Public Square

Do Pastors Have a Harder Calling?

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Photo courtesy of George Redgrave

Is it actually hard to be a pastor?

It is, writes Mike Niebaur, pastor of Redeemer Anglican Parish in Chicago, but the pastoral vocation is not unique in these difficulties. He says,

After all, being a pastor involves almost no manual labor, which makes it physically easier than most other occupations in history. It doesn’t require a 60- to 80-hour work week, unless you somehow equate longer working hours with more of the Holy Spirit’s presence. And although the emotional and spiritual challenges faced are difficult, teachers and social workers—to take just two examples—face similar or greater obstacles.

While Niebaur does not want to minimize what pastors do, he cautions that overemphasizing the importance and difficulty of their work could lead to several consequences.

  1. It might widen the gap between clergy and laity.
  2. It could close doors for people to share cares and concerns with their pastors.
  3. Pastors might become poor examples for how the rest of their congregation should approach work.

Is Niebaur correct, or is he minimizing the job of the pastor? Is it ever appropriate for pastors to allude to the unique challenges that they face on the job?

Leave your comments here.

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