Another Pastor Bites The Dust

A few months ago a prominent pastor was let go from the church he planted. This past Sunday another prominent pastor stepped down.

Pete Wilson started an amazing church in Tennessee. He has written multiple books, and has seen God do amazing work. He built a church where, “No perfect people are allowed.”

On Sunday he stepped down because in his own words, “I’m tired. I’m broken.”

Reading about it Sunday I felt heartbroken.

I don’t want to see any pastor step down. I hate that he is hurting. I don’t have a lot of answers. I don’t know his full story. I’m sure there are things we will never know about what led to his decision.

Pete did say, “Most of you in this church only experience what I do on Sundays, especially those of you who watch online. You just see me when I kind of come up here on Sundays but the reality is as leader and the pastor of a church, what happens in between those Sundays is just as important and it requires a lot of leadership and it requires a lot of leadership energy. And leaders in any realm of life, leaders who lead on empty don’t lead well and for some time now I’ve been leading on empty. And so I believe that the best thing for me to do is to step aside from Cross Point and so I am officially resigning as the pastor of Cross Point Church,”

I am truly sad.

This came on the heals of another pastor I know who is going through intense personal struggles. It feels like every where I turn pastors who are helping broken people are becoming more broken themselves.

Just like it’s not the pastor’s fault if a church member sins, it is not a church member’s fault if a pastor struggles. With that in mind I don’t think church people are responsible for a pastor’s struggle.

At the same time I do believe there are things church members can do to support their pastor. It won’t mean a pastor won’t struggle. Pastors are imperfect humans. Just like if a pastor does everything he can it does not mean church members won’t struggle. But together I think pastors and church members can help each other.

The main emotion I felt when I read about Pete is fear. I want to retire a pastor. I want to have a ministry where I finish strong. I’m far from perfect. I make mistakes. I want to be able to learn from mistakes, continue to set up accountability, and get to the end of my life finishing strong.

Every job has difficulties. This isn’t meant to compare struggles of other jobs. The pastor has some unique challenges that I don’t think anyone can fully relate to until they have walked in the shoes of a pastor.

Here are some unique challenges pastors go through.

  • After spending hours prepping a sermon, memorizing a sermon, studying, and praying being told that you are not deep enough.
  • Having people scrutinize your pay. Because it’s “Church work” many believe being a pastor means living as an indentured servant to the church. There are some pastors that live extravagantly or have abused church finances. There are also church boards who make it their job to pinch every penny. If a pastor drives a new car someone will complain, judge, and assume he is in it just for the money. I’ve heard so many complaints against pastors making money it has permanently left a mark. I don’t even mean to, but I feel I have to explain how we can afford to take a vacation, go to the movies, or buy something new. I’ll often start a story with, “Our friend gave us their house in Nags Head for the week. That’s the only way we could afford it.”
  • Have close relationships end because of a decision you’ve made. This happens all the time in the church world. I just met with a pastor who ended up leaving his church because some elders were mad he didn’t want to hire one of their granddaughters as the worship leader. She was still in high school and had zero experience in it. The church almost split because he kindly disagreed. This happens all the time. All. The. Time. Best friends become sworn enemies over night in the church world. I have seen more grace being shown towards Pastor Perry Noble after he admitted to struggling with alcohol than I have seen towards a pastor who disagreed with a church member, staff member, or church board. No one can keep all people happy. The pressure is unreal once a pastor realizes every relationship is one decision away from ending. When relationships end it’s never pretty. Many times the pastor learns the relationship is over from a third party source. Other times when the pastor is told a person is leaving a church the message seems to come out of no where.
  • Loneliness. Loneliness comes from multiple places. Because relationships can be fragile a pastor has to be incredibly careful who he trusts. When a pastor struggles there aren’t many who he can confide in. Often what is confessed ends up being ammunition against the pastor once church members become upset. According to Lifeway Research 55% of pastors feel lonely. Loneliness often comes because when things go bad pastors tend to try to take the high road. If a pastor posted the things he has seen behind the scenes it wouldn’t do anyone any good. During difficult seasons many pastors take the heat and never share their perspective. This isn’t saying every pastor is perfect. Pastors are imperfect people who can hurt others. But in a lot of instances when someone gets mad they blast the pastor to many people and the pastor is left trying to pick up the pieces with just his family. No one but my wife and counselor knows the full details of what led me to see a counselor. I attempted to blog about some of the struggles without being specific. That post led at least one person leaving the church. The feeling of loneliness during that season still weighs on me.
  • Having to deliver a sermon when you are spiritually empty. Every human I know goes through seasons in the proverbial desert. Sunday comes every week. No matter what is going on the church needs the pastor to deliver. Have you ever cried through an entire worship set and then had to get up to preach? Pastors must take care of themselves, but even the healthiest pastors go through seasons. Pete Wilson talked about trying to lead on empty. I don’t know a single pastor who cannot relate to that.
  • Temptation. No one asks the pastor about how he is dealing with temptation. It just doesn’t happen. But pastors are human. They struggle just like everyone else. With a lack of accountability it is easy to let things slide. Other times the pressure of the church world is so weighty a pastor literally feels the only way to escape is to sabotage his ministry by giving into temptation.

