*NOTE more info can be found here: original article
1,500 hundred pastors leave the ministry every month… that is an unsustainable depletion of the population.
Lets face it your pastor has an incredibly tough job. On a daily basis he must overcome the normal stresses of life, manage the affairs of a major organization, counsel the hurting, visit the sick and shut-ins, (among other ministerial and, usually, custodial duties) and fight through the onslaught of the devil. I can not think of a more stressful profession. Pastors are the least ministered to people in our churches, and for some of them it is their fault. The great majority of pastors would accept help, if it was forthcoming. That’s where we come in. We, the members of the Church!
Here is research that we distilled from Barna, Focus on the Family, and Fuller Seminary, all of which backed up our findings, and additional information from reviewing others’ research:
+Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
+Fifty percent of pastors’ marriages will end in divorce.
Eighty percent of pastors feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastor.
+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 percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
+Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
+Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
+Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons (This is Key).
Most statistics say that 60% to 80% of those who enter the ministry will not still be in it 10 years later, and only a fraction will stay in it as a lifetime career. Many pastors-I believe over 90 percent-start off right with a true call and the enthusiasm and the endurance of faith to make it, but something happens to derail their train of passion and love for the call.
The bottom line is that no one is caring for and ministering to the pastor. He doesnt have a support structure. If he falls from the trapeze, there is no net to catch him. He doesn’t have a minister, whose sole concern is to provide soul care to him. This is just not sustainable, and it is not biblical, either.
Jesus had 12 disciples, who became his Apostles. They regularly met together, prayed together, sat in silence with each other, and shared God’s word between themselves. They had a built in support structure. They loved one another. They ministered to each other. They shared all that they had, as peers.
It wasn’t top down CEO style church leadership. It was a communion of mutually submissive leaders, washing each other’s feet in humble reverence for their common Master. This is why our pastors stop growing, because they stop stooping. The can’t grow, because they don’t bow. They hold no common master, and meet with no mutually submissive peer set, to whom they are accountable.
According to the research, most pastors report having no close friends, let alone a best friend. Can you imagine having to trudge through this life with the weight of an entire congregation on your shoulders, and have to do it with no friends, all on your own. Yes, God’s spirit will refresh you, but it is written, “It is not good for man to be alone”. Your pastor may often remind you that a “threefold cord is not easily broken,” but does he really have those threads embedded into the very fabric of his life?
Pastors, please believe me. It is okay to ask for help. You need it. You have the same hurts, habits, and hangups as the rest of us. The difference is we don’t get fired or burned by our christian brothers, if we admit it. Please don’t let fear or pride stand between you and getting access to the tools, training, and refreshment that you need. Remember, you can only give what you have. So, when you are at your best and brightest, you can be give the congregation your best and brightest. Otherwise, you are limping along at half capacity, and the church you lead will eventually suffer.