They never tell you how hard this is.
When a church member leaves and never wants to come back. When you’re told your preaching isn’t good enough. When you’re told you’ll never be a good pastor. When you’re preaching your guts out and nearly everyone is asleep.
How to confront sin, not theologically, but in the everyday dirt of messy lives. When the congregation sighs and groans and grunts at your upcoming events. How to rebuke without blowing things up. How to handle a church that hardly supports you and seems to push back against your every move.
How to handle your own anger and lust and greed for control. How to deal with in-house fighting. When you’ve poured your life into people and they leave without a single warning; one week they’re evangelizing to their friends and the next week they’re gone.
How to deal with angry parents. When your church people only call you in emergencies. When funerals happen and everyone mocks God. How to deal with depression, self-loathing, criticism, and the constant nagging of inadequacy. How to love well.
Even if seminary prepared me for this, it still would’ve been overwhelming. Ministry is not easy. Screaming in my car, I can’t give up, I can’t give up, I can’t give up. Want to be like Isaiah — Here am I. Send me. Pressing on like Paul, forgetting what is behind and straining, sweating, bleeding, dying for what is ahead.