11 Confessions of a Pastor in 2020

11 Confessions of a Pastor in 2020

We’ve all come up with many words to describe 2020. And no matter how many words we tend to deploy in trying to describe this year, none of them seem to capture it fully.

2020 has been an unprecedented, unpredictable, disruptive dumpster fire of a year.

As a pastor writing to pastors, I wanted to take a moment and put words to what I’ve been feeling and, in the process, maybe put words to what you’re feeling. And at the very least, maybe our misery will have some company for a brief time.

Here’s the thing, I’m sure you, like me, want to move forward and help your church move forward. But we can’t forget to deal with what 2020 has done to us because if we don’t, 2020 will continue dealing with us.

11 Confessions of a Pastor in 2020

In no particular order….

  1. I am tired of hearing and using the word unprecedented. First of all, this virus isn’t all that unprecedented. There have been others. But at the same time, this has been pretty unprecedented to many of us. But can we not find a different word?!
  2. This epidemic has angered me because of how, in my eyes, it stopped our momentum in its tracks at the church I serve. 2019 was a year of rebuilding (and we GREW 25% in the process) and 2020 was supposed to be a year of relentlessly building on the momentum we had heading into 2020. You know the rest of the story.
  3. Early on, I broke down in tears. Now, bitterness has been hardening my heart. I’ve begun praying to God specifically that I don’t end up with more bitterness and pessimism toward people when this is all said and done.
  4. Loving people has been difficult. Seeing people’s posts on social media regarding this political season has been disheartening. For some, politics are an idol. That’s been frustrating to witness. My first reaction has been annoyance that creeps into bitterness. The Holy Spirit has been showing me that I haven’t been choosing to love people. He’s been showing me that grace and truth are hard but necessary partners in this thing called life.
  5. Criticism in this season has hurt more than normal. I’m finding that the effects of 2020 aren’t one-offs that come and go, they are cumulative. So when the pile-on continues growing (because 2020 keeps happening), the weight of criticism is added to the top of the heap.
  6. I’ve been dealing with brain fog… and it’s irritating. I don’t feel creative. It’s hard to have clear thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I’m just along for the ride. Google says it’s a result of anxiety and stress. Makes sense.
  7. Prayer has been a roller coaster with more valleys than peaks. I don’t know what else to say. I don’t want this to be the case, but it’s how it has been for much of this year.
  8. I’ve been saying I should for two years, but I FINALLY made an appointment with a counselor. Apparently, it takes a global pandemic, social unrest, and ever-evolving leadership challenges to get me to listen to my own advice TO MYSELF. There’s no point in judging myself for this, though. The appointment is made and I’m glad it’s finally happening.
  9. The political games in America are exhausting. Heck, I enjoy politics. I’ve told my wife that I would totally run for office one day. But she won’t let me and that’s probably for the best.
  10. I’ve pondered what it would be like doing something else quite a bit. But God called me to this. Not just when it’s amazing. Not just when I see Him working. Not just when things seem to be clicking. But through it all.
  11. I’ve begun making changes and I’m excited. I’m getting my early mornings back. We bought a different home, sold our current home, and with that, I’ll get a home office again. As I mentioned above, I’m going to start seeing a counselor. And more changes are on the horizon.

What would your list include?

If you were to put words to what 2020 has been for you, what would your list include?

We do this in leadership all the time. We call it defining reality. What if we were to do this for ourselves? My hunch is that it could help.

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.

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