In the comments from the last post, Ryan wanted to know the reason why pastors stay in the ministry. I began to write them all down in the comment section, but it was going on forever.
Here are the reasons:
The people. You just fall in love with the people. Even the mean ones.
The sense that every once in a while, you help someone through a difficult time. A death, a sickness, a break-up.
When someone says, “That sermon seemed to be written for me.”
The teenagers. I love the teenagers. You don’t even know that you have any effect on them, until you announce that you’re leaving and their mom tells you that they cried for two days.
Someone writes about the church in the family Christmas letter.
You find flowers on your desk on Monday morning.
A college student introduces you to their parents at graduation, and the mom says, “Oh yes. I feel like I know you. My son talks about the church all the time.”
Someone tells you that he wants to attend seminary.
The couple you’ve been praying for tells you that they’re pregnant.
A little girl says, “I want your job.”
A woman finds her husband dead in the bed next to her, and calls you before she calls 9-1-1.
A person cries when you ask if he wants to pray before going into surgery.
Baptisms. Every time you hold that baby, and you lead the congregation in those promises…it’s just so moving. And at that moment, you realize that your congregation will never be the same again.
You overhear one of the children in your congregation explain the Trinity.
When someone learns to overcome her fear of public speaking with the support of a loving congregation.
When the soloist sucks, and people tell her she did a wonderful job. And you know that they’re not lying.
When the sanctuary is full on Easter. Maybe it sounds ego-driven… but when you’re the pastor of a small church, once a year it’s just really nice to see a full sanctuary.
When your tiny choir pulls off a really difficult piece. Beautifully. And you realize when the last note ends that you were holding your breath the whole time.
When someone who swore off church walks into the doors. And then they come back.
When you drive a bag of groceries out to a family, and when you arrive, you realize that you’re holding the contents of their entire family’s Thanksgiving dinner.
When you take a job and you find out that half the congregation swore that they’d NEVER hire a woman. And then when you leave, they hire another woman.
And even when you have to stand before a group of people who have just stabbed you in the back and preach to them. I don’t know…when you get through it, and there’s still some love left in your heart…you have a sense that you’ve just accomplished something big. It’s a real discipline.
I guess it’s just a place where these small miracles occur all the time.
What would you add?