Being a young pastor doesn’t mean that you have to be miserable, but it may mean that you have to deal with some unrealistic expectations.
As I have talked with young pastors and reflected back on my own experiences I have found a good clarifying question to ask:
If you didn’t work here, would you worship here?
Understanding that there is no perfect situation, is the church that pays you the church you would attend if you weren’t getting paid. This is an important question to answer for several reasons here are two.
If you wouldn’t worship there you are probably fairly embarrassed by something. Maybe your church not only sings but does all the motions to Lord I Lift Your Name on High or the pastor breaks out into song during the sermon. Or maybe it is something more substantive like theology or lack of leadership. Whatever it is it prevents you from fully serving.
You don’t invite your friends and neighbors. You probably don’t try to engage in making change. The embarrassment makes you withdraw, and greatly limits your leadership.
When you struggle to get through a Sunday service, but stay on staff you are obviously lacking commitment. Which means that you are checking job boards and entertaining all sorts of other opportunities. Nothing wrong with exploring options if you are supposed to move on, but that discontentment makes any and every opportunity look appealing.
More damaging than you passing out your résumé is what this does to your current leadership. Your discontentment is contagious and damaging to those around you.
If you come to a point where you can’t say you would worship where you serve then you need to start taking steps towards change. Either help change the situation or change by removing yourself as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Staying is not only causing damage to the community, you are in fact damaging yourself.