It doesn’t take long to feel the pressures of being a Senior Pastor. Both the joys and trials have been tremendous. Thankfully I received an arson of advice from my Senior Pastor friends and mentors as I turned the page to this new chapter. After six weeks serving as a Senior Pastor I have distilled a few truths that have been extremely helpful.
1. We are called human beings, not human doings, for a reason. Our identity is better encompassed in our being rather than our doing. In our culture one of the first questions asked in a new relationship is, “What do you do for work?” So much emphasis is laid upon what we do. In Christ, our being always precedes our doing, despite what some would teach or model. We don’t do so that we can be. Our being compels our doing. What we do can fade as quickly as a summer flower and slip from our grasp. Remembering this has been paramount during the honeymoon phase of becoming a senior pastor. People are longing to know what I’ll do. Other pastors are asking me what I’m doing to reach people in the community. Don’t hear me wrong. I spend most my days planning, preparing, and executing ministry, but how easy it has become to forget my primary role of being. Being a son of the most high God. Being a husband. Being a father. Being a shepherd. Before I do anything I have been finding precious moments to pray and ask God to instill my identity in times of rest so I can live out of the overflow of my identity rather than trying to shape my identity through temporary accomplishments.
2. Prayer. Martin Luther said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” When I asked a mentor what he would tell his younger self going into ministry he said, “Pray more. If your work 8 hours pray for at least 1 of them.” Prayer can be an elusive spiritual discipline. Some days it seems like grasping for a fistful of mist, but there is great joy and peace to be had when we simply gaze upon the beauty of God and find our soul satisfied in being in his presence. I am only now cultivating a regular time and rhythm of prayer since moving to Florida. My soul has needed this.
3. Spiritual warfare is painfully real and present within us and outside of us. My leaking toilet, ruptured water heater, mailbox vandalism, and obscene water bill (from leaks) were a small taste of external annoyances. The short wick of my patience with my family and the hunger for human approval have attempted to eat at me from the inside. Sin within will eat away any human. Satan prowls like a lion waiting to devour us one way or the other. Only in Christ and through Christ can we stand strong. A solider would be foolish to enter battle with no armor or weapons at his disposal. We would do well to rest our mind on the Armor of God in Ephesians 6 and learn to fight the good fight with God’s armor and God’s weapons against sin in this life.
All of this aside, being a pastor is a great joy. I am thrilled to share the good news of Jesus week after week. I am overjoyed to see life change through salvation of souls, reconciliation of broken relationships, and vanquished sin in the lives of people. I beseech you, pray for you pastor knowing that he prays for you.