Having Fun as a Pastor? My Recent Years…


In recent days my relationship to God has been especially joyous. Conditions are good and that helps. But I relish my days. They are full of, should I say it? Fun. I don't feel the weight of the world on my shoulders; I have given back the responsibility to change the world to God. He has relieved me of my self-importance. I can't stop leading, however; I step up and take over when I am needed. Daily I prod and probe people all over the globe through various forms of communication.

How wonderful it all is, "for God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Phil. 2:13). God has given me contentment. I think of the apostle Paul when he was in prison and penned,

I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

I am happy doing with others work that does not grab the limelight. God has given me the desire to invest in people's lives and the power to govern my ego. These things please him and they please me.

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God is pleased when we accept what he has made us to be. I spent much of my life trying to be someone else: the successful pastor, teacher, speaker, or leader. I was "wearing other people's faces," as May Sarton put it.[1] I resonate with what Parker Palmer wrote about himself and his work as a college president and teacher:

Today I serve education from outside the institution where my pathology is less likely to get triggered—rather than from the inside, where I waste energy on anger instead of investing it in hope. This pathology, which took me years to recognize, is my tendency to get so conflicted with the way people use power in institutions that I spend more time being angry at them than I spend on my real work. Once I understood that the problem was "in here" as well as "out there," the solution seemed clear: I needed to work independently, outside of institutions, detached from the stimuli that trigger my knee-jerk response. Having done just that for over a decade now, my pathology no longer troubles me: I have no one to blame but myself for whatever the trouble may be and am compelled to devote my energies to the work I am called to do![2]

It has been ten years since I left the world of organized religion. I attend meetings and work in ways that I never did as a pastor. I have found an interesting life on the other side of church life, the "I'm here just to be here and serve" side. I get a great deal of joy out of doing little things for God. I love to think about Francis Schaeffer's little volume No Little People.[3] I may now know what he meant. Jesus himself said, "He who is faithful in very little is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10, RSV). Can someone who was faithful in much learn to be faithful in little? I think so. Indeed, this leader is a work in progress.


[1] May Sarton, "Now I Become Myself," Collected Poems (1930-1973) (New York: Norton, 1974), 156, quoted in Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000), 9.

[2] Palmer, 28-29.

[3] Francis A. Schaeffer, No Little People (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1974).

 Written by Bill Hull

 Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.