4 Challenges They Don’t Tell You about in Bible College
by Ty Tamasaka
I’ve had some difficult jobs and roles over my lifetime. None have been more rewarding than ministry and none have been more challenging than the ministry.
When preparing to be a pastor in Hilo, there were many friends and leaders who told my wife and I the great blessing and privilege of shepherding God’s church. Very few, if any of them, told us about the challenges and hardships that would face us up ahead.
Following my time as a pastor in Hilo, I went to Bible College with many questions. Here are 4 challenges they didn’t tell me about in Bible College, along with the lessons I’ve learned.
1 – You will make people angry no matter how godly you handle yourself. It comes with the position.
Though it’s likely most often the criticism you receive will come from your own brothers and sisters, rather than from those outside the church, you will also receive criticism from those who don’t like you and from some who barely even know you. Although criticism and angry people are inevitable in ministry, I’ve heard very little teachings in my years at Bible College preparing us to deal with angry people and criticism.
People will not always approve and that’s ok. Jesus didn’t please everyone. That’s why He was crucified! You are not called to make people happy, but you are called to be faithful to what the Lord is asking of you. Be faithful to Jesus.
2 – Not everyone will respond positively to your preaching.
This may sound basic, but it’s important to know. You may preach a message that the Lord will use to stir some people to repentance and faith, while the same message will be offensive or “too shallow” for others.
Preach the Gospel. Period. Share the message the Holy Spirit has given you from the Word of God and leave the results to Him. When Jesus preached, there were times His family thought He was crazy.
3 – You will think about quitting… often
You will think about quitting… often. You will often struggle with feeling like a failure based on the numbers at the church – you will feel like a failure when the church’s attendance and offerings decline… and they will. You will struggle with feelings of failure when you see good people leave your church.
Don’t make lasting decisions based on passing emotions. Never turn in your letter of resignation on a Monday! Jesus had to overcome thoughts of quitting at Gethsemane. He endured with the help of the Holy Spirit. So can you.
4 – You will struggle with feelings of loneliness.
You will struggle with feeling very lonely on a consistent basis. The super-Christian myth accredited to pastors makes it difficult for you to be vulnerable and honest to others about the struggles you face.
Trustworthy peers are few and far between, but they are a true blessing. Make the time to invest in and hold onto relationships with others who are walking a similar journey as you. You won’t regret it.
I’d love to hear if you have any challenges you’d like to add to this list or let me know if your experience was different.