Friday, January 11, 2008

Misguided expectations?

One of the things that I have noticed is that the things that are most stressful to me as a pastor deal with misguided expectations. Yes, doing a funeral is busy, it requires work - but it isn't innately stressful. I find I get more stressed out when there are strange expectations upon me that I really have no way of expecting or accomplishing.

So I will ask a question (which will get few answers, but we will see). Pastors, what misguided expectation do you find to be most stressful to you? Lay-folk, what misguided expectation do you see most often placed upon your pastor?

I guess I should answer my own question. What stresses me out the most? For me - it is that I as pastor will grow the church. That somehow I will be the main force to invite new people into the place. And really - that doesn't make a lot of sense. Let's say every day of the week I invited six people to come to church, - that's what, 36 monday-saturday. Um. . . each family invites 1 over the course of the week, and that's more than what I've done. And if I am talking to 36 non-church goers a week (and let's face it, if a pastor starts talking to them, it's not going to be a casual, in passing, "I go to church here, how about you come on Sunday" 10 second invite, you will be talking about some depth) - when am I getting stuff done?

The reason I find this stressful is it can completely skew what I am to be doing (so it can devalue the work I do, or people simply don't even think about what I do) and put up expectations where people are disappointed, perhaps even upset. And I find I get stressed out by disappointing people.

Now, thankfully, 3 and a half years of teaching have helped with this - but it still pops up - the whole "the Church will grow because of what someone else does" attitude - but we are growing - hence, it is less stressful for me. That's the whole attitude/expectation that causes the most stress.