Even if you go to a church where your pastor seems to suddenly appear seconds before the start of the service, he was probably meeting, talking and praying with people all morning long. But these are not merely things to be done, they are part and parcel of the pastor’s worship. As Romans 12:1 says, spiritual service is worship, and for the pastor that includes doing all of the things that need done on a Sunday morning before the worship service begins.
For believers the Lord’s Day worship service is the centerpiece of the week. It is the time when they gather with their church family to praise and worship their King. It is a time of sweet fellowship and of edification. The cares of the world are left behind, songs of praise are sung, prayer requests and praise reports are shared, and spiritual batteries are recharged. But there is one believer in the church who experiences Sundays much different from all of the rest, the preaching pastor. For a pastor it is equally a sweet time of worship and fellowship, but it feels much different.
I have had the unique experience of attending worship, as an unbeliever, a new believer, a faithful church member, a leader in the church, and now as the preaching pastor of a church. While I long suspected that a pastor experiences Sunday differently, now I know just how differently. Let me share a few of the differences with you.
1. It is incredibly busy.
There is an old Commodores song whose chorus is “that’s why I’m easy like Sunday morning.” This song was clearly not written by a pastor (least of all a small church pastor). When I get to the church, there are a thousand things on my mind, is the A/C going to be running, are there fresh batteries in the wireless mic, is there any thrash that might need picked up, are the chairs straight etc. etc.
While in modern evagelo-speak the person who leads the singing is typically called the “worship leader” in all actuality the pastor is the worship leader because worship is so much more than just singing. As the one who leads the church in worship your pastor sees everything that may distract the congregation from focusing on God, and seeks to remove them all before you notice them too.
But there is so much more to pay attention to than things that may distract from worship. Sunday morning is often filled with impromptu meetings and ad hoc counseling opportunities and other sundry minor ministry tasks. Your pastor loves you, he loves all of the people of the church and he loves the ministry of the church, and when a person or ministry needs a few minutes of attention, he is gladly going to spend all of the time he can on each and every need. He may not get to them all, but the ones he does keep him very busy. Even if you go to a church where your pastor seems to suddenly appear seconds before the start of the service, he was probably meeting, talking and praying with people all morning long.