Because of my desire to help hurting, wounded, and struggling pastors, an article in The Alabama Baptist caught my attention. Tim Peters wrote 10 common reasons pastors quit too soon (Click the previous for his explanation of each). His points were:
1) Discouragement, Fifty percent of pastors report feeling so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could.
2) Failure, Seventy percent of pastors say they have a lower self-image now than when they started.
3) Loneliness, Seventy percent of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.
4) Moral Failure, Thirty-three percent of pastors confess having been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior.
5) Financial Pressure, Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
6) Anger, Each year, 4,000 new churches begin and 7,000 churches close.
7) Burnout, Ninety percent of pastors report working between 55 and 75 hours per week.
8) Physical Health, Seventy-five percent of pastors report a significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry.
9) Marriage/Family Problems, Eighty percent of pastors believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
10) To Busy/Driven, Ninety percent of pastors feel they are inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands.
His ten reasons could be described as… LIFE (From my perspective, while accurate, not nuanced enough). His suggestions could describe the business world where, by comparison, pastors have it easier. My thoughts of why pastors leave are different from Mr. Peters, probably because I’ve been a pastor local churches while he served in church media communications… the two calls are worlds apart.
Every vocation is difficult, ministry is no different. But how issues are handled in church should be different. Outside the church it is dog eat dog. Only the strong survive. The ends justify the means. The goal is to win at all costs. All that matters is the bottom line (Profits). But in the church there is supposed to be a different dynamic at work.
But sadly, too often churches and staff function, act, and look like the world. “Playing the game” as seen on Celebrity Apprentice and Survivor has made its way into the church. Deception, manipulation, and misrepresentation have taken the place of love, compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation in intrapersonal relations. And we wonder why revival tarries… why people outside the church won’t listen to our message… why churches are dying…
Monday, God willing, I’ll suggest another perspective of why pastors leave…