Commentary: 5 reasons I love being a pastor


I love being a pastor. Those are not words I would have expected to have written as a teenager or even during my early college years. I wanted to be an attorney - or maybe an artist. (Although, in third grade, I wanted to be an archaeologist.) But, at the beginning of my junior year at Union University, I had an encounter with God on a Wednesday night at the Pastor's Bible Study at West Jackson Baptist Church that changed the trajectory of my life. I will never forget it. It was as real as any conversation I've ever had. That night, I put my Yes on the table and surrendered my life to whatever God wanted for me in ministry. At first, I didn't think I'd be a pastor. I thought I might be a music minister - even though I don't read music or play an instrument. I had sung a bunch in church, so maybe it would be that. If not, perhaps I would be some sort of discipleship or educational minister. I was just sure I would not be a pastor. That changed within a week. I surrendered to God's call on my life to be a pastor - a preacher - and it's been the best life I could have ever imagined.

I know times in our lives as pastors are sometimes hard and dark. We can experience the greatest of victories and the most devastating betrayals - on the same day. Sometimes, we have to pinch pennies, rely on coupons, and thank God for breakfast at supper. We are often far away from family during the holidays and have to turn conferences into family vacations. Being a pastor certainly isn't for sissies, but I love every minute of it. 

Let me share with you five (I could easily do ten or more) reasons I love being a pastor. I hope this encourages you today. 

1. It fulfills God's call on my life. The call is where the joy and fulfillment come from. Out of all the people on the planet, God called me to be the pastor and preacher that I am. I didn't choose this as a profession. I didn't use this as a fallback when I couldn't do something else. Being a pastor is what I believe God has called me to do and be. Once I settled this in my heart, all the other life questions became much easier. And when I lean into it, I feel more joy than I have ever experienced before. Is the ministry always happy? No, because happiness is determined by what happens to you. But there is a joy amid tragedies and triumphs that can't be explained any other way than by saying, "God called me to this, and I wouldn't want it any other way."

2. I have a front seat in seeing God's Kingdom expand.  Christians are all called to be personally involved in the Great Commission. That is a nonnegotiable of the Christian life. The difference for me as a pastor is that I get to see it up close. I have a front seat to seeing God's Kingdom expand as the church I serve and the people I lead grow and live on mission. There is nothing like preaching the Gospel and seeing souls saved. There is nothing like seeing a young man I've been praying for and talking with give his life to Jesus - and then start bringing his friends to Christ. Watching a young mother teach her children about Jesus and then seeing them surrender their lives to Him and grow spiritually - there is nothing like it. Cheering for my pastor friends as they lead their churches well and watching them grow and be a blessing in our community is so encouraging. As a pastor, I have a front seat to watch and be involved in seeing God's kingdom expand in my community and around the world. Awesome!

 3.  I get to serve the Lord with my family. I grew up in a pastor's family. My middle brother is an associate pastor and my baby brother is an attorney who is faithful in his local church. We were blessed to be raised in a family did ministry together. (We were at the church so much I can still tell you what the watered-down apple juice and little flower-shaped sugar cookies they served us in the children's area at FBC Milan, TN, taste like forty years later.) Most nights, we were out with our dad or mom, visiting those who had visited the church, either telling them about the church or sharing the Gospel with them. Now, I get to do that with my family. Our family doesn't bifurcate our lives between family time and ministry time. We live our lives and do ministry together as a family. I've learned that if you pit the ministry against your family, your family will lose and grow bitter towards the church. Serving the Lord as a family brings a family together and builds a love for each other and the church. 

4.  I can invest my life in serving others. Service isn't as popular of a word today as "stage,"  "platform,"  "crowd," or even "leadership," but it's the heart of the ministry. Jesus didn't come to be served; He came to serve. What I love about the ministry is serving the Lord by serving others. I am not spending my life or wasting my life. I'm investing it by pouring it into others and helping them in their walk with Jesus, helping them to know and apply the Bible, and helping them as they seek to raise their families and wrestle with the struggles of life. A shepherd should love and spend his life watching over and caring for his sheep. Ministry is service, so remember, "If service is beneath you, leadership is beyond you. 

5.  I have the privilege of walking with my people through the valleys and celebrating with them on the mountaintops of life. When I first became a pastor, I thought the ultimate goal of ministry was standing before the people and preaching the Bible. I firmly believe in the primacy of preaching. I think it's the highest and most significant thing we get to do as a pastor for a whole host of reasons. However, don't forget they don't let you come to the hospital and pray for them when they're sick or lead out at their funerals or perform their wedding ceremonies because of your preaching. They come to hear you preach and maybe even pay attention to what you say because you visited them in the hospital, buried their parents, and married their children. Preaching is the privilege we get as pastors for being there for the moments and milestones of our people's lives. 

My pastor, the late Dr. Adrian Rogers, always told us young preachers that if God has called us to be pastors, we should not stoop to be kings. At first, I didn't know how to take what he'd said. Now, 28 years later, I agree with that statement and want to share it with the generations coming behind. I echo what Paul said to his son in the ministry, Timothy, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." There is no higher calling, no great honor, and nothing I love more than being a pastor!


Brad Whitt is pastor of the historic Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, Ga.