Let me state the obvious: Pastors are humans. That means they have preferences, likes, and dislikes. So I did an unscientific Twitter poll to find out what pastors really don’t like about their jobs. By the way, one pastor cautioned me about calling their ministries “jobs.” I understand, but it’s hard to fit “God-called vocation and ministry” into a 140-character Twitter question.
I was surprised at the variety of responses. Pastors are certainly not monolithic. No one response was greater than 20 percent of the total. And I was surprised at some potential responses that did not show up. For example, as an introverted pastor, I liked counseling the least of all the work I did. But no pastors mentioned counseling as a least-liked aspect of their jobs.
Here are the top ten responses. They are listed in order of frequency of response.
- Conflict and complaining church members. No surprise on this one. These issues are a way of life for most pastors.
- Family challenges. Most of these responses were related to a desire to cut back on some church responsibilities to spend more time with family. Some pastors expressed concern about protecting family members from the issues of number one above.
- Busy work. None of the pastors thought this work was beneath them. They simply did not enjoy paperwork, janitorial work, and maintenance work that took away from their primary ministries. This issue was more common with pastors of smaller churches.
- Members whose priorities are their own comfort and preferences. “They like their comfort, but not their commitment,” one pastor wrote.
- Expectations to be present at all church functions and many social functions. One pastor indicated he could be cloned two times and still would not have enough capacity to meet all of the members’ expectations.
- Non-productive meetings. I feel their pain.
- Expectation to be on call 24/7. Many pastors indicated that they don’t feel the benefit of a day off or a vacation because they have to respond to any interruption requested by a church member.
- Confronting people who are sinning. “It’s biblical,” one pastor said, “but it sure doesn’t end well.”
- Problems with staff members. As you would expect, this issue was more common for pastors of larger churches that actually have multiple full-time staff members.
- Members who aren’t passionate about evangelism/reaching the community. There is obvious overlap between this response and the response noted in number four.
What do you think about this top ten? What would you add?