21 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR PASTOR AND FAMILY
1. He cannot afford the books he just bought to help him serve you better.
2. He has worked over five weeks in a row without a day off several times this year and the only ones who know are his wife and kids.
3. Yes he probably knows all the gossip about you (though he will say he has heard nothing) and loves you like family anyway.
4. He is always on call. If he has been a pastor for five years he has been on call over 40,000 hours.
5. His children, and wife, hate the phone.
6. He has probably visited or received help from the food bank this year.
7. He can’t sleep without some kind of medication.
8. He is probably on or has been on some kind of anti-depressant.
9. He is probably not telling the truth about certain personal theological changes because he’s afraid you will fire him.
10. He and his wife cannot afford childcare and a date at the same time. So they have probably not been alone together for months.
11. He is the loneliest person in the church no matter how many friends he has. He can only allow certain people to become very close to him and if he’s smart it’s not a person in the congregation.
12. He wants to hide after every sermon.
13. His hardest day is Monday (most pastors’ day off).
14. He has performed many weddings, funerals for free and counseling sessions for free. Most of the time, it’s the wealthy and middle class families that don’t pay or pay very little.
15. He wears the same clothes all the time for several years because he cannot afford new ones.
16. His most feared question is "Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?"
17. He loves to hear about your trip to Hawaii unless his wife is around.
18. If he seems defensive a lot, he is probably being attacked a lot.
19. He is human and wrestles with how to reconcile his humanity with your expectations.
20. He knows that most marriage counseling will end in the couple leaving the church.
21. His kids have never heard dad say “maybe tomorrow ” to you like he has said it to them hundreds of times.
Tyler notes that it only took him a few short years of serving in full-time ministry to ascertain just how true these 21 things are. He states that either his own family has experienced them or else he has met other pastors who have had such experiences.
Still, he says, “Realizing that these things are true, all the while being warned of this in seminary and being told stories from those in ministry much longer than I, it is still a hard pill to swallow in knowing these realities for pastors and pastor's families.”
Statistics clearly indicate that the vast majority of people who initially commit to fulltime Christian ministry will not stick with it. And John Bisagno, long time Senior Pastor of the first Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, has estimated that only one in twenty who begin a career in ministry will actually complete it. Little wonder when they face so many obstacles and so much discouragement from the outset.
In light of this, I challenge you to make the current state of professional ministry a matter of personal prayer. More than this, please seek ways to inspire, affirm, and support your Pastor. Something as a little pat on the back, an encouraging note, or even as seemingly insignificant as a passing compliment could make all the difference in his day. And perhaps even in his career!
*SOURCES: Able Baker’s original source article for this is here: http://thinktheology.org/2014/06/26/18-things-you-might-not-have-known-about-your-pa/.
Tyler’s blog can be found here: http://www.tylerjcampbell.com/. His twitter feed is at: https://twitter.com/TylerJCampbell. First Baptist Church of Perry, Florida can be found here: http://www.fbcperryfl.org/.