Articles that share thirteen things or "secrets" seem popular lately. I'm not sure, but I think they started with Reader's Digest, or maybe they were just popularized there. Anyway, it made me wonder if there are thirteen secrets that pastors don't/won't share. Below you can read thirteen secrets I thought of off the top of my head, although to call them "secrets" may not be quite right, since I'm sharing them with you. Also, I found it hard to be as snarky or whiny as many of the "13 Secrets..." lists I've seen, which, I think, is a good thing....
- Sermon feedback is always appreciated, even when it's negative. I want to be the best preacher I can be, and feedback helps. I may not always follow your advice, especially if it contradicts other advice I've received, but I will listen.
- Sometimes I preach a sermon I'm not satisfied with. I won't tell you this, though, because I've had too many people tell me that a sermon I thought was lousy contained just what they needed to hear that day.
- It's hard for me to talk about giving to the church. I know how much of the church's budget goes to my salary.
- At the same time, I do want you to know that raising a family on a pastor's salary is extremely difficult.
- When I do talk about money, and say that you will be blessed by giving, it's not just lip service. I really do believe that those who give generously find greater happiness. I've experienced this myself.
- I think about leaving the ministry. A lot. But I don't think I ever will.
- When you call or stop by and I assure you that you're not interrupting, some of the time I'm lying. However, I'd rather have you interrupt me occasionally than not hear from you at all.
- I probably will not compliment you on your appearance, no matter how wonderful your new haircut is or how fabulous your new outfit is, because too many boundary training workshops have convinced me that just about any such comment can be interpreted as sexual harassment. I won't initiate a hug with you for the same reason, although I will gladly return a hug that you initiate.
- I'd rather officiate at a funeral than a wedding. Many of my clergy colleagues feel this way. Weddings are fine, but more ministry happens at a funeral.
- I love my pastoral identity when it makes relationship-building easier and when it allows people to feel comfortable sharing their deepest questions with me.
- I hate my pastoral identity when it keeps you from inviting me over for a beer.
- Finding a balance between family and ministry is a struggle. Family plans - even trips - are often sacrificed because of something happening at church. Likewise, ministry is sometimes forced to take a backseat so that I can deal with issues at home. Don't like it? Join a church that requires its clergy to be celibate.*
- I am passionate about the gospel and the life to which God calls us, even though there are times when I feel like a complete failure when it comes to living that life myself.
(*my attempt to inject some of the whiny snarkiness of the "13 Secrets" genre into my list.)