March 22, 2013 — 12 Comments

On January 1, 2013, I took on a new role: Lead Pastor.

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?

Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

12 responses to Differences

  1. It is always lonelier at the top, that's when you need friends the most, I mean real friends. You still need a sounding board. I will be praying for you.

  2. Marcella Bingham March 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Pat, I believe that you are doing a great job. I know it is a huge responsibility, but I believe that you can handle it. God brought you here for a reason. Have a great day.

  3. Billy Ferguson March 22, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Pastor Pat, I feel that you and me kinda hit it off right out of the gate. Yea your some California dude and I'm just an Arkansas redneck, but I don't know, there is something, I just feel so right in talking to you. I love it when you tell someone standing around us that we're friends. I really like the way you get into your sermons, you come across so truthful and honest, it's really neat and you have such an easy way, in the way, you preach. I for one [ with my family] am so glad you decided to come to Siloam and uproot your family.
    You and your family are always in my, our, prayers. Your Brother In Christ, Billy Ferguson

    • Billy, I couldn't agree more – you and I have hit it off. What you don't know yet is that I am a redneck at heart. I'm so glad that you are a part of CCF. Thanks for your prayers, bro!

      • Maybe Thats Why We Hit It Off So Well, Now I Will Have To Say "Your Brother In Christ And In Being A Redneck". LOL – Love You Either Way Brother. Billy

  4. Pat, you are in our prayers. God has a perfect plan. I believe when we stray from it, He brings us back. Obviously, you are where God wants you. Hope you find something for stress relief . I've got scooters you could work on! Or flower beds!

  5. Pat, you waited for this call. You heard His word to do nothing when you felt you should and you responded to His word when He called you. As we have heard so often, "you are right where you are supposed to be — right now. His plan is perfect.

  6. aroundlisastable March 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Be encouraged. You are a great leader, friend and encourager. No wonder you "feel" so much already for your flock. They are blessed to have you and God will bless your faithfulness to go with more friends than you ever had in California. Happy Easter to you and your precious family.

  7. Thanks, Lisa! I love reading you blog, mouth watering the whole time.

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