In a recent post, I noted the ten things pastors liked least about their jobs. Many of you responded via the post and Twitter with a great deal of affirmation. Some of you were relieved that you weren’t alone in those least liked areas.

In today’s post, I look at the positive side of being a pastor. Most of these leaders love their work and the churches they serve. So I took to the Twitterverse again with my poll question asking pastors what they like most about their work. Here are their top ten responses.

  1. Seeing lives transformed. This response was an overwhelming number one. You could almost feel the enthusiasm for this aspect of their ministry as they responded. These pastors feel that God call them to lead toward transformation of others, and seeing that happen is their greatest joy in ministry.
  2. Preaching. Frankly, I expected this response to be number one, but it was a distant second. Preaching is very important to these pastors, but transformed lives are the most important. Of course, some of them noted that preaching transforms lives.
  3. Personal evangelism. Though distant to number one, sharing the gospel one-on-one was a clear number three. Here is a fascinating facet of this study to me: Over 85 percent of the pastors named one of these first three as their response. The next eight were named by less than 15 percent of the pastors.
  4. The people/members. There is little doubt that these pastors love their churches and thus the members. Many of them exuded joy just by writing about the church members.
  5. Developing new relationships. These pastors include a number of extroverts who really like to meet new people. We introverts don’t understand.
  6. Ministering in the community. It was a joy to hear a number of pastors express intense love for the community where their church is located. I can only imagine their ministries are bearing much fruit.
  7. Ministering to members. Though similar to number four, the pastors sometimes explicitly mentioned ministering to church members in times of need.
  8. Casting a vision. The only surprise to me at this response was how low it ranked among pastors. I thought I would hear leading and vision-casting as a response near the top.
  9. Staff relationships. Not all pastors have other ministry staff serving alongside them, but a few of them did express gratitude for those who do.
  10. Mentoring or discipling one-on-one. This response was not a surprise except for how few pastors mentioned it. Since the first three responses dominated the poll, number 10 was almost an afterthought.

I would love to hear more from pastors about what they love about being a pastor. And I would welcome any comments from church members about what they appreciate most about their pastors.


    • John McKay says

      Mentoring and discipling one-on-one falling to number 10 is not really a big surprise when we think about it. Most pastors would probably love to do more of it but mentoring (true mentoring- not just having lunch or meeting in the pastor’s office occasionally) takes a lot of time. The typical pastor just doesn’t have that kind of time to spend with one member without neglecting other members and other pastoral demands.

  1. Milton Kornegay says

    In (Acts 20:17-31), among the things that the Apostle Paul said to the Ephesian elders was how he “taught them publicly and from house to house.” After determining the meaning of what Paul was saying, putting it into a N.T. context – Paul taught formally in a large group church setting, but he also found ways to get to the people in smaller groups. As a pastor, I have made it part and parcel of my ministry to try and get to know the folks in the church in smaller settings. My wife and I try and have all our members in our home at least once every two-three years. We sometimes invite the Leadership Team, then maybe the Singles, then the Choir etc. Then, we also play for one or two couples occasionally to share in something we enjoy doing as a couple. I believe it to be important for the members of the church to see the pastor and his family away from the “church setting” as much as possible. Then they can truly obey (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

  2. says

    I think this is a good list, and I believe #10 should be #10 because if church members would come to church and pay attention there would be very little need for it. I’m not saying that any pastoral ministry could or should ever be void of one-on-one discipleship, I just it should only be needed in more extreme cases.

    Thanks for the work.

    • Janelle T says

      Mr. Estes, I would respectfully disagree. My husband and I are faithful covenant members of our local church. We attend Sunday School, weekly Worship, Sunday night studies, and a weekly small group. We are involved in serving with our Church’s homeless ministry outreach, and in prison outreach through a parachurch organization which we are very active in. We actively seek to grow closer in our relationship with Christ and become more conformed to His image. (ie: we “pay attention’) My husband and I have benefited greatly from a small group that our Pastor leads with one of the other elders in our church. We meet weekly in each other’s homes as a group of 5 couples. This one on one discipling and walking with one another in the light, sharing our struggles and sins, and encouraging one another to live out of our identity in Christ, has led to a much greater spiritual maturity and depth, and assisted us as we, in turn, disciple others. The radical grip of God on my heart and life has been the main impetus driving my desire to be discipled and mentored. I want to be discipled well, so I might disciple well.

  3. Drew Dabbs says

    I’m not surprised that “seeing lives transformed” outranked “preaching,” and, in hindsight, I’m almost ashamed that I was one of the responders who ranked preaching as the thing I like most.

    As someone pointed out, preaching is a means to life transformation. I would even go so far as to say one of the primary means. However, it is always a means and never an end unto itself.

    I would also concur with John McKay’s comment. There are many things that we (pastors) would love to be able to do and would love doing, but we simply cannot find time or have not yet figured out how to make the time to do them without neglecting other pastoral demands.

  4. says

    It might not be along the lines of what you were asking, but I like the way the work of pastoring keeps me disciplined and accountable to Bible study and prayer. I often wonder if I would invest as heavily in the two if the need to do so was not so great in my everyday life. I consider the demands of ministry an accountability partner. (I sure can tell when I’ve not been accountable!)

  5. says

    A shame to see mentorship at number 10. A great read I’d recommend for any minister questioning the value of mentorship/discipleship (or just wanting to know about how to really start) would be Transforming Discipleship by Greg Ogden.
    Great post Thom!


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