I’ve been a pastor for the past 24 years – a youth pastor, a worship pastor, a combination of the two, even an interim pastor. But I’ve never been “that guy.”
There are some distinct differences that I’ve noticed in the past 3 months (I’m sure I’ll find a lot more as time goes on). For the sake of my friends who aren’t in a lead/senior pastor role, I thought I’d share my thought on the differences:
1. There is a different level of burden:
In some ways, I feel like a father and see my congregation as my figurative children. I hurt for them when they are in pain. I cheer for them when they do great things. I feel let down when I see them sell their inheritance for a bowl of porridge. While I felt a burden for those in my ministry as a worship pastor, as a lead pastor it’s just… different… bigger… heavier.
2. I feel the increased responsibility:
In the same way that I feel an increased sense of burden, I feel an increased sense of responsibility. Sure… I understand the need for faith, but I also understand the need for personal responsibility. I feel the responsibility for the budget, for the income, for making sure the doors stay open and people get paid. I feel it all.
3. It’s hard to turn it off:
Because of the increased burden and responsibility, I find it hard to turn it off. I think about church stuff all the time. I used to have no problem turning it off. But now, CCF stuff is always lurking around the edges of my consciousness.
4. It’s lonely:
The biggest surprise of all is that it’s lonely being a lead pastor. Part of that is that I’m the new guy in a small town. There are lots of established relationships and relationships take time. But the other side of that coin is that in people’s eyes, I am never not the lead pastor. Because of my role and my immersion in that role, it is hard to build real friendships within the church and it is hard to find time to build relationships outside the church.
Here are some suggestions on how you can support your lead pastor:
1. Pray for them – and tell them about it.
I covet the prayers of anyone who will pray for me. Knowing that people are praying for me is a great comfort.
2. Encourage them – often.
There are times that I feel like a complete fraud. That’s how the evil one comes at me. The older I get, the more intimately aware I am of my humanness and frailty. It is huge when people speak life and courage into my life!
Did I miss anything?