Over the past few years I have seen a good amount of pastors resign or leave their role in a church or leave the church altogether for a number of reasons. Some have been in pursuit of other careers, some have left after being burned out and/or beaten down, while some have left for other churches. I often hear the word “calling” used by many people who pursue a pastoral position. For the majority of people I have seen leave their pastoral roles at a church there has been a commonality: they had way too much on their plates of their own doing. I believe many pastors become burned out, overburdened and often begin to pursue something else due to the extra work they put on themselves.
Many pastors choose to do extra work whether writing, blogging, speaking, consulting, guest preaching amongst other time consuming options. All of these things can be good. They produce books, conference/seminar messages and lead many churches in new directions. But they are also usually at the risk of a pastor not giving their best to their flock or even worse, their family. When many pastors over commit themselves they begin to have less time for other things. It comes down to what do you value more? Or better question, what is God calling you to value more?
I get the desire to want to write something meaningful or share something really important with a large crowd, but at what cost? Our first ministry is to ourselves. Pastors and all Christians must be first and foremost focusing on their relationship with God and growing that. Next comes family. Your family is your second ministry always. After that is your church, pastor and/or Christians. These 3 things must have the most important places in your life, and if there is room for something else, go for it!
But don’t let it be at the cost of any of these. I have seen too many pastors take on a blog, a book project or many speaking engagements, and over time their church or their family begins to slip. I think it comes down to pride and arrogance. Many want a larger platform. Many want their voice to be heard. Many want to feel important and it stems from pride and arrogance. If you are a pastor your platform is Jesus’ and your message is His message. Your family and your flock are what matters most. Not how many people read your blog or follow you on Twitter. Fight the urge of our society to constantly be busy and constantly be adding more logs to the fire. Focus on your family and your church as that is what matters most. Your calling is to God, to family and to your church.