing up and thinking about the pastor at the little country church I grew up in. I always thought to myself: “He only has to work like 4 hours a week! What an easy job!”

Now when I think about that, I laugh.

We’ve used this analogy for years at our church, but time and time again when it comes up I am amazed at how true it is. It goes like this:

Being a pastor is like seeing someone poised on the edge of a roof, threatening to jump off.

So, you climb up there with them, and you say “Hey, please don’t jump off of the roof. Please. You’re going to break your leg.”

And they say, “Nuh-uh.”

And you say, “Seriously, you are going to get hurt if you jump. It might look fun, but God didn’t design you to jump off a roof. Look, I’ve got Bible verses that explain how God’s good design for life is for people to not jump off of a roof and get hurt. He is good and has your good in mind–you can trust Him. Remember last time?”

And they teeter on the edge, looking back and forth between you and the ground below them.

And then,  a lot of the time…

They jump.

And they break their leg.

So you exhale, and climb down from the roof.

You walk over to them, bite your lip, and say as nicely as you can muster, with as little “I told you so” possible: “Looks like you’re leg is broken, huh?”

And they say yes. And they cry. Because it does hurt.

And so you bend down and help them up.

You tell them God loves them still, that grace covers a multitude of sins, and that Jesus thankfully fixes broken legs.

I’m sure there’s a better description of what it’s like to be a pastor, but I don’t know it.

And I’m really grateful as well that Jesus is ultimately the senior pastor of his church, who has done this for all of us.

Because even us pastors are not above jumping off a roof now and then.


Add yours →

  1. Tricia-Bill Pfister March 11, 2015 — 7:24 am

    As many times as we might counsel other believers not to jump off the roof, we are also being counseled not to jump off of other roofs and yet we too often jump. Humbling that while pastoral ministry is used by God to help many people and it can be a great sanctifying influence used by God for our growth and Christ-likeness, pastors have not yet arrived at perfection either.

  2. So good, Brandon. I feel the same way in friendship sometimes, though I can only imagine a 24/7 existence of such a job description.

    Keep blessing others on the rooftops and ground. You’re awesome.

  3. Maryly Cushingham March 11, 2015 — 12:29 pm

    Excellent! I can feel the sorrow, frustration, and patient, enduring care (sigh) you express.

    Another good illustration would be children playing in the street. I think of the “Do Not’s” in the Bible like this:
    Because you love your children and want them to be safe, you’ve told them it is dangerous to play in the street and not to do it.
    As time goes on, your kids see other kids playing in the street, observe that they are having fun and as far as they can tell, aren’t getting run over after all.
    And so some of your kids doubt your warnings. They suspect you are overprotective, which results in limiting their fun.
    So some of your kids might join them in the street, carefully at first perhaps, but nevertheless, there they are, putting themselves in harm’s way, ignoring your instructions.
    Some kids find the risk of playing in the street, which they view as slight, appealing. They think they can step on the curb to safety whenever they see or hear a car coming, and therefore safely enjoy playing in the street.
    The younger, smaller, slower, less astute kids are more likely to get run over. They were mistaken to follow the big kids (who were also mistaken) into the street. Blind leading the blind.
    Kids eventually get hurt. Some stop playing in the street, but some continue, just more carefully–maybe setting up a warning system such as a lookout.
    And so the illustration goes on…
    I’ll bet you could do even more with that illustration.

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