Please know, this post is not directed at anyone. I am in no way trying to be passive aggressive. I’m posting what I believe is a common struggle in hopes that no matter what church you call home, you’ll have a unique insight into the struggles your pastor may face.

At the end of the day I think there is one major thing all of us can do to help pastors.

Don’t turn a pastor into a saint and don’t turn him into a sinner.

Here’s what I mean. Often people make pastors into saints. It’s as if when they poot it does not stink. Every pastor is imperfect. Do not wait for them to let you down to discover this. No pastor should be put on a pedestal. Sure pastors should have honor showed to them. That’s biblical. But honor doesn’t mean creating them into something they are not…perfect.

At the same time whenever we get upset with a pastor let’s not turn them into the devil. A disagreement doesn’t mean everything about them is pure evil. Disagree. You might even have to leave a church over a disagreement. But unless the disagreement is over sin resist the temptation to turn the pastor into the anti-christ.

If you know a pastor spend time praying for them right now. It is not up to the church to keep a pastor emotionally healthy, but they can help. Show me a pastor who retires at an old age without a scandal and I’ll show you some amazing Christians who have supported him throughout the years. It takes a village to run a church.

What were your thoughts reading this post? What other unique struggles do pastors go through? What else can we do to support pastors without putting them on pedestals?

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Rob Shepherd

I am the full-time husband of a wonderful woman! I love being married! We are proud parents to twins, Hayden and Reese. In my spare time I am the pastor of Next Level Church. I have a relationship with God and it is an adventure. Oh and I wrote a book. It's called Even If You Were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You.

545 Comments

  1. JJ
    September 13, 2016

    It really saddens me.
    I think they have a lot of “fake” friends. People need to ask themselves, “would I want to be his friend if he wasn’t my pastor? “.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      JJ, You could be on to something. I count you and Rob as friends and appreciate you both!

      Reply
      • mary
        September 14, 2016

        jw.org

        Reply
        • Allison
          September 16, 2016

          Dear Mary, please ask Jehovah to show you the Truth about Jesus. You don’t need the organization to be pleasing to Jehovah. He loves us so much and gives us everything we need by His Grace….not by anything we can say or do… Or the cross wouldn’t have been enough, but it IS! Jesus IS worthy of our worship-Philippians 2:10-11 says ” at the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow …. And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God”. Jesus IS God – one of the many places that is made clear Is Rev. 1:17-18 (Jehovah died?!?) Please take a look and may our wonderful Father lead your heart and mind. Amen.

          Reply
          • William
            February 3, 2017

            Amen

            Reply
          • February 3, 2017

            Hebrews chapter one is another reference that clearly shows the deity of Jesus. Specifically the following verses.
            Hebrews 1:5 (NKJV) For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son”?
            Jesus is not the archangel Michael.
            Jesus would never have come under criticism by the religious leaders if He hadn’t made claims that He was God’s Son. He “begot” Jesus, He didn’t create Him.

