Recently, Christianity Today posted a cartoon of a pastor balancing himself on a beach ball with his tiptoe, while a 2×4 was on his shoulder balancing four or five ministries on his back (Sunday School, deacons, etc.). Good humor (or at least humor in the ballpark of good) always has an element of truth to help folks connect with the humorous portion.
Contrast this with some of the pastors who are put to the fore of many young seminarians and preachers: Mark Dever, Mark Driscoll, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, and the like. All of these men mention how they spend often 20-30 hours a week in sermon preparation and recommend other pastors do the same.
I admire each of their ministries to one degree or another. Many parts of their ministry I seek to emulate: the centrality of the Word, conforming the church toward New Testament distinctives, etc. However, these men seem to be rather out of touch with the majority of churches in America which are smaller (small being 75 in attendance or lower). But given how influential these men and their ministries are, I suppose I would like to pose a question to some of you pastors out there.
Do Pastors Live in Perpetual Guilt?
Pastors have to balance not only the various ministries within the church, but also (somewhere in the chaos) balance family life in the routine as well. Plus, if some pastors are like me and continuing their education with an MDiv or a terminal degree (DMin, PhD), you have to balance that as well. For me, I feel if I am really doing well with balancing the church ministries, my family suffers from lack of time with me. If I am doing really well on the home front, there are ministries that may not receive as much attention as they normally do from me. Plus, with the school component and deadlines for dissertations, papers, book reviews, etc., it almost becomes maddening. Since most of us have trouble with that balancing act.
I will have a follow-up article, but I would truly like that article to be peppered with some of your helpful comments as well. But I will close with this: if I were to err (if possible), I feel the necessity to spend time with my family. While God has entrusted a church into my care (praise be His name that He entrusted such a church as He has), He has also entrusted a wife and four dynamite children as well. I will be held accountable for my church members (Hebrews 13:17) and the community in which my church resides, but also for my family as well (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).
What say ye?