By: David Sheldon
Recently, I wrote about the 3 benefits to working at your home church. You can read the full post by going here. Today, I want to write about the 3 cons of working at your home church.
Every pastor faces numerous frustrations on a weekly basis. From conflict to disappointments, pastors see the worst in people and have to find a way to push forward. Being at your home church is no different, in fact, the frustrations may start sooner. Two cons to returning home that I have noticed are:
- Lack of respect
It is often said that if you go back to your home church, people will treat you like a kid. In my experience, that is true. It’s not true of the whole church, but is certainly true of some. Honestly, I do not think they mean to do it, but it is just natural for them to see me as one of the teens or just another church member. I cannot tell you how often I am referred to as “David”, rather than “Pastor David”. The words are not a big deal, I honestly don’t care if they call me “Pastor”; it’s the attitude that comes with it that frustrates me. Because my students remember me from when I was in high school and they were kids, they are more prone to backtalk or criticize. Because parents remember me from being my youth leaders, they like to tell me how to do things.
I often have to remember to take criticism humbly; to think on it long enough to learn from it, but then discard it with the evening trash. If all the church knows you as is a Pastor, it is much easier to be treated as such.
However, I do not want you to think it is all like this. There is a man in the church who encourages me every time he opens his mouth. I grew up with his sons. If anyone has a right to treat me like a kid, it’s Terry. Normally, he refers to me as “Pastor”, but occasionally, he will forget and just call me David, which is totally fine. Every time, he hangs his hand, shakes it in shame, and apologizes. I have told him numerous times that it doesn’t matter, but he continues to hold the office of pastor, even a young youth pastor, in a very high respect. It’s people like that that keep me going.
- Conflict of interests
Another difficulty in returning to your home church is that, if your family is still there, there will be conflict of interests. My dad is the audio/visual supervisor and has been for 30 years. He stays current on church media and technology and has done a great job keeping Freedom modern. He taught me church media when I was in seventh grade and I have loved it ever since. I know I am biased, because he is my dad, but truthfully, he is one of the most humble and helpful people I know. He is every pastor’s dream of a tech guy! He does what he is asked, he makes it look and sound good, and he only offers opinions when needed or asked for. He is a true servant.
However, several men work with him in the sound room. They are not as easy to work with and are certainly not humble about their skills. I am not able to confront them, nor to even explain what we are looking for because my dad is up there. The issue is not with him, but I do not want to cause any conflict in our family by possibly upsetting him. If there is an issue, one of the other pastors has to handle it. It just makes things a bit more difficult.
Overall, if you have the opportunity to serve at your home church, you should consider yourself blessed and valued. Understand that if you take the position, there will be unique challenges that you will face, but you will be rewarded with helping your church grow towards Jesus and reach more people.
David Sheldon is currently the student pastor at Freedom Baptist Church in Goldsboro, NC. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Piedmont International University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Biblical Studies from the same.