5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Take The Pastor Job

5 reasons you shouldn't take the pastor job

Finding a job as a pastor is usually a difficult process, so when someone finally offers you one, it almost seems like a given that you should take it. However, there are some really good reasons not to accept the job offer.

Here are 5 important ones:

1. You’re desperate.

Desperation is an extremely powerful motivator. It also happens to be a really bad one. Desperation causes us to minimize the negative and maximize the positive giving an unclear picture of reality until we settle into the job.

Once reality does set in, the opposite tends to happen. We maximize the negative and minimize the positive leading to a really, really bad situation. It’s far better to settle down, stay calm, and trust in the sovereignty of God as he faithfully provides for your every need until you find the right position.

2. You’re just passing through.

Far too many pastors view job opportunities as a bridge to something else or something ‘better.’ Because of this, they’re willing to take a job they’re not passionate about or committed to. The result? Apathy. Frustration. Ineffectiveness. The list continues.

While most pastors practically experience transitional roles at some point in their ministry, going into a job with that in mind is a set-up for disappointment for both parties- the pastor and the church. It’s far better to wait for a role you could see yourself in long-term and commit to that. (*Qualifier- there’s nothing wrong with taking a job that offers future opportunities for advancement, just be content with the first role offered.)

3. You don’t fit the culture.

Culture is one of the most difficult things to understand, describe and recognize. It’s almost imperceivable until you immerse yourself in it. But culture matters. It really matters.

I was once offered a job at a church in a different city/state. The church flew us out for several days to interview, poke around and get a feeling for things. They offered the job which included a considerable raise, great benefits and a ministry ripe for growth. But, I declined their offer. Why? Because there was a clash of cultures. The things they valued, I didn’t value. The things they were most proud of were not that important to me. Great people. Great church. Different culture.

4. Your strengths don’t match the needs.

Every pastoral position requires a unique set of skills depending on a variety of factors: expectations of the leadership/congregation, the community the church is in, the size of the church, the development stage of the ministry, the culture (see above), etc.

All of these factors create a unique profile that can only be met by a unique person. The majority of jobs offered by churches are nothing close to “one size fits all.” Just the opposite, they require a fairly specific profile of personality, giftedness and experience.

5. You lack conviction for your calling.

Calling goes by many different names- passion, heart, drive. However you describe it, you’ve got to have it. Why is it so important?

Every pastor will inevitably encounter hard times. You will face obstacles and challenges. Every person called by God will find their self in a moment of opposition to their calling. (Moses, Joshua, Joseph, Nehemiah, Job, Jonah, Jesus, to name just a few.) Often, in those moments, the only thing you have to rely on is the fact that you have been called by God to complete that which he has called you to.

When you think about the position being offered, does it make your heart happy? When you consider the opportunity, does it make your brain race with possibility, does it fill your mind with exciting dreams? Most importantly, is there a sense that the very Spirit of God is leading you, guiding you, to accomplish and carry out His will?

From your experience, have you seen these to be true? What would you add to the list?

  • Matt Ward

    I would add, don’t take the job in order to “fix” their issues. I was offered a Senior/Teaching Pastor role in a church that clearly didn’t know who they were were what they wanted, serious identity/mission confusion. I was tempted to think I could take the opportunity and then lead them to resolve their problems, but eventually turned it down. Much like we often tell couples considering marriage, you are marrying the person as they are, not what you hope they become, I saw that taking the job for what I hoped it would become, or better what I thought I could make it become, was asking for trouble.

    • dpchristian

      Great analogy Matt. Do you think it changes if they specifically want you to come “fix” their issues?

      • Matt Ward

        There are a lot of variables there. Do your perceive they are willing to do what is required to fix the issues. Are they truly aware of the root cause or do they just want you to fix the symptoms? Are you up to the challenge? Is the issue the result of past leadership, and so new leadership/direction could correct it, or is it within their DNA and other leaders have tried in vain? Is it worth it? Many have been called to fix issues and although they were successful (at some level) the work required burned them out and then their successor enjoyed the fruit. Personally as I have interviewed with churches I have put a high value on a churches ability to be self-aware. Every church has issues, and certainly they wouldn’t hire someone if there wasn’t “work to be done,” but one doesn’t want to start a work on a different lane than the church, headed toward a different goal.