When Pastoring is Hard (And 3 Ways to Survive)


Every job is hard. Teaching in a school. Working in a bank. Being a cashier at In n Out. Driving a trash truck is hard.

Pastoring is hard.

Some things that make pastoring hard make other jobs hard and some things are unique to pastoring.

Here are some things that make pastoring hard:

  • When someone stabs you in the back.
  • Counseling someone and then watching them do the exact opposite and wreck their lives.
  • Having a staff member lie to you.
  • Encountering Christians and leaders who are not kingdom minded.
  • When someone stop giving, stops serving, stops buying in to the vision.
  • When expectations for you, your spouse and your kids are unattainable.
  • When giving goes down and you need to make hard choices.
  • When you make a hard choice people don’t understand and criticize.
  • You spend 20 hours on a sermon only to get an email Sunday afternoon with all the things someone didn’t like about it.
  • You spend 20 hours on a sermon and it flops.
  • You baptize someone who falls back into old patterns.
  • Celebrating the victory over addiction with someone only to get a text the next day telling you they fell back into it.
  • When you take someone through church discipline and they relationship remains broken.
  • Watching a couple go through a divorce.
  • Satan showing up at your house.
  • Spiritual attacks on your wife and kids.
  • When someone talks about you (the pastor) to your wife or child.
  • When someone talks about your wife behind her back.
  • When someone you’ve poured into as a developing leader says, “I’m leaving and taking people with me (behind your back).”
  • When people ask why you aren’t supporting the ministry or person they think you should support and get angry about it.
  • Watching a person in your church listen or read someone who is preaching lies and false doctrine.

In those moments, here are some ways to move forward and handle it:

  1. This moment won’t last forever. Go to bed and wake up because tomorrow is a new day. Will some of these issues still be unresolved tomorrow? Sure. But at least you will be rested and thinking more clearly. They won’t last forever. Some of the moments that have been the hardest for me, several weeks or months later are no longer on my radar.
  2. Leadership is hard, get over it. If leadership wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. You were called to it. You signed up for it. It is hard, but that is what make leadership so glorious and amazing.
  3. You answer to Jesus. Yes, you have accountability and structures. Yes, you answer to an elder team, but ultimately, you answer to Jesus. He’s the one who called you, the Holy Spirit empowers you. You answer to them. This doesn’t mean you get high and mighty, it just means you remember where you ultimately end up, standing in front of Jesus.


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