Pressures for Pastors

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

This post is by no means a self-serving advertisement, an invitation for praise or a cry for help. It is dedicated to all my friends and colleagues who have embraced this wonderful vocation and hopefully inspiration to pray for us all.

We are ordinary in so many ways and the heroes of today are often elsewhere. But pastors in a time of crisis are among the few left standing in that frontline.

We are not special but we are pretty unique and here is a personal window into how this is all playing out right now for me. Maybe this will be a reminder of the familiar or an inspiring discovery. Whatever it is for you — please pray for us — along with the many who are ‘stretched’ these days.

Being wired — being online almost all the time through a myriad of means: Zoom, Messenger, Whatsapp, Facebook Groups and email — there is no hiding. People know you ARE at home and they should get hold of you.
Pray for good rest, detoxing Sabbaths and smart schedules.

Personal circumstances — some leaders have children that are being homeschooled, some are single, some are looking after elderly parents — this is tough. Extroverts long for other contact and introverts just want to hide. Pray for patience, love, and encouragement.

Future anxiety — many leaders ask the question: will I still have a job afterward as many of their congregants are unsure about their own jobs. What will the church look like after we get out of this? Will people have drifted away and lost interest? Will they engage less physically when they have their Zooms and Whatsapp groups? Pray for peace and provision.

Virtual pastoring — the inability to have a physical face to face connection is very limiting. While tech is a gift — it can never replace real-life care. Pray for effective communication of caring affection.

Competition — there is a huge temptation to put out a lot of quality content to engage people both inside and outside the church community. Being public — everyone can see what everyone is doing. It’s subtle but the comparison game is alive and kicking. And that brings pressure. Pray for deliverance from perfectionism and a competitive spirit.

Non-engagement — tech often highlights who is and isn’t engaging. The greatest love language for a pastor is intentional personal engagement that brings transformation in the churchgoers and beyond. When people don’t join in / comment/ watch — it hurts and stifles passion and creativity. Pray for encouraging engagement.

Mental health — pastors by definition are emotional people whose vocation is fuelled by compassion. The reality of the stress on the front line workers, the pressure of the difficult marriages, care for the vulnerable relatives, bereavement for the lost ones, anxiety over finances — all things that their ’sheep’ are struggling with — those break the pastor’s heart routinely. The burden is heavy, the eyes are misty and the heart often aches. Pray that they will let the Good Shepherd lead them daily.

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