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How Hard is Pastoral Ministry

Carl Trueman has helpfully challenged the common discussion of how hard pastoral ministry is. I encourage you to read his post. Is pastoral ministry difficult? Of course. Life is difficult as a sinner in a fallen world. But the problem comes when anyone begins to talk about their life, their setting, their calling as the most difficult.

Here’s my take. When you are talking to young men who want to be pastors, tell them that hardship awaits them. Make sure that reality doesn’t blindside them (though even here some overdo it, such that I have heard young men come out of sessions asking, “Is there any joy in such ministry?” or “Why then does he continue in such a wretched life?”). Be upfront about challenges, but never tell your people or the world in general that pastors have the toughest job. This sounds like “humble brag’ or even an invitation to a pity party. It suggests our eyes are too much on ourselves and not enough on the challenges of those we serve.

Furthermore, saying that any of us have the toughest jobs distracts us from real suffering of fellow believers in other parts of the world- like what is shown in this video below. This gives some perspective.

Let us be real about the challenges we face and the challenges other brothers and sisters face. And, then, let us be even more real about the hope of the gospel which sustains us all.

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