Like most pastors, I have spent a significant amount of time in school learning how to be a pastor and shepherd God’s Church.
I’ve taken classes on theology.
I’ve taken classes on biblical exegesis.
I’ve taken classes on Christian counseling.
I’ve taken classes on leadership within the church.
I’ve taken, well, you get the idea.
Over the last few years I’ve came to the realization that even though I have learned a lot in my studies, there are some things that I was never taught in a classroom about being a pastor:
The church becomes your family.
Like many pastors, my family and I live nowhere near family. We have family that lives in Ohio, Kansas, West Virginia, Virginia, Missouri, Indiana, Florida, and California.
Because we live in South Texas (Louisiana previously), we obviously don’t get to see our family very often. And so we end up spending holidays, birthdays, and other special times with the members of our church. When you do this, you cannot help but grow to love them.
They become your family.
You hurt when people from the church hurt.
As a parent, our heart breaks to see our children hurting. You think that if you could do anything to take away the pain, you would.
The same is true about pastoring.
It breaks my heart to see people going through difficult times and experiencing pain.
It does not matter what type of pain they are going through, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, financial difficulties, or even wrestling with past wounds, like a parent; you wish you could take all the pain away.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’ve gotten a phone call from someone asking for prayer or have left a meeting in which someone needed comfort and got in my car or I went back to my office and just began to pray and weep for God to intervene.
You often wake up in the middle of the night with the burden to pray for people.
I enjoy my sleep, but there have been many nights in which I wake up with someone on my heart and that burden does not go away until I take the time to pray for them.
Sometimes its just a quick and simple prayer and other times it’s an extended time in prayer wrestling with God for that person.
And what’s amazing is that sometimes that person will come and say to me, “I was going through this.” Or “I was going through that and God helped me.” And I had no clue what was going on, only that I believed I needed to pray.
Am I upset I didn’t learn these things in School?
I’m just glad that I’ve learned them.
Because the things that I didn’t learn in school, they are the things that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They are the things that I will tell my son about. They are the things I will tell my grandchildren about.
Because they are the things that touched my heart.
They are the things I love about pastoring.