Interview With My Daughter, Part 3

So, I was at a conference in Atlanta for work and at one of the main sessions, they interviewed the children of well-known ministers about how their parents fulfilled their roles as parents…

…so, I stole the idea from them, recorded the questions and asked my oldest daughter (the youngest declined, wisely, because she still lives in this house & goes to that church) to respond to them. She did, and I’ll ask the questions and have one entry every day this week.

Question 3: What do you wish the church knew about your father that they probably don’t see or know?

*warning: strong language alert. I asked her if she wanted to change it, and she said that it was precisely the word she wanted to use.

“No one except a pastor and his wife and children really understands the shit pastors go through. No one. I don’t care how many books on pastoring a church, or leading a congregation you’ve read, you don’t understand. I have heard, time and time again people devalue or fail to recognize the worth of my father’s job. Nothing will get me angry faster.

When a normal man goes to work he works 40-50 hours a week and then goes home to his family and is there. He gets vacation time and he has hobbies. My father works 40 hours a week in the office, but the job never ends. The books he reads (85% of the time) are to make him better at his job. He is constantly bouncing new ideas for creative ways to do ministry and his job never stops.

I know some of you reading this blog are saying, “I work a lot. I work 70 hours a week and do not sleep and fight with my wife/husband AND go to church.” But that is exactly why you will never understand. You do not know what it is like to have church be your job. There are politics and there is, of course, sin. Pastors do not get the spiritual refreshment from a church service that everyone in the congregation receives . Pastors do not take breaks from their jobs. Because they are responsible for your spiritual life before God, when you call–at 2 in the morning and while they’re on vacation–they answer.

That being said, you get their best. My father works for his people. He shepherds his sheep. He loves his high schoolers and his people. He is absolutely phenomenal at his job. And he will work until he runs himself into the ground working. Note that this may not be true for all pastors, but it sure is true for my father. You, as his patrons, get his best. So when he is frustrated and grumpy and burnt out at home, we understand. But that doesn’t make it easy. He needs encouragement and community as much as you need him to build it for you.”

3 more to come!