There has been a big response to my last post about Dallas’ moving to a new job and leaving his current role at Mount Hamilton. Thank-you to everyone who has taken the time to encourage us and join with us in the grief and joy that comes with a season of change.
There have been three questions I have most frequently been asked since making our big announcement. They are, in order of frequency:
- How are YOU doing? (which I wrote about last week)
- Is he going to COMMUTE? (the answer is yes)
- You’re not going anywhere, are you?
To which I answer – no.
While I of course can’t say what plans God has for me in the years to come, I can say that I am confident right now that I am exactly where God wants me. I love this church and I feel honoured to get serve here. I look forward to what God is going to do through Mount Hamilton in the future and am excited that I get to be a small part of that.
As I’ve thought about it more over the last few weeks of being asked this question so many times, I realize that what it also boils down to is something very simple: I love being a pastor.
Let me say it again:
I LOVE BEING A PASTOR.
I feel like this is worth saying twice because I think it often doesn’t get said enough. It’s true that being a pastor can be hard, lonely, and exhausting. I have experienced all of those things. For this reason, I have noticed a real influx in the last few years of blogs and articles with titles like “What Your Pastor Needs You to Know” and “The Five Hardest Things About Being a Pastor.” These types of messages are so important. For a long time, I think pastors didn’t always have a way to share the challenges of their journey and it’s good that we have a way to do that now. I hope that if you have a pastor you’ll take a few minutes to read these types of blogs or articles when you see them.
I also feel like I need to say something that is not said as often. Being a pastor can be, and often is, truly wonderful. Yes, we may work brutal hours, with lots of nights and weekends (after all, we literally work EVERY Sunday!).. Yes, we hear a lot of complaints. Yes, most of what we do people never see and may not appreciate. Yes, we feel like our hearts are constantly full, and we live with the tension of trying to find enough love and grace and time for everyone that needs it. Yes, we let people down – and yes, there will be people that don’t like us and who will spend the rest of their lives feeling like we’ve failed them. It’s hard.
It is joy.
I’ve thought about this, about why I don’t want to leave pastoring this church anytime soon, and I’ve come up with a list. It is my list that I call “Things That Are Super Great About Being a Pastor/ Why I’m Not Leaving.” These are no particular order:
- I get paid to study the Bible and learn about God
Every week part of my JOB is to study and learn more about God’s word and what He is up to. This is such a privilege. Then I get PAID to talk about it for half an hour each Sunday. How can I not be grateful for the grace that I somehow found a job where I’m paid to TALK???
- Dedications, Weddings and Funerals
I have the great honour of being part of some of the most significant moments in people’s lives. I get to hold babies and bless them and remind the family that they are part of the story of God. I get to declare a couple married and journey with them on their life together. It may sound weird to say funerals are a favourite, but they are. No, officiating funerals is not fun, but I cannot explain what a privilege it is to join with a family in helping them say good-bye to their loved one, and to help them see God’s love in one of the hardest season of their lives.
3. Flexible Hours
Yes, my hours are super weird. I work Sundays. I work lots of nights. I get called in the middle of the night sometimes, and lots of times on what is supposed to be my day off. But I am also able to go to my kid’s concerts at school in the middle of the day or jump in to help a friend when I’m needed or move my days off around any time I need to.
- The Lost and Found Bin
For the last few years, guess who has emptied the lost and found bin at our church? ME! That is probably on that list of things pastors do that people don’t see…But you know what else this means? I haven’t bought sunglasses in YEARS!! (*please note that you should tell me if you think I may be wearing your sunglasses and I will give them back).
Getting to baptize someone is so my favourite.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Sometimes you get to the end of a week in ministry and wonder “why do I even do this?” and then you stand in front of the people God has entrusted to you, and one by one you get to say: “Christ’s Body was broken for you. His blood was shed for you.” And you remember: “This is why.”
- The Stories
I get to hear so many amazing stories. I hear sad stories and happy stories, painful stories and stories of redemption. People tell me stories they may not feel like they can tell someone else. And I can always see God in those stories, I surely can.
It often happens slowly, but I get to be a small part of people’s lives’ changing. I have been witness over and over to the transformation that happens when people start to try this whole Jesus thing. I have seen people who are hateful find love and people who have been broken find healing. Oh, I could tell story after story.
- The Laughs
I wish I could tell you how many times I laugh. Most stories I can’t tell you, but I’ll tell you one because this couple has long since passed away so I don’t have to worry about embarrassing them.
Once we went to see an elderly couple because the wife’s sister had just passed away from cancer. As we were talking I asked what type of cancer she had. The wife paused for a minute uncertain, and turned to her husband: “It was the same one you had, right?” “Yes,” same as me,” he said, “Now what was that called?” They paused. After a moment the wife smiled happily: “Testicular!!” she declared. “Yes!” said her husband, “she died of testicular cancer.” They both nodded proudly, happy they had remembered.
We nodded solemnly. “That must have been very hard for her,” we said.
See, that kind of stuff is too good to miss.
- The Love and prayers
I get the gift of much love and many prayers. Now, I know this is not the case for many pastors. Sadly, for too many pastors, their church doesn’t love them well. But I feel well loved through my people. And I know I am prayed for. I know my family and I make it to many more prayer lists than the average person, and we feel all those prayers.
One of the greatest joys of my week is Thursday prayer meeting. Each week at noon we meet to prayer with our staff and a couple of people from our congregation. Most weeks, as it’s hard for people to get out at that time, it’s just one couple that comes to pray. But I am buoyed by those prayers EVERY week. I can’t imagine life without Thursday prayer meeting. And that’s part of my JOB.
So, to answer question, number three: I’m not going anywhere. On the contrary, I’m pretty thrilled you’re letting me stick around. There are too many stories and prayer meetings and communion Sundays to come. How could I miss them? Thanks for having me, MHBC …I’m looking forward to more laughs, more stories, more transformation and more love for all the days God gives me here.