            Hebrews 1:8 (NKJV) But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.
            Hebrews 1:9 (NKJV) You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”

            In verse 8 Father God actually calls the Son (Jesus) O God. He goes on to refer to Him again in this way verse 9 when He says “Therefore God,”

            Reply
            • Thomas Ott
              February 5, 2017

              1Kings 18:39, Psalm 100:3,Psalm 118:27,Eph.4:5,Rom.10:9. Jesus IS LORD and the LORD HE IS GOD!!

              Reply
            • Dk
              February 7, 2017

              True

              Reply
          • Mike Fisher
            February 5, 2017

            Correct. We have nothing to offer God, except obedience to The Gospel. That His beloved has paid the price. We offer thanksgiving and worship.

            Reply
        • Don Sarazen
          September 17, 2016

          Mary, Do you believe the Bible or what the Watchtower tells you to believe about the Bible?

          Reply
          • JB
            February 4, 2017

            They (Jehova’s Witnesses) have their own perverted version of what they believe to be Gods Word. So….she doesn’t know what she believes.

            Reply
            • Meredith
              February 5, 2017

              My husband and I are missionaries. When we are on home assignment, many times pastors of churches we visit view us as outsiders with whom they can share the pain they cannot share with their members. We have come to see this as a ministry we can have to the American church. We know more than we would like to about how toxic some churches are to the emotional lives of their pastors. Thank you for posting this. God bless you.

              Reply
            • Kathy
              February 14, 2017

              Let me preface this comment by saying that I am a Born-Again Christian…Yes, the JW have created their own “Bible”. However, I am sure that Mary knows what she believes. She was likely raised to be JW, just as I was raised to be a Christian. I truly believe that God would want everyone to treat JW or ANY person with respect and dignity. We can not show others the love, mercy and grace of God if we are condescending and self-righteous. We must remember that ONLY God knows each person’s heart. It is not for us to judge. Our only job is to genuinely treat others with love and compassion, as God has instructed us to.

              Reply
              • Delia Reed
                August 22, 2017
              • Shirley Wright
                August 23, 2017

                In Revelations 22:19 we are told that God will punish those that add to or take away from the Bible. It IS our responsibility as Christians to tell people if they are sinning. How else would they know? It is not judging a person when we tell them the Word. As for Mary, she may know what she believes, but if she was truly raised a JW as you state, she has not been taught the unchanged Word of God. You are correct in stating we must show love and respect to others but we also must not say the sin is okay. To treat others with love and compassion is NOT our only job. Mark 16:15, Matthew 24:14, Psalms 96:3, Revelations 14:6-7, Matthew 28:19-20 each tell us that it is our job to spread the Gospel of Christ. As born again Christians, we are all “preachers” of the Word. How else can a lost and dying world be saved?

                Reply
        • Yaweh is king
          February 2, 2017

          Nice to see a cult member up in here.

          Reply
          • Saddened
            February 3, 2017

            It saddens me that someone with God’s name as their name would call someone a cult member. I can assure you that Jesus would never say that. That’s not love, bro. How about you pray for Mary. You were not created to be anything but love-so meet with Jesus in the secret place and ask Him to make you look like Him. His grace will meet you there if you believe it, and you will be His workmanship.

            Reply
            • Godsgurl728
              February 3, 2017

              If Jesus recognized a cult member, He would call him or her a cult member. He spoke the truth. Now if the person you were speaking to meant it as an insult, that’s something different. What’s even sadder is how people use the Bible to beat other people over the head.

              Reply
            • Carl
              February 5, 2017

              WRONG Saddened. The book of Revelation repeatedly warns of a couple of things in the last days. One is that false Christs are in the world. The other is that false Gospels are being taught. These warnings line up perfectly with the warning Jesus gave in the book of Matthew – “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Jesus absolutely would call out someone in a false faith. Why else would He warn us that they exist?

              Reply
            • Lisa
              February 6, 2017

              I felt the same way.

              Reply
            • Clark
              March 13, 2017

              Jesus called some people (who claimed the same God that He did), hypocrites, vipers, thieves. If it’s a cult, Jesus would call it a cult.

              Reply
          • Henry Emmanuel
            February 9, 2017

            lol

            Reply
        • Carl
          February 2, 2017

          No.

