What Pastors Like and Don't Like To Do

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs,” he told him. A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”

“Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.

He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.
-John 21:15-17

Thom Rainer surveyed 1,178 pastors about what they like to do the most, in their ministries.  Here's the rough list:
  1. Preaching, 40%. 
  2. Discipleship/Mentoring, 30%. 
  3. Evangelism/Outreach, 9%. 
  4. Leadership/Vision, 7%. 
  5. Pastoral Care, 5%. 
  6. Administration, 2%. 
  7. Community involvement, 2%. 
  8. Counseling, 1%. 
  9. Others,(respondents were asked to specify), 4%.
The list tells us that most pastors love to preach and disciple/mentor people.  Doing admin, pastoral care, community involvement, and counseling is not enjoyable for most pastors.  Congregants and search committees, and anyone involved in placing a pastor in a position, however you church is configured needs to see this list and know that pastors should be allowed to do what they love and not forced into a too wide of a role that their what is their God-given design.

Administration is a spiritual gift or a design that some people have and many pastors do not have.  Pastoral burnout and all the uglies that go with it, is the result of doing too much of what you don't enjoy doing.  Of course you can work too hard and put in too many hours, neglecting your health and family, doing what you love; but the deathly burnout syndrome is when you do work that you don't like and are not really good at.

Especially in a smaller (non-mega) church, congregations want their pastor to do and be the pastoral care, but look at the passion list above.  To me, this brings up the 'pastor/teacher' dilemma.  Some pastors can not teach and some teachers, who are called pastors can not pastor.

What I mean by that is that some people who have a passion to serve vocationally or are a good person in their churches and become an elder, come into the pastor role.  But they are not pastoral.  They may be teachers or evangelists, maybe apostles.  But they do not have good 'bedside manner'.

One man was such a good teacher, he was brilliantly smart, and he was a pastor, a senior pastor and then an executive pastor who oversaw a number of pastors.  And it was a bad fit and wrong fit, because he was not pastoral.  He loved God, loved to preach and teach and even pray for individuals.  But he did not have the gift-mix to be a pastor or an executive pastor managing pastors.

Tozer may be a person like that.  Massive passion for God, for the word of God, for teaching and preaching; but not a good husband.  He did not beat his wife and kids, nor commit adultery; but he was not pastoral with her and them.

My point is that the pastorate can not be a one size fits all box.  

This is another hard one.  Some pastors can not teach.  They don't have the gift nor the passion.  But they sure can care for people.  They are not pastor/teachers.  But they are pastors.

There is a huge variety of gift mixes (the unique gifts deposited by God in a person) that we can have.  There are healers and prophets who teach and others who minister powerfully but do not teach, because they don't have the teaching gift.

Matt Bredmond studied Eugene Peterson's books on being a pastor, this past year.  10 insights gleaned:
1. Pastoral Work does not look “busy.”
2. The hard work of a pastor is done in the quiet of study and prayer.
3. Most pastors are pragmatists because they have never seen any other kind of pastoral work done.
4. You will never get the job of pastoral work down to a science.
5. Read novels as a part of your ministry.
6. How-to sermons are rarely – if ever – helpful.
7. Don’t listen to the conventional wisdom.
8. It is so normal for bullies to fill our pulpits we can no longer recognize the problem.
9. Pastors should not seek to be part of the super-spiritual crowd but seek to be normal – only more so.
10. God and his work in Christ are our subject.