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1 Timothy 3:1 (HCSB) —1This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”

Ministry has always been tough. Just ask the Apostle Paul, Timothy, Barnabas, Moses or Jesus. However, modern day ministers are under what I call “the expectation assault.” Over my almost two decades in ministry I have made many great friends who share my calling to serve God’s people.  My observation over these years has been that “the expectation assault” devastates our ranks.

Part of the issue is the internet. Thanks to the World Wide Web, Christians today have unlimited access to great teachers, leaders, authors, preachers, and theologians. The result is that believers today expect much more from their local ministers. Below I have composed a list that sums up the expectations many ministers feel compelled to meet daily.

1)   Great Preacher

2)   Great Friend

3)   Great Father or Mother

4)   Great Theologian

5)   Great Thinker

6)   Great Leader

7)   Great Administrator

8)   Great Fund Raiser

9)   Great Comforter

10)  Great Therapist

11)  Great Mediator

12)  Great Role Model

13)  Great Community Organizer

14)  Great Teacher

15)  Compassionate Caregiver

16)  Great Scholar

17)  Great Author

18)  Great Blogger

19)  Great Counselor

20)  Great Website Developer

21)  Great Evangelist

22)  Dynamic

23)  Engaging

24)  Funny

25)  Firm

26)  Loving

27)  Available 24/7

28)  Generous to the point of poverty

29)  Sacrificial to the point of death

30)  Mission Leader

31)  Meeting Moderator

32)  Technical Specialist

33)  Carpenter/Handyman

34)  Groundskeeper

35)  Janitor

36)  Great Psychologist

37)  Expert on World Religions

38)  Master of Apologetics

39)  Master of Languages, especially the easy ones like Greek and Hebrew

40)  Special Event Coordinator

41)  Child Development Expert

42)  Mind Reader/Mentalist

43)  Marriage/Relationship Expert

44)  Relentless Reader

45) Great Psychiatrist

46) Social Media Guru

47)  Community Figure- Don’t miss a local sports game even if your kids don’t play; someone from the church has a child playing. Don’t miss a city council meeting, rotary or lions club gathering either. You need to find time to coach little league and soccer too. People in the community need to see you!

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Pastors frequently confide in me and confess how much pressure they feel. They hear people say, “I wish you were more dynamic like Matt Chandler.” Then the next person says “man that Paul Shepherd guy is hilarious, you should tell more jokes.” The following week someone hands them a John Maxwell book and says “You should read this. I think it will really help your leadership skills.” That is followed by, “you know more people would read our blog if you would work harder on your writing skills.” “Pastor, have you ever heard of John Piper? Man that guy is deep! You should study more so you can preach like that!” Then someone says, “you know, you should write a book.” Then while updating the church Facebook, your minister sees a post you made about some other great speaker, author, or scholar’s podcast you just can’t live without. However, they also notice that you have said nothing at all about their local ministry. This constant “expectation assault” is something every minister I know battles.

To the church let me lovingly say, STOP IT! God expects less! To the weary, lonely minister, let me just say no matter what you think others expect from you today, God expects less. This is what I think God expects from His ministers…

1)   Love God

2)   Love People

3)   Use whatever Spiritual Gifts you have been given by God to do the two things above.

That’s it… stop trying to be everything to everyone. Stop worrying about all the expectations. God expects less, and when you strive to meet only God’s expectations, you will actually accomplish more! Be blessed, be encouraged, and be content with who God has made you to be today!