          Reply
        • Hendricus
          February 10, 2017

          Mary, when the only tool you know is a hammer, every problem is a nail. That would be giving you the benefit of the doubt, wouldn’t it? Closer to the truth is that your response is ridiculous and obstinate, and I think you know it!

          Reply
      • Dottie
        September 14, 2016

        Calvary Baptist Church in King man, AZ is looking for a Pastor.

        Reply
        • Rev. Jonathan Buernortey Hansel
          September 14, 2016

          I am a Ghanaian pastor in Accra, Ghana with over 16 years experience to pastor this Baptist church. Am ready and available so kindly get in touch with me. I will humbly accept this offer if given the opportunity. Thanks and stay blessed.

          Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Dottie… please contact me at xpediter21@yahoo.com

          Reply
        • jeanette mlechick
          September 16, 2016

          my wife and i are ordained pastors and we would love to come and pastor this church please pass our info on to the board for us please michael and jeanette mlechick 702-426-0484

          Reply
        • Pastor Cornel Joannes
          September 16, 2016

          I am a servant of God/Pastor at Heritage Christian Centre. I’m willing to take up the role and help take the church to another level that God has intended .

          Reply
        • Paul Russell
          September 17, 2016

          I’m available! I’ve been a Pastor for 24+ years, and the church I served most recently merged with a larger church.

          Reply
        • Ruby Palmer
          September 17, 2016

          I pray God gives you a mighty man of God full of the Holy Spirit to help your Church lead many to the cross of Christ! God Bless you All !!!!

          Reply
          • Melanie
            February 5, 2017

            Or woman of God

            Reply
        • February 6, 2017

          My wife and I have been pastors for the past 35 years on Trinidad (Caribbean). We would like you to consider us for this oppertunity

          Reply
      • R. Colyer
        September 15, 2016

        I was married to a Pastor who left his church and our family. He moved away and I raised my Son from 8 years old by myself. I had people turn against me and hurt me during this time. Pastors struggle as everyone and so do their families. My Son really had a lit of bitterness towards people because of the treatment. But the Lord has always taken care of us. My Son has a great career and graduated with his Bachelors Degree in Compute Information Science. So the Lord does watch over us. Please pray for the church Leaders, now more than ever. God Bless!!

        Reply
        • Troy
          September 16, 2016

          My heart hurts for you and your son.

          Reply
        • K C
          September 17, 2016

          I too was married to a pastor. People don’t understand what pastors go thru. Mine ex had affair w someone from church, we have 4 kids together. This just happened not even a yr ago. It’s hard. Pastor need to be pray for too. Thanks

          Reply
          • P C
            September 18, 2016

            K C so do the wives and children. May God continue to show you His love and bless you as you are left with probably guilt and many responsibilities. Prayers for you and your children.

            Reply
          • H.S.
            February 4, 2017

            I’m not sure what you mean?? Are you saying you were married to a pastor and he cheated on you and now you are divorced? Ok.. so are you saying because he went thru a lot he cheated under the pressures of being a pastor? I can understand forgiving him if he is sorry and has repented. However, he did do wrong and sounds like he lost his family too. I think he needs support but also at some point you have to stop the wrong behavior and get back on the right path.
            I think in a position of leadership you are held to greater responsibility. If a pastor is unable to fulfill his duties as a pastor he should step down. It’s not a bad thing but if he needs to get his life in order and right with God that is a good thing for him to and there is no shame in doing at.

            Reply
        • MLT
          February 1, 2017

          I can so understand. I had to leave my husband/pastor last year because of verbal abuse and alcohol abuse. I was told by church leaders I had provide physical proof or they couldn’t do anything. I gave them recordings but that wasn’t enough. I felt so all alone and outcast. It’s like there’s no support for pastor’s wives and children.

          Reply
          • Ri
            February 3, 2017

            There will be a place opened by First Love Ministries near Valentine, Nebraska which is a shelter for battered pastor’s wives and their kids. There they can learn a skill and have a safe and spiritual environment to grow in.

            Reply
          • CDP
            February 10, 2017

            My grandmother divorced her pