Is having other people look up to you really a valid reason to stay in ordained ministry?

I am a Minister of Word and Sacrament in a mainline Protestant congregation, and have thought often in recent months about leaving to pursue something other than working in the pastorate.

I agree with you that making the transition to a non-church profession can be difficult for clergy, but I would hope it does not have to be impossible. Harder challenges have been met, and as far as entry level, low paying jobs, pastoral ministry isn't a usually a high paying line of work to begin with, so that part does not concern me too much.

The one thing you mention that I was most surprised about, however, was how much the loss of being looked up to would hurt. I have to be honest here and say that I would like a little anonymity for a change. I'm not saying that being a role model is bad. We certainly need good ones these days. But being "looked up to" is never something I set out to do when I entered ministry.

Well, those are my thoughts. Thank you for listening.

Comments for Is having other people look up to you really a valid reason to stay in ordained ministry?

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Why do we stay in ordained ministry?
by: E Levesque

No. I would have to say a negatory on that one but, it does feed the ego and to what extent I don't know. I recognized a long time ago that pastoring makes pastors feel good. It makes them feel useful, loved, respected. And let's not forget the "adrenaline rush" of preaching. And the eventual let down when people mistreat you, tear apart your sermons, endless meetings of squabble over finances, carpet, endless church politics. Sleepless nights of people's problems they can solve themselves. Weddings are great. Funerals are very difficult. Sick calls. Comfort the afflicted and Afflict the comfortable. Power plays. You live for the paid vacations. You meet amazing people you never forget. It truly is a roller coaster ride. I can see how excellent pay and a congregation that loves, admires, adores and respects a pastor could be wonderful but I don't know those stories. I only have a head full of bad memories. I used to feel hopeful about much more in the church but I guess I am too cynical or maybe still just burned out. Anyway, a person must find something to do, a "calling" in life. Many are called and few are chosen. That is the way I feel about the pastorate. I am sure I took that verse out of context. The pastorate is not for everyone. You have to be really, really, really, strong and tough. It's a MT. Everest climb all the way. I guess for 25 years I had the stamina but no more. Pastoring did make me feel good and powerful for awhile to help other people. It even made me feel useful and wanted for awhile. Then it didn't. I stayed in it way too long. Co-dependent. I was taught to take care of others to the neglect of myself. I still have health problems 5 years after retiring. I should have left many years ago. I pray others can use my story to their benefit. Blessings+

A Calling
by: Amos

I had my Call confirmed when I was 40. During my discernment phase I wondered if there had been a Call all my life or if it had come later for a reason.

My sense is that a Call to ministry can be different for each of us. Just as my Call came later in life, perhaps a Call can be only for a season of a few years and then we are released for something else. Barbara Brown Taylor wrote of her experiences in her book, "Leaving Church", something I recommend to you.

If God is indeed generous (as I believe), there are likely many wonderful choices we can make. The challenge from such an experience of God may not be making only one right choice from many, but of taking an opportunity and seeing where it goes. That each choice is different reflects something of God. That each choice, even seemingly wrong ones can be turned to good speaks of both transformation and redemption.

I don't believe God wants any of us to sacrifice our lives and families on the church altar. Even for Abraham, God made another way.

quick answer
by: Paddy Venner

HI there. To answer the question in your title line - 'No!' Your first relationship is between you and God, not between you and others. You are merely leading them for this leg of the journey. If you know that God is changing your situation, go with it. He'll take care of those left behind.

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