Someone Told Me I Wasn’t a Pastor Anymore

paycheck1Last week, someone informed me that because I no longer received a paycheck from the church, I was no longer a pastor.

And I guess in the broadest sense of things, that’s right.  Katie and I have been searching for the right church for a long time now – and I haven’t received a paycheck from the church during that entire time.  So if receiving a paycheck defines a call….then I guess I am no longer a pastor.

But I happen to believe being a pastor is more about a call and less about a job.

Being a pastor means taking the middle-of-the-night phone calls of despair.  Yep….still do that.

Being a pastor means having hard conversations with people who ‘don’t wanna hear it.’   Check.

Being a pastor means helping folks see Jesus better, understand Him more completely, love Him better.  Ummmm…..yes.

Right now, my paycheck is illusive.  That doesn’t make me a magician.  (Although, sometimes when all the bills are paid, I do wonder if that might be the next career path for me!)

I am a pastor.  And whether or not I ever see another paycheck from a church, I will always be that.  God created me with that heart.  Ministry is NOT just a job….unless it is.  And if it is, I say to you — you know you can make a lot more money with a lot less heart-ache doing something else, right?

If you’re a pastor -BE THAT – in whatever context (and with whatever paycheck) you find yourself.

A Youth Ministry Call or a Youth Ministry Job?

living-a-life-worthy-of-the-calling-650x487Would you sacrifice your calling for a job?

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’ve been unemployed and virtually out of local church youth ministry for two years or so.  You’ve had a few opportunities to speak at camps and retreats, lead a Sunday school class here or there….but mostly, you’re out.

And then let’s just assume that you have kids rounding the bend of their senior year…or various and sundry other high school ‘stages of life.’  And school’s about to start.  And your kids have plenty of leadership positions to accompany their good grades and lifelong friendships to the prom.

And then, again all theoretically, you’ve had churches offering you jobs throughout this two-year process – good churches – with good people – and good pastors.

It can be easy to manufacture a calling where one does not exist.  It can be convenient to explain to God what you can make this one work.  It can be simple (and understandable) to just take the next one that comes along.  But it’s anathema to your calling.

Now let’s get real.

It can be easy to sacrifice your calling for a job….even a job in the field of your calling.  There are some good reasons to hold out for the Right place….

1.  People quit jobs when jobs get difficult.  Have you ever followed the saga of a teenager embarking on a McDonald’s mission?  You need to be fully committed to stay.  Calling helps you do that.  When you’re called, you endure.  The folks you’re heading toward need you to be called.

2. People give more passion to callings.  Sometimes jobs can feel mundane, boring, flat.  But callings make those same feelings bearable.  You need you to be called.

3.  No paycheck can stabilize your household, regardless of its origin.  When you pick a job over a calling, you sacrifice…and not in an admirable way.  And even though your family may enjoy the benefits of your regular income, they lose out in other ways.  Your wife and kids need you to be called.

4.  Usually the Holy Spirit is inextricably entwined in your calling.  When ministry becomes something that can be done without the indescribable, unexplainable touch of God, it’s just become a job.  Jesus needs you to be called.

Wait for what’s right.  Whatever sacrifices you are making in the meantime are hard…and good.  Be called…because ministry has to be more than your job.


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