Recently, a great friend asked me if I ever have doubts about being a pastor. The “churchy, man of God answer” would have been “no way! I am perfectly confident that what I am doing is exactly what I am supposed to do.” However, I answered with honest “I battle doubt all the time.” Maybe it is because I wasn’t raised in church. Maybe it is because I am not the stereotypical pastor. Maybe I am too honest, too transparent, and not willing to be something I am not. I honestly have no clue why I deal with doubt about what I do, but the reality is, I do.
The crazy thing is that I am not alone. Most pastors, if honest, will admit to dealing with doubt when it comes to their calling at some point in their lives. Now, if interpreted incorrectly, this could cause a major spiritual conflict with scripture where it says..
So we as pastors read this scripture, and then blame ourselves for a lot of the problems within the walls of our church. “Well, if I am doubting, God will not give me, therefore our church, anything.” This toxic thought, I believe, is a dangerous place for a pastor to be very long. What do we doubt? What are the things we lose sleep about? Here are a few…
- Are we making a difference at all?
- Does my staff understand the direction we are going as a church?
- Do the volunteers feel appreciated enough?
- Why do we spend so much time working with people, counseling, loving, and being there for them, only to have them leave to go to another church?
- Are my sermons too long? Too short? Not “deep” enough? Not topical enough? Not serious enough? Not funny enough? Are they even listening?
- Why are the finances not coming in? Do they not believe in our church enough to give and support?
- Why do people not invite their friends more?
- Do people like the music? Too loud? Too new? Too old? Not enough new songs or not enough repetition?
While there are plenty more I could list based on talking with other pastors, it would take forever. So, do I deal with these? Yep, every…single…one. So what keeps me going? With this many worries, doubting my calling is commonplace. However, then there are what I call, “the moments.” These are the divine love droppings from God that help us breathe:
- A marriage that is saved by God.
- A family that is being drawn close to God.
- Hearing Kids Church singing loud in church. (Or hearing my son singing in his room a song he sings at church.)
- A child drawing a picture of a cross describing they are thankful for it.
- A person telling you how much they were changed through the Sunday Experience whether it was music, teaching, or serving.
- People wanting to become volunteers.
- A church member bringing a friend with them who has their life changed in one day.
So, do I deal with doubting my calling? Sure I do. In my head and heart I see where Baypointe is heading. I know God is with you, with us, with me, and I want to be there yesterday. So when we aren’t there yet, doubt begins to creep in. But it is remedied by these soft moments of watching people change, lives deepened, and sometimes…just sometimes…a soft whisper from God telling me to keep going…
Find life…live grace…become hope.