What is The Happy Pastor? I’m so glad you asked. The Happy Pastor chronicles my foray into full-time pastoral ministry. It is meant to be a candid, albeit sensitive look into pastoral ministry and church life – from some who loves the Church and refuses to become disgruntled with American church culture. The Happy Pastor is an all encompassing blog including, but not limited to, devotionals, bible studies, critique of church culture, insights from books I am reading and ramblings of various sorts. Above all, The Happy Pastor is meant to be an encouragement to those in full-time ministry. It is possible to be a full-time ministry professional and not hate your job… or the people you serve!
What is a Happy Pastor? Another insightful and poignant question – this blog is off to a good start! To be quite honest, no one really knows for sure. Happy Pastors are sort of like snow leopards – mythical beasts that we have heard about but very few have actually encountered.
It is my experience that many pastors are depressed and burnt out from full-time ministry. Many are workaholics who never take breaks, control freaks who find a perverse pleasure in being the “only one” who can do their job and people kept in bondage because of their fear of man. That sounds incredibly harsh, but I think a critical review of pastors in America will find it to be the case.
The Happy Pastor is designed to address these issues head on, from a pastor’s perspective. A proverb that we will come back to time and again is this “Healthy = Happy”. “Healthy” runs the gamut from emotional and relational boundaries to physical health and anything else I think qualifies. I want to pioneer a pastoral culture where it is O.K. for pastors to not be on call 24/7, to have regular (meaning set) hours, scheduled family time and uninterrupted sabbath. I want pastors to be free to unplug from technology and cultivate a passionate devotional life that will keep them burning hot for a lifetime, not just a few years. Our churches need leaders who are fiercely in love with God and who will defend that relationship as their top priority. If we cannot reclaim pastors from the emotional abyss they currently find themselves in, then I fear that greater tragedies await the American church.
But I have great faith in our leaders. I believe that no one becomes a pastor because they want a cush job or an outstanding benefits package. I believe that people become pastors because they genuinely love God and want to compassionately care for His people. These lovers are unprepared for the battlefield ahead of them, however, and were not taught to navigate the minefields of having to say “no,” having to discipline to their flocks and how to care for their families and marriages as a top priority.
The Happy Pastor seeks to address these issues from real life experience in the field. It is possible to set healthy boundaries that allow one to have a thriving marriage, quality and quantity family time, personal health and rest. Let the journey begin!