TRANSITION FROM PASTOR TO “REAL WORLD”
An honest article from a Pastor who now understands how church volunteers live and serve …
At this time in my life, I am no longer in “full-time” ministry though I would argue that I have had more opportunities to do ministry since not being on a church staff than I ever did while on a church staff. After 10 years of being in a paid staff position, the change to the “real world” was HARD! Actually, I was shocked at how hard of a transition it has been.
As I begin to think of what God has next for me in regards to starting another church, I can’t help but think of how out of touch pastors are with the world they are called to reach. However, if I write this post about how out of touch pastors are with the real world, people will say I am jealous, bitter, and angry because I am no longer a pastor so instead I thought I’d share some things I’VE learned during this transition.
- I had NO clue the kind of financial, job, and family pressure most of our people were living with
- Getting up and preaching what people should do is easy. Living it out is not.
- So much of what I preached, I will never preach again because the fact is it is not possible to do in the real world.
- I worked less than the people I pastored. Ministry was my job yet I asked our people to serve, volunteer, etc. AFTER they have worked 50-60 hour work weeks.
- There are a lot of hurting people in the real world. As a pastor I preached this but I had lost touch with how true it was.
- People HATE the church. Wow! Again, I knew the church was a sore subject for people but I had no idea how deep the feelings ran. People hate churches and to be honest, I can’t blame them.
- Divorce is the Scarlet Letter. Trust me, I know it is awful, grieves God, and ruins lives but the church better learn what to do with it because marriage’s are falling apart everywhere and cute little sermon series are cutting it. Divorced people are the ones I meet most hurt by the church.
- You aren’t someone’s pastor because you have the title.
- Criticism makes me better. I had shielded myself from criticism to the point that I couldn’t see my flaws. In the “real world” I don’t have that luxury.
- Just because you left the church I pastored while I pastored there doesn’t mean you were a bad person. I use to joke that I was the Godfather to people that left. Some of the people who left Revolution before I left have been the most gracious to me.
- God provides. I honestly didn’t understand how huge this statement was while I was a pastor. Today I understand it.
- God forgives. People don’t.
- Men are pigs. I was the king of sexual jokes, second looks, and inappropriate thoughts (yes as a pastor and you’d probably be shocked at some of your current pastors in this area) but this is one of the areas I have been getting the most help to overcome. As I overcome it, I am left speechless at how little respect men have for women.
- “I’m sorry” goes a long way. I have been blessed to rekindle some old friendships with people I hurt and it was simply because I said “I’m sorry.” As a pastor I would have never said this, but the real world lets you know you aren’t always right.
- Revolution Failed. That is not a knock on Revolution, the people or the staff, it is a knock on me. Big freaking deal that we ran the numbers we ran. The fact is the people in Canton aren’t going to church, want nothing to do with the things of God, and are searching for answers. They could care less how cool the show was every week.
- It will take a different type of church to truly reach communities. I’m not sure what that looks like but I’m praying and thinking about it a lot. Once God shows me what that looks like, I’ll be a step closer to doing it again.
- I had some of the fakest friendships in the world. People I thought were my best friends I haven’t spoken to once since I had an affair. However, God has brought some friends that are the real deal. Sad thing is that some of them are pastors I wouldn’t make time for when I was a pastor. You can’t make it in this world without friends.
- I missed out on so much. As a pastor, I was so busy trying to build a great church (notice I didn’t say change a community) that I missed out on enjoying life, my children, and blew my marriage. Working in the “real world” I refuse to allow that to happen again. I am taking time to smell the roses.
Overall, it is just amazing how out of touch I was with what was going on around me. God had to knock me down, humble me, and let me hit rock bottom where I can be more effective for Him in the future. If God ever allows me to do it again, I think I will be much better at leading the people God trusts me with because I will have been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove it.