The Toughest Job You'll Every Love
I am taking a moment from a busy day and my last week of the seminary to say this.
I have been an ordained pastor for nearly 27 years. I was ordained on my 21st birthday by a counsel of Pastors, Sydney Ackerbloom, Fred Taylor, and my dad, Donald E. McKinnon (I'm Donald J.). I served the first 21 years as an associate pastor and the last four as a lead pastor (ministry years minus a few years off).
Let me say this; they are two vastly different things than most people realize.
When you serve as an elder or associate pastor, you are responsible for the church you are at. You fit into a captain or lieutenants role in military rank. You may be a corneal or a major if you're the #2, but you have your sergeants and corporals in the ministries they oversee.
As a lead pastor, you are a five-star general who answers directly to the Commander and Chief in Christ Jesus, and you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. You may not have been an emotional person when you were an associate, but as the lead, you genuinely mourn with those who mourn and rejoicing with those who rejoice. Your friends, who are not in this role, struggle to understand your time constraints because, after family, your congregation needs their pastor. You feel pulled in many directions, and you want to be all things to all people, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9. After the Army, this has been the hardest job I will ever love.
That said, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster with health concerns of several members ranging the gambit of ages in our church from nearly the youngest to the oldest, and in between, this week especially. I also have had friends announce different things going on in their lives, from moves to health concerns, and it adds to that weight because while you are their friend, you are also a pastor, and you know Jesus wants you to pray for them and lift them, and you do.
So for my friends who wonder why their pastor needs prayer, why he sometimes seems distant, sometimes looks down. Understand that as undershepherd, we have a great responsibility from the Great Shepherd, and we take it seriously and need your support in prayer.