I read a blog post today that compared being a pastor to “cake.” The claim (made by a house church advocate) is that “a professional pastor’s job is mostly cake… By “cake,” I’m referring to the fact that his job is easy.”
The basis for this claim is “2.5 years” as a pastor while sitting in Starbucks a lot studying.
Let me just say, for the record, that while there are pieces of pastoring that are HUGELY rewarding and enjoyable, anyone who would claim that the job as a whole is “cake” is speaking foolishly about something he didn’t engage in long enough to really know. 2.5 years may seem like a long time, but it’s not. It’s just long enough to see most of the high points of ministry without many of the lows.
It’s not enough time to see marriage after marriage unravel as you sit with couple after couple. It’s not time enough to walk through an adulterous relationship and the aftermath as you work to bring reconciliation. It’s not time enough to see the ebb and flow of multiple people’s faith and feel the weight of their walk with God and your responsibility to them. It’s not long enough to make disciples. It’s not long enough to try and do all these things while also equipping people for mission and ministry, encouraging the broken, exhorting the faithful, correcting and teaching the immature and trying to maintain a growing relationship with God yourself. And it’s not long enough to know that the half-assed way you are doing it is not necessarily how thousands and thousands of others who are literally pouring themselves out on behalf of the Gospel, their congregations and their neighbors/neighborhoods are doing it.
Cake? Not by a long shot.
I get the whole bi-vocational pastor thing. After all, I now am one.
But those in the house church movement seem to denigrate what they should be affirming. Just because you have chosen a different way doesn’t invalidate the way others have felt called to go. And your consistent appeal to Paul in his bi-vocationality is both tiresome and misguided.
Paul was not a local pastor. He was an itinerant evangelist/apostle who helped start churches where there were none. As such he worked a job rather than ask for support from those who were hearing the Gospel for the first time. But he also consistently maintained his right and the right of those in full-time ministry to earn their support from that ministry and so be freed into it fully. (1 Cor 9:14)
Are there lazy pastors who are gaming the system? Sure. Show me a job that isn’t true of.
But the vast majority of pastors are in full time ministry for different reasons, and to suggest otherwise is hugely insulting.
This article was sent to me with a question I wholeheartedly agree with: “Why are house church guys so consistently obnoxious?”