10 Things You Forget About Pastors

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I had the chance to preach at Grace this past Sunday. What a gift it was.

apparently, I said something I thought was funny

And what a hard week it was.

Every time I get the call to preach, I forget just how much work it is to prepare until the Wednesday before I preach on Sunday. It’s at that point, when I’m on my 5th rewrite, my 10th bottom line, and my 4th, “I have no idea what I’m going to say” thought for the week.

In the process of preparing and delivering the sermon yesterday, I realized that there are a few things that people often forget about preachers. In fact, I’ve found exactly 10 things that are often forgotten.

10 Things You Forget about Pastors

1. Preaching is a lot of work.

In fact, it takes me between 20-30 hours to prepare my sermon. On top of that, I still have my normal, weekly responsibilities. Last time I checked, adding 30 hours to a work week was a pretty significant amount. The best sermons take time to marinate. Which means that if you enjoyed the sermon…it probably took longer than normal to prepare.

2. Preaching is stressful.

If you mess up in your job, your boss might get upset with you. If we mess up…God is upset with us. I’d rather get the stink eye from your boss than mine any day. :)

3. Preaching has a lot of moving parts.

We feel the weight of preaching the Scriptures faithfully, in an engaging way, every time. We have to balance humor, theology, and application, making sure to pepper in just the right number of illustrations, but not too many so that people remember the illustration and not the Truth. That’s a lot to balance on a small stage.

4. We don’t always have it all figured out.

We don’t know it all. Or have all of the answers. Or have every truth we’re preaching on mastered. Growing up, I assumed that my pastor knew everything. Now that I’m in that role, I realize that we don’t.

5. We get worn out, too.

Delivering a sermon is physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. Expect that we’ll be pretty zapped afterwards. After all, “they” say that delivering a sermon is equivalent to 8 hours of work.

6. If you tell us some important detail on a Sunday morning, we’ll probably forget it.

Feel free to tell us, but follow that up with an email. We’ll thank you later. It’s not that we don’t care in the moment…it’s that our minds are racing, and we often have hundreds of thoughts and ideas we’re wrestling with.

7. Preaching is a gift, but it doesn’t always feel that way.

Some days, it feels more like work. I’d love to say that every time we preach, the heavens open up and God gives us great joy in the preparation and in the delivery. But I’d be lying…sometimes it doesn’t feel like a gift.

8. Criticisms need to wait.

Seriously, if you have a bone to pick, call us on Tuesday. We’ll be in a much better spot to handle criticism then, than on your way out the door on Sunday.

9. We see you texting.

Don’t act like you’ve listened to our sermon…we know better.

10. We have to do it all again next week.

Most preachers preach every week. In fact, most preachers preach on Sunday, Sunday night, and then again on Wednesday night. The work of a pastor is never done.


Have you ever preached? Do any of these resonate with you?





Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kevin Vawter

    I’ve never been called to preach a sermon, but thank you for helping me to understand what my pastors go through to prepare for a service. One note, I don’t often text in church but I do take notes during the entire sermon on my You Version app in my Bible and sometimes I wonder what people think I am doing. Kind of wish there was a special app on my phone or iPad that could let those people know I’m not ignoring the message lol! I have notes from the last 5 years and I love to go back to them

  • bernard

    Seriously dude, if these are the top 10 hardest things about your job, then you are still pretty pampered compared to a lot of public relational service jobs, whereas it is expected to work a minimum of 60-80 hours per week, as well as many secular jobs require us to juggle a plethora of tasks , just like you do in your #3 statement . Multi tasking is part of every job these days, so don’t complain about it.

    As for God being your boss and having to answer to him, I’d still rather answer to him than have the stress of having to answer to not only a boss , but also a health department, a sanitation department, a license inspector, both state and federal jurisdictions, not to mention some 300+ clients. Face it dude, compared to that of the secular world, you having to “answer” to your own conviction is easily downplayed.

    And lastly while I’m sorry you have to “do it again all next week”, the majority of us get to rise and shine and enjoy the opportunity of doing it all again tomorrow, with the baited breath of all those that we have to answer to , which I mentioned prior, breathing down our necks.

    • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

      Hey Bernard,
      Seems like you’re pretty upset at pastors. I didn’t mean to strike a nerve. Sorry if I stirred up some junk with this post. I was just trying to help people see the variety of hats and demands on pastors. In no way was I trying to downplay the work other people do. Hope it didn’t come across that way.

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