Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Job Satisfaction Survey: Preachers Rank First!

A recent study published by Christian Science Monitor ranked the ten happiest jobs, and "clergy" ranked first. This study certainly reflects the way I feel about preaching. I enjoy what I do, and I feel grateful that the members of the Woodland Hills congregation
support me to do this work full time.

I grew up in an era when many preachers were poorly treated by churches. Financial support was often minimal (based on the lowest salary of the members!), health insurance and retirement were non-existent, and churches expected preachers to move every few years. Those who work in the word of my generation owe a real debt to those who sacrificed so much for the sake of the gospel. But this has changed in my lifetime. Preachers are much more adequately supported, and churches are keeping preachers much longer (at least this is my observation).

But even though these matters have improved, it may still seem surprising that preachers would rank first in job satisfaction. There are certainly more lucrative professions. Salaries and benefits don't tell the full story, though. In his book The 8th Habit, Steven Covey says that there are four key factors in finding your calling in life:

  • It is something you have the unique skills to do
  • It is something you are passionate about
  • It is something that serves others
  • It is something that others are willing to pay you to do
Preaching, like the other jobs listed in the survey, offers tremendous fulfillment of all four of these factors. Lots of people are highly skilled and well paid. But how many people do something that genuinely serves others, and that they are passionate about? I think that is what sets preaching apart.

Not everyone is suited for preaching, and any work of service that gives God glory is just as important (1 Peter 4:10-11). And there is no question that some preachers probably are just collecting a paycheck. But I truly hope that you are in a profession that gives you the deep joy of God-centered service that ministry in the word does me.

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