Though some think being a pastor is a dream job, it is actually an extremely difficult and stressful occupation. It's not like a thirty minute Sunday sermon earns your salary. It's not a simple one day a week job, answer a few phone calls, count the offering, pay the bills and head to the golf course.
I remember growing up in a small, family church in northwestern Pennsylvania. It seemed every Sunday after church we would gather around the table to eat roast beef, mashed potatoes and more often than not we roasted the preacher. I think a lot of criticism could have been cleared up had we realized just how tough the pastor’s job was.
Blessed is the preacher who has a considerate and cooperative board. One board member prayed, “Lord, you keep the pastor humble and we will keep him poor.” I read from very troubling statistics I’d like to share from The Church Mafia website:
The bad news is this: pastors today are faced with more stress, more problems and more challenges than ever before. Statistics today are frightening. More and more pastors are leaving the ministry. Why? Because they are human, and can't everything that everyone expects them to be. We, the church, are expecting pastors to be many things that they aren't called to be. Instead of allowing God to define their ministry, we've created our own definition. This definition takes him from being our spiritual leader and protector, and made the pastor into our baby sitter and servant. Take a look at these alarming statistics:
Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
Four thousand new churches begin each year, but over seven thousand churches close.
Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.
Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
Eighty percent of pastor' wives feel left out and unappreciated by the church members.
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
Eighty percent of pastors' wives feel pressured to do things and be something in the church that they are really not.
The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.
The bad news is that your pastor, like pastors everywhere is at risk of becoming just another statistic. He is expected to do so much, be so much, and give so much that many times there is nothing left for him. We, the church, can't afford to keep losing pastors to burnout and contention. What Can You Do?
If you have a pastor who loves his sheep and preaches the truth…please love him and pray much for him and try to have reasonable expectations for him.