Aside from coaches and referees, perhaps no one receives more unsolicited advice on how to do their jobs than pastors. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about who pastors are and what they should be doing. Some of these opinions are completely off base. There's no better recipe for ministry failure than trying to fulfill everyone's expectations. On the other hand, I've come to see a silver lining in some of the most common stereotypes people have of pastors. Let me explain how three of these stereotypes have actually helped me focus on the soul of my calling.

1. "Pastors don't have to work hard."

A hard-driving businessman, about my age, looks at me with half a grin. "Must be nice," he says, "to work only one day a week." Then he laughs. I know—it's just a joke. Hardy har har. But he says this a lot.

Underneath the cloak of a joke lies the naked truth: He thinks he works harder than I do. Not only does he work more hours ...

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