Why That First Pastorate Is The Toughest

Fresh out of Bible college, Jerry begins his first pastorate with freshman excitement. People, preparation, preaching, and potluck dinners-pretty much what he expected for his opening months in this Iowa farming community. Yet before his first anniversary as pastor. Jerry walks over a high bridge outside of town and thinks jumping might be the easiest way out. Fortunately, he concludes that a quick resignation and a change of employment is all he needs.

The first pastorate can be difficult. Certainly not all pastors contemplate suicide in their first church. There are the born naturals who, right from the start, quarterback that first congregation with Joe Montana ease. But for many of us, the first time around in ministry is especially tough.

This fact caught me by surprise.

I had the privilege of being raised in a parsonage. I cut my teeth on the hymnal and was 10 years old before I realized that not everyone went to church three times a week. Daily I observed my father in action as a ...

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