Being A Pastor

I was having dinner with a pastor-friend and he asked, “So how? Being a pastor?”

When I stepped out into fulltime ministry on 1 Jan 2004, being a pastor was not on my radar screen at all.  On my mind was only theological studies at TCA College, coupled with the excitement of serving God wherever He would send me.  In the days that followed, doors opened for me to preach and teach in various churches.  Without trying at all, relying wholly on God’s grace and favour, I found myself launched into an itinerant ministry.  In this capacity, I gained exposure and insight into different congregations and worship settings.

Then, on Saturday 18 October 2008, I was commissioned as a pastor of Covenant Vision Christian Church (a new community birthed out of Covenant Vision Ministry).  Sunday services began soon after on 1 Nov 2008.  Over the past 7 months, I discovered that the key difference between being an invited preacher and a pastor is that one can preach it and leave it whilst the other has to preach it and live it.

As a guest speaker, my job is done when the service or church camp is over.  I have preached it, and I now leave it to the pastors, leaders, elders and people of the church to decide what they want to do with the Word.  If I preached badly or they don’t like my style, I don’t get invited back.  If it’s theologically or doctrinally controversial (not that it shoud be … just ‘if’), the pastor gets to clean up the mess I make.  If it’s a tough word, they can choose to ignore the message.  If they have been blessed, I get complimented and encouraged … and possibly invited to speak again.  My task is to preach the Word of God accurately and without compromise and the rest is left to the church.

Ah, but as a pastor … it is not as straightforward.  My job is not done when the benediction is pronounced.  I wish it was, but it isn’t!  I may have preached it but I now have an added role to help my congregation live it even as I first strive to live it myself.  If I preach faith, then my desire is to see the congregation live faith.  If I preach obedience, then I must help my people live a life of obedience.  Jesus didn’t just teach His disciples and sent them away with a “go figure” attitude.  Not at all!  Instead, He walked with them, led them, corrected them and guided them.  He preached it and He lived it, that they too might live as He did.

And that’s where the challenge is … it’s a journey filled with ups and downs, laughter and tears, joys and disappointments.  How nice it is to be an external consultant, to point out the weak points and to list out the to-do’s.  And if the company accepts the report and diagnosis, but chooses not to do anything about it, the consultant still gets paid!  But as a pastor …?

“So how? Being a pastor?”  I looked at my pastor-friend, smiled, and said, “Like that, lor.”

4 thoughts on “Being A Pastor

  1. Hi,
    I am Eng Han, and I just happen to chance upon your website! And yes, one particular entry from your blog that has interested me is the one that’s entitled ‘Being A Pastor’.

    Well, currently I am a Secondary 4 student, and being a teenager, I’ve always been curious about the future career that God wants me to take on in the future. Well, for myself, I feel that a career that is able to make an impact in society is something that’s really fulfilling, because it’s really about making a difference to people’s lives!

    And yes, recently, even though I’m still unsure whether it’s really from God, it seems that He has given me a full-time call for ministry in the future. Initially, I was rather appalled because I have no idea as to how I can fulfill that call! However, subsequently, God has given me affirmations for my calling through sermons and different people that’s surrounding my life – and I think I should have faith that this calling is really from God!

    However, I am quite uncertain about my future ahead. If this is really a calling that I am going to fulfill in the future, what steps should I take? What kind of subjects should I take in JC? What courses should i take in the university? When is the right time for me to enter theological studies? Even though I may seem rather paranoid at this juncture, but these doubts have been lingering in my mind for quite a while…

    So yes pastor, can you please offer me some advice, given your expertise as a pastor! How did you work towards becoming what you are today, and what suggestions can you give to me? And most importantly, how can I ensure that this calling of mine is really from God, and that it doesn’t die off because I don’t want it to be only a moment of emotional high?

    Thanks so much for your time!

    Blessings,
    Eng Han

    1. Hi Eng Han

      Nice to ‘meet’ you. Thanks for visiting my blog. Praise God for the work He’s begun in you, and for stirring in your heart the desire for the work of the ministry.

      Honestly, I think the best people to advise you would be your church pastors and leaders. They know you, your gifts and your call and would thus be in the best position to help and guide you.

      That said, allow me to offer a few quick points for your consideration:
      1) Reflect upon the call and journal it clearly for yourself. This will hold you steady as you move towards stepping out and into fulltime ministry.
      2) Discuss with your pastors and family members for affirmation and confirmation of this call. Their support will be invaluable.
      3) Continue to get deep into the Word of God. This will provide a good foundation of what might ahead.
      4) Be involved in an area of ministry where God has called you to. This will provide good experience and exposure.
      5) Never compromise your relationship with God. Spend time with Him and learn to hear and obey Him.

      I hope these points are useful and helpful to you. May the Lord continue to lead and guide you as you seek Him with all your heart.

      Blessings
      Henson

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