Here is a snippet from Ch. 10 of “The Millennia Pastor” entitled “Learning to be Unprepared”:
Now, I have read a lot of books, I have a degree in Christian Ministries, I did internships and even watched some YouTube videos, but there has never been a single moment in my entire pastoral career that I ever felt ready for the job at hand.
Every single aspect of the job was a new experience. You can’t really teach preaching, you can only hope to equip a person to know what it means to preach and give them an opportunity to sharpen their skill set. You can’t train someone to know how to deal with every conflict that will arise because no two situations are ever the same. It is impossible to fully prepare a would-be pastor for the amount of scrutiny their every action will come under. Their life will be lived under a microscope, and no matter how much you tell them this, they can never fully appreciate what it means until they experience it for themselves.
The same is true for so many professions. My wife is a nurse, and she had to regularly overcome her fear that she might be the reason a patient dies. Learning to deal with that anxiety, learning how to function even though you are nearly paralyzed with fear can never be taught in a classroom and has to be learned by doing. You have to earn the right to be deemed a good nurse, a competent pastor, a fill-in-the-blank because the world isn’t going to give you participation trophies when it comes to real life.
The realization that I could completely fail was never more prevalent in my mind than during this last year. As an associate pastor, I was always able to lean on the wisdom and experience of my superiors. I could go to my coworkers’ offices and ask them for their thoughts, but as the lead pastor of a small church where I am the only paid staff member, this luxury was much harder to come by.
Ultimately, the decisions being made for the church rested squarely on my shoulders and I wasn’t always sure if I would be able to bear the weight of it all. Fortunately, I didn’t ever really have to do it all on my own as I have shared, but there is still the nagging frustration I have with the church of today.
Pastors are underprepared from the start.
Like I said, you can’t teach everything. However, there is a vast gap between what is taught and what is expected on the job. I believe this gap could be lessened, because if it isn’t, then we set our up-and-coming-lead-pastors-to-be up for failure.
There you have it. Stay tuned for more guest blogs, more updates on the inevitable publication of this book and even more thoughts and such.
Until next time…