Friday, February 4, 2011

It is Not Enough to Feel Called: You Have to Love It...

In a recent blog post entitled: Things I’ve Learned About the Preaching Life Since I Quit, my friend and esteemed colleague Dan Bouchelle lists 5 things that he has indeed learned since leaving ministry on a church staff six months ago. All of 5 of his insights are excellent, but I am just going to share the first one in this forum.




I am not inclined to whine about my role as a minister (except occasionally on Monday mornings when the adrenalin from the day before crashes.) Dan’s thoughts might help my friends understand me better. Here is the first point on Dan’s list of five: Preaching is really, really hard…


I’ve now had six months in a job that does not have the word preacher, minister, or pastor in the title. It’s been over 7 months since I worked for a church. Since I grew up in a preacher’s family and have served in local church ministry since 1988, this has been a time of great exploration and insight for me. I’ve learned a few things that I suspected but did not know before. They include the following:



Preaching is really really hard. I work hard now--maybe harder than I did before--but it is not as hard on me. The pressure of a preaching ministry is intense and never goes away. You are never off even when you are off. Your life is seamless. Your family, job, church, friends, and every other part of your life are just one interconnected web of sameness. You feel a responsibility for everyone in your church or anyone in your community with a need who calls on you--and they do call. You feel intense pressure to rescue, redeem, care for, and change people you cannot control and who may bail out on you at the drop of a hat. You have a dual relationship to everyone in your life. You are always the preacher as well as whatever else you are to them, and that preacher thing gets in the way. You feel the pressure to prepare messages every week that are entertaining, faithful to the Word, effective, relevant, culturally aware, deep, transformative, and non-controversial. I could go on, but I’m going to start sounding even more like a whiny preacher. But, here is the take home. Pray for your preacher and be thankful anyone is willing to do that job. It’s not enough to feel called if you want to stay in it. You have to love it. –Dan Bouchelle is now the Executive Director of Missions Resource Network.


Why do I love what I do?  There are a myriad of answers to that question. In my next post, I will share one aspect of my role that has been extremely meaningful over the years. It might even be something that we could share in together at some point. Tune into tomorrow for a post entitled: Abandoned but Not Lost…

1 comment:

1 Middle Man said...

Good thoughts, John...I can understand your friend, and what he says is true. Some days are very difficult. I am grateful for what God has brought me to and what He has brought me through. Blessings to you and to him.