Every pastor has asked this question on more than one occasion. Sadly, many have concluded “No,” according to recent studies on attrition from the ministry. Approximately 18,000 are leaving the ministry every year never to return. Another study revealed that at any given time approximately 50% of active pastors say they are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they had another way of making a living. Thankfully, that discouragement does not remain with most of them. However, the question, should I be a pastor, lingers in their minds.
Maybe the question could better be framed as, “Why should I be a pastor?” It sure isn’t because of the pay or the certainty of a promotion to a larger church with its status and perks. It certainly isn’t because there are no problems, pressures, opposition, or conflicts in pastoral ministry. In fact these often dominate our days, consuming significant amounts of time and energy.
There are many good answers to this question, but the most fundamental reason for being a pastor is that you know God has called you to this vocation. For you it is not a job, as it is for some, it is your calling and role in the body of Christ. Only the most extreme of circumstances could ever force you out of the ministry, and then only for as long as those circumstances ruled.
What is it about being called to be a pastor that keeps you hanging in there? Certainly the knowledge that God has called you keeps you there, but what is it about the role itself that makes being a pastor so satisfying and fulfilling even in the face of the hardships, struggles, obstacles, and opposition? Wrestle with this question and in my blog next week we’ll seek to answer it as it should be answered.