Here is a little food for thought for everyone. Those whom God calls to ordained or licesensed ministry in a church may not ever tell you this, they will agree with this list, though this is not an exhaustive list, it is representative of what clergy deal with in their ministry.

9 Thinks Clergy Will Not Tell You

Your clergy will likely tell you many things. From personal counseling in their office to the weekend sermon, they’ll freely share many things–and they probably won’t need to be asked twice to do so. That said, there are several things they probably won’t tell you. Here are 9 of them:

1. The work of clergy is never done.

As often as people like to joke that clergy “only works on weekends,” the reality is–they never actually take a day off. Emergencies in the congregation, responsibilities for each service, or events in the community mean the clergy always have something (and generally many things) to do every day of the week.

2. The role of a clergy can be a very lonely.

On one hand, everybody knows their clergy, but on the other hand, not many people know the clergy. Due to the nature of their work, a clergy can’t share some of their heaviest burdens, nor is it common for people to treat clergy like a “regular guy.” Many clergy say that ministry life can be a lonely road with few friends.

3. The feedback for clergy is often negative.

In other words, clergy hear a lot of criticism. Whether a decision is made by the clergy or not, people in the congregation often feel like their criticism should be taken to the clergy. So the clergy is often the recipient of complaints about everything from doctrinal disagreements to paint colors to music choices (and beyond). When these complaints are voiced right before a service begins, they can have a powerfully discouraging impact.

4. The identity of the clergy can get lost.

The clergy cares about other things in addition to church life. Most likely, they have hobbies and interests like everyone else, and they would probably like to discuss them once in a while. The person who treats the clergy like a normal human being is a great gift to clergy in ministry.

5. The knowledge of the clergy is limited.

Even a clergy who is wholeheartedly committed to the Bible and to preaching the whole counsel of God doesn’t have all the answers on everything all the time. They must study, too, and continue to grow in sanctification and understanding. And there is nothing wrong with that. Generally speaking, clergy who claim to have all the answers is a greater threat to a church than clergy who humbly admits their limits.

6. The time of the clergy is divided.

At a typical church service, clergy must divide their time amongst many people in the church family. Whether visitors are present in the service, or whether a long line of people wish to discuss the sermon or matters of church business, the clergy typically must speak to many people in a single setting. Sometimes people become offended that the clergy didn’t seek them out to say, “Hi!” but it’s probably not because the clergy doesn’t care. It could very well be that the clergy simply had a lot of people to see in a short amount of time. And as the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

7. The criticisms of a clergy get back to them.

It is rare for someone to criticize the clergy and for that feedback not to travel back to them. In a typical church, at least one person (sometimes many) believe it is their job to take any criticisms of the clergy to them. Very little is said that doesn’t find its way back to the clergy.

8. The confidence of a clergy is typically shaky.

The clergy may seem confident in the pulpit week after week, but if they are like the average clergy, their opinions of their own sermons are most often not that positive. They know their shortcomings and tend to battle temptations unique to those whom the Enemy would like to see fail.

9. The love of clergy towards their congregation is sincere.

Very few clergy enter the church ministry without deeply caring about their calling and their congregation. If they didn’t, there would be 100 easier jobs to do on any given day. Chances are, the love that clergy expresses from the pulpit is sincere … and even greater than they ever communicate.

One thing is certain: The clergy who stays in ministry–who commits long-term to the task of loving and serving others well–may be tired, but are so worth while, keeping around.

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