I have been preaching since I was 12 years old, and a bit of quick math tells me that, at 47 years old, that makes for 35 years. This is to say, that, I have been around preachers for a very long time.
Perhaps it is because of the stress of the ministry, but my take is that preachers can and often are some of the (to quote the Southern colloquialism) squirreliest people around.
Here, for your enjoyment (and your prayer list) are some of my observations on preachers.
1. Many preachers do an amazing job of studying, preparing and presenting accurate, solid, well thought out biblical messages. Others twist the Bible so badly that it appears to be doing extreme yoga, minus the stretchy pants.
2. A preacher is a person with the very difficult task of standing in front of people all the time and talking while everyone else listens, being heard and being seen, while being tasked with not having people notice him, but instead having everyone notice the One of whom he is speaking, whom they cannot see with their eyes or hear with their ears.
3. Preachers love to talk to people. Unless it is two minutes until service starts. If it is two minutes until service, it would be best not to speak to him unless the building is on fire.
Normally, though, that two-minute window right before he has to start service is the exact time the devil whips Cletus and Lurlene into a frenzy demanding that the preacher speak to them immediately about how other children are (supposedly) mistreating little Lulu.
4. The ministry has such high highs and such low lows in such near proximity to each other that the term "roller coaster" is not dramatic enough to describe it. So, if you happen to ever hear a preacher humming "Take This Job and Shove It," do not panic. In 15 minutes he will probably be humming "Victory In Jesus."
5. Every preacher I have ever known has had to deal with someone going to the hospital for an emergency or for a surgery and not telling him, then blowing up at him for not coming to the emergency or surgery that he did not know about. Preachers do not have ESP. If they did, they would vote against many people's request for membership before they ever get the chance to do something that ridiculous.
6. Every preacher I have ever known has had to deal with people who are always full of life and vitality Monday through Friday for work and also for play on Saturday, yet somehow sick every single Sunday. They always say the same thing: "I am praying for you." What they do not do is tell them how they are praying, which likely includes the words "hemorrhoids" or "poison ivy."
7. It is a myth that every preacher types out a resignation letter every Monday morning. Those in situations that bad would never wait that long; they do it every Sunday evening right after service before they start hitting the Maalox.
8. Some preachers are faithful and stable. Others bounce from church to church so often that, no matter their actual name, I call them "Reverend Mcboingboing."
9. An old preacher still in the ministry is a glorious thing. It is a sign that someone had enough composure to go for decades and decades without killing anyone who desperately needed it or at least was superb at hiding the bodies.
10. I am blessed beyond measure as a pastor. I say this in all sincerity; my church family is amazing, and they make me glad to serve them. But I have learned that the greatest joys of the ministry are reserved for those who dig in at one place and stay faithful for many years. If I had bailed out in the first five years, I would have missed the incomparable heavenly blessings that did not come till years 18, 19 and beyond.
One of the shortest verses in the Bible sums it up. In 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Paul said these four words: "Brethren, pray for us."
Your pastor needs it, every single day.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books. His books are available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.