Five years after graduating seminary, 80% will have left the ministry (Barna)…
Nation wide, 1,600 ministers are forced to resign every month (MTM)…
In the Southern Baptist Convention over 1,000 pastors are reported as being forced to resign each year, 45%+ don’t return to vocational ministry…
Leadership Magazine reports that 22.8% of all ministers will be forced out before their careers end. 67% of those affected will face forced termination more than once.
After reading those over the past two weeks, I wondered what is behind those statistics. WHY are they? I came up with several possibilities:
1. Maybe the seminarians figured out they were NOT called to ministry and they needed to find another vocation. That is a good thing.
2. Maybe the church was dysfunctional and/or perpetually conflicted. Being forced out was predictable. Note: I served one congregation where 5 of 7 pastors prior to me were forcibly terminated. All the churches I’ve served terminated previous pastors with several splitting as a result.
3. We live in a broken world where sin is rampant. This includes the membership… leadership teams… and ministers.
My answer: A passion for loving one another (John 13:35)… forgiveness (Eph 4:32)… restoration (Gal 6:1)… and reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18) has been lost in many churches. Along with this is loss of church discipline for the purpose of RESTORATION. This is true of members and staff too often.
Interestingly, many churches abhor the idea of church discipline, but will force a pastor/minister to leave the church without just cause or due process. In my little rose colored world I can’t help but wonder why in church… of all places… there is not more forgiveness, grace, mercy, compassion, reconcliation, and restoration? As one man told me at the last church I served, “I’m all about forgiving, BUT…” with that last word he invalidated the preceding statement which seems to happen often in church.
Brothers, these things ought not be! (James 3:10)