To read much of what contemporary Christian media has to say about the work of ministry might be to think it a grueling, unattractive, and almost impossible task. As I made my way through three years of seminary, much of the input I received offered me a dismal portrait of my future potential. “It's so taxing, you just can't understand,” ministers in the field told me. “People have no boundaries. You'll work yourself to death. Your studies will be meaningless and cannot possibly prepare you,” they have threatened.
But I beg to differ. After one official month on the job as a pastor, I can tell you that, so far, it is awesome. And here are some reasons why:
-I spend most of my days eating lunch and drinking iced tea and talking to folks about the best and worst times of their lives. I get to witness people's struggles, without losing myself in them.
-Except for Sundays and session meetings, I can go to work and come home pretty much anytime I want.
-I get to read the bible and think about it on a weekly basis. Reading fascinating stuff is actually part of my job.
-I get to choose what to do with my time, what projects will draw my attention.
-I get to help people figure out how to develop and use their god-given gifts in service to others.
As far as I'm concerned, at this point, I got the good end of the vocational deal. I'm not sure what those other ministers were talking about, but thank God I didn't listen.