Pastoral ministry is not the only vocation which tends to be idealized by young men. In a recent post, Seth Kravitz (CEO of took business bloggers to task for over-romanticizing entrepreneurship. “Yes,” he says, “starting a company can be a wonderful experience. It can be empowering, life altering, etc….But what so many business bloggers forget to mention is everything else: stress, anxiety, doubt, heartbreak, sleepless nights, emotional roller coasters, destruction to relationships, lost friends, embarrassment, etc…”

Kravitz lists 20 statements, and challenges would-be entrepreneurs, “How many can you answer ‘Yes’ to?” As I read them, I couldn’t help wondering what a similar list for would-be pastors would look like.

Here are Kravitz’s reality-checking statements. How many of them are transferable to pastoral ministry? What would you add or take away? Which would you qualify or amend?

  1. I am willing to lose everything.
  2. I embrace failure.
  3. I am always willing to do tedious work.
  4. I can handle watching my dreams fall apart.
  5. Even if I am puking my guts out with the flu and my mother passed away last week, there is nothing that will keep me from being ready to work.
  6. My relationship/marriage is so strong, nothing work-related could ever damage it.
  7. My family doesn’t need an income.
  8. This is a connected world and I don’t need alone time. I want to be reachable 24/7 by my employees, customers, and business partners.
  9. I like instability and I live for uncertainty.
  10. I don’t need a vacation for years at a time.
  11. I accept that not everyone likes my ideas and that it’s quite likely that many of my ideas are garbage.
  12. If I go into business with friends or family, I am okay with losing that relationship forever if things end badly.
  13. I don’t have existing anxiety issues and I handle stress with ease.
  14. I am willing to fire or lay off anyone no matter what.
  15. I am okay with being socially cut–off and walking away from my friends when work beckons.
  16. I love naysayers and I won’t explode or give up when a family member, friend, customer, business associate, partner, or anyone for that matter tells me my idea, product, or service is a terrible idea, a waste of time, will never work, or that I must be a moron.
  17. I accept the fact that I can do everything right, can work 70 hours a week for years, can hire all the right people, can arrange amazing business deals, and still lose everything in a flash because of something out of my control.
  18. I accept that I may hire people that are much better at my job than I am and I will get out of their way.
  19. I realize and accept that I am wrong ten times more than I am right.
  20. I am willing to walk away if it doesn’t work out.

Picture: 2008 © Andy Dean. Image from

  • Anonymous

    Although I knew the burden of the ministry theoretically before I commenced, it’s much more of a difficult and complex experience than I every thought or imagined.