The One Thing Small Church Pastors Must Hold On To

hold on

In case you haven’t noticed it’s hard to be a pastor, it’s even harder to be the pastor of a smaller church, it’s even harder to be a bivocational pastor of a small church. The ‘It’s hard’ factor in pastoring has to be accepted and embraced or you’ll never make it. Accepting this, however, doesn’t necessarily make it any easier because…well, it’s hard.

The other day I was talking to a pastor who finds himself in a very difficult, not to mention unpleasant, situation in his church. Before we began to explore options for navigating the turbulent waters ahead I asked,

“Are you absolutely convinced that God has called you to this church and that, at least for now, God wants you to stay and face this challenge in your church?”

He answered, “Yes.”

“And what about your wife?”


“Okay then, because that’s really, really important.”

Sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is the conviction you have that God has called you. Now I think it’s very important to realize that there can be a difference between being call to the ministry and the current church you are pastoring. I do believe that one can leave their church and it not be an abandonment to their calling. Some churches are toxic and dysfunctional and continuing to pastor there would be abusive to both the pastor and their family. But this will have to wait for another post.

If your sense of ‘call’ is all you have then hold on to that with all you have. It’s hard even with the sense of call. It’s almost guaranteed suicide to stay without the sense call.

Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.


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