So...Just What Do Pastors Do?

So... Just What Do Pastors Do?
July 2023
I was left speechless recently (I know, that in itself is remarkable lol)  when someone said to me that someone they know believes that pastors are “only in it for the money and tax breaks.” What?!?! I was shocked to hear this. The money? Are you kidding me? And as for tax breaks, that was never anything which occurred to me when I was deciding on whether to answer God’s call or not.

Most pastors I know actually left far more financially lucrative careers to follow the vocational calling of becoming a pastor. And most pastors I know work very hard to fulfill this divine plan for their lives. There are so many sacrifices which come along with the calling that most people will never have any conception of. Spiritual warfare increases dramatically, for one thing. As one church planter taught us, as soon as you answer the call there’s immediately a bulls-eye on your back. (Why it’s so important to have committed intercessors praying regularly for you and your family!)

When God called me, I didn’t even believe women were supposed to be pastors.
Of course, the Lord has shown me, and so many others, that of course He uses half of His creation to help carry out the good work of shepherding a congregation, or other church leadership roles. (See J.Lee Grady’s book “10 Lies the Church tells Women - How the Bible has been misused to keep women in spiritual bondage.”) There is much spiritual fruit proving it to be true, too. But this topic is for another blog. Meanwhile, just what do pastors do?

Pastors think about and pray for their congregation, and their families, 24/7/365.
They regularly personally worship & pray & journal & read and study the Bible and devotionals and other books and readings, and listen to podcasts too. They are constantly centering themselves in the Presence of the Lord to be able to pour out to others. They listen. They think. They write. They pray. They cast vision. They constantly communicate with texts, emails, phone calls, social media and additional online venues too.

They think about, study for, and prepare sermons, or messages, at least once a week. More, during holiday seasons. Some have said the weekly messages are the equivalent to writing research, or term papers. They write blogs. They do hospital, nursing home, and other facility visits. They do home visits. They meet parishioners for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. (Often their treat.) They dream, plan, schedule and lead meetings. They mentor. They spiritually parent. They receive and process and learn from and act on meaningful criticism.

They keep an eye on church finances and the church budget. They constantly follow up every networking lead. They delegate. They plan. They process. Sometimes they even participate in planning for and executing church facility build outs and moves. They set up and tear down, weekly, in elementary, middle or high school facilities every week for years. They help serve in the community in a variety of ways and roles.

They work in an office where they have strategic conversations and planning and prayer and oversee day schools where they also are ultimately responsible for carrying out the mission of providing quality childcare to the community.

They participate in and lead life groups and small groups and various studies.
They host meetings and meals and parties in their own homes.

They do several sessions of pre-marital counseling leading up to weddings at which they officiate. They do memorial services - putting in many hours with the grieving family to prepare for the service too. They also follow up with grief care. They do baptisms and teaching and oversee The Lord’s Supper and worship services.

They meet with and listen to and pray with and provide resources for people in the church, and outside of the church as well, offering pastoral care.

I could go on, but I’ve already gone over the usual one-page limit. The final answer to the question of what we do can be found in Ephesians 4:11-12. In describing the role of pastors, along with other “five-fold” leaders, Paul says we are “to equip God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

May it be so, Lord, may it be so. To Jesus be all the glory. And thank You Lord, for the call. Ultimately, we seek to please Him, and be a blessing to others.




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