I have been Senior Pastor of Nowra City Church for nearly 14 years. I love it. Before that I was the Pastor of Administration at Citipointe Church Brisbane and before that, Pastor of Administration at Lighthouse Church in Wollongong. So over the 23 years of being a Pastor in various roles – here are my top ten challenges I have found of being a Pastor.
1) Journeying with people and their families through a terminal illness diagnosis’s, treatment and in some (not all) cases, death. This is the same for people who are going through a marriage breakdown, or any large challenge that people go through. My heart breaks for them.
2) Doing a funeral for someone I cared deeply about.
3) Everyone has an opinion on what I as a Pastor should or shouldn’t do, how I should or shouldn’t live (even where I should or shouldn’t holiday), what theology I should or shouldn’t have, what opinions I should or shouldn’t have and what I should or shouldn’t say, or post or tweet. And a lot of people like to share their opinion with me – particularly if I am not living up to their expectation.
4) Crafting a sermon that will feed a Christian that has been in the church 20 years at the same time as feeding a Christian who has been in the church 20 days. Taking into account communication styles that speak to Young Adults, Young Families, Middle Aged People and Older People: all in 25 minutes.
5) I can never really say what I really want to. People at times leave Nowra City Church and can say all manner of things about me or the church – and apparently it is inappropriate to ring them up and tell them what I think of them – or take out a mafia hit on them ( just kidding). Not just ex members – people on Social Media, members of the local community who send me hate letters etc. Apparently the social convention is that anyone can sling as much mud toward me as they want – and I have to just take it. That’s a tough gig.
6) Balancing the demands on my time.
7) Being accused of being “all about money” when my passion for offerings comes out of a genuine heart to impact people’s lives through the resources that are released. (Pastors don’t work on commission – i.e. the bigger the offering the bigger the take home pay that week.)
8) Watching people walk away from God despite our passionate follow up.
9) Operating a church in a increasingly hostile environment.
10) Coming up with a list of 10 Challenges of being a Pastor – when really I only could think of 9.
I am not being negative on Pastoring. I love it. But with any career or calling there are things you love and things that present a challenge. These are the things that present a challenge.
Ps Peter Pilt
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