The song goes… “In the jungle, the mighty jungle… the lion sleeps tonight…” But in the Scripture it is written, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8-9b)
For years I have wanted to minister to two groups of people; Hurting Ministers (Not just pastors) and Struggling Churches. As part of my process of researching this possibility for Onesiphorus Ministries I came upon these statistics from the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Ledership Development and Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal (Click here and here). These have to do with churches and pastors… and they were quite interesting. They affirmed for me the need to reach out, encourage, and build up those two groups.
70% of pastors are so stressed they regularly consider leaving the ministry. 35-40% of pastors leave the ministry, usually after just five years. 100% of pastors have had a friend that has left the ministry due to burnout, conflict in the church, or moral failure.
89% of pastors have considered leaving the ministry. 57% said they would leave if a better opportunity were available, including secular work. Most surveys state that only 60 to 80% of those who enter the ministry will be in it 10 years later and only a fraction will make it a lifetime career.
71% said they battle depression on a weekly basis. 50% of pastors marriages will end in divorce. 70% of pastors said they do not have a close personal friend. 90% of pastors are worn out on a daily or weekly basis.
Only 23% said they felt content or happy on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their home, and in the church they serve.
23% of pastors admit that they have either been fired… forced to resign… or left under pressure. When asked who forced them to resign, the answer was… “A small faction of people in the church.” When asked if the church was told why they were asked to resign, 63% said the church was not given a reason. When asked if the church had asked another or previous minister to resign, 62% said it had forced another or previous minister to resign.
When asked if they had it to do over again would they enter the ministry, 86% of pastors said they would!
What does all this mean? There are two groups that need ministry, encouragement, support, and help… pastors/ministers and churches. Something is wrong when these kind of statistics are reported year after year by research groups.
Satan’s goal is to divide and conquer. He wants to sow seeds of discord within the body of Christ. He loves it when there is division and disharmony in the church. And too many times we give him a stick to beat us with!
Sooner or later it has to stop. Ministers need to stop acting in an unchristian manner and churches must do the same thing. Sooner or later both must determine to come together… as family that loves one another… to work through whatever issues there are for restoration… so that God is glorified!
Otherwise Romans 2:24 will need to be hung over the door of every Sunday School Room… Choir Room… Pastor’s Study… and Church Exit. On the contrary Jesus said something important in John 13:35… “By this all men will know you are my Disciples… if you have love for one another.”
The sooner is now. Later must never come. It begins with one person… Me. It begins with one person… You. As it is written in Philippians 1:27… “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.” Onesiphorus is a good model for us all to follow…