When he was growing up, my husband’s teachers told him he would either be a pastor or the president. You wouldn’t think those two careers would be interchangeable, but there are a lot of similarities between church work and politics.
First, the individual and his family are in the public eye. To what degree depends on the type of position and the number of people looking to you for leadership.
Second, there is a lot of politeness. Whether or not you like the person you are talking to, you still have to work with them, be polite, and attempt to keep them at least nominally happy.
Third, it will be impossible to achieve #2 with every single person. Some people will be thrilled with the choices you make, while others will be frustrated. It’s just a fact of life in politics and pastoring.
Thankfully, there is one BIG difference between the two. I’m a pretty big cynic when it comes to politics, so my stance on this is probably biased. But within the church, God-willing, pastors will be paying attention to the big picture more than their own career advancement. I know that my husband spends a lot of time caring for the souls of people, and his work is primarily altruistic. Politicians, by and large, begin from a place of altruism, but as they get caught up in playing the games they have to play to get elected, get funding, and keep their approval rating from going south, they have to make primarily selfish decisions.
I’m very thankful to be a pastor’s wife, not a politician’s wife. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, especially when we watch Brothers and Sisters (one of our favorite shows). If you aren’t a fan of it, one of the characters is married to a senator who constantly makes choices that advance his career that end up hurting his wife. And I can’t imagine what it must be like to be married to someone like Elliot Spitzer (our former state’s former governor).
I know there are exceptions to the rule in any profession. But in the field of politics it seems like the exception has become the norm. At least in the church, the basic assumption is still that you can trust the pastor. And that is a very good thing.