It’s October 5, 2017. That means two things. First, it means that tonight is a full moon, the “Harvest Moon” as some call it, and like nurses and law enforcement officers, I swear by the full moon. That is to say, there is something about the full moon that seems to draw out the worst in people. Strange and scary things happen in the “church world” around the full moon…some humorous, others not so much. Secondly, this day also means that Halloween is fast approaching. Now, I don’t officially endorse or promote this holiday, but tis’ the season for scary costumes and weird parties, right? So, both of these items (the full moon and Halloween approaching) has got me thinking about scary things. Thus, my blog post title, “Being A Pastor Is Scary”…let me give you three reasons why…
- Comforting – As a pastor, I am called upon to comfort those going through trials and different types of heartache. Some of these trials come in the form of physical suffering, or emotional turmoil, or perhaps marital strife. Some of these heartaches are small, while others are big and complex. The pressure is on in these moments. What do I say? How do I say it? Should I say it now or later? These are scary moments for a pastor. Providing comfort, while avoiding potentially hurtful statements, is like playing an episode of Minesweeper…one wrong move and you’re done!
- Confronting – Nothing is scarier for a pastor than having to confront an individual on their sin. Indeed, I would almost rather do anything else than confront someone about an issue in their life. It scares me to think how angry they might get…how offended they could become…what they might tell others as they potentially leave the church or (even worse) stay and stir the pot. Biblical confrontation isn’t fun at all. Following God’s way…the biblical way…the Matthew 18 way is hard and downright scary at times.
- Commanding – Now, I use this term loosely. Obviously, pastors do not “command” authority in the same way a military leader or business professional might, but we are called to lead the church. Yes, being a pastor means being a leader, and don’t get it twisted, leadership is downright scary! Should I make this decision or that decision? When should I make this decision? How should I make this decision? Indeed, making decisions is hard, scary stuff. It’s scary because often you cannot guarantee an outcome. You pray, plan, and move forward with an initiative, and it might work out, and, then again, it might not. The possibility of failure is scary for the pastor-leader.
So, what do I do, as a pastor, when I find myself scared? Answer: I turn to the Word. Specifically, Psalm 56:3-4, which states, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Yes, I turn to the Word and I choose, in my scaredness, to trust in God. So, whether you are a pastor or not, here’s my encouragement: Use what scares you most as motivation to trust the One who loves you and is always with you, even in the scary moments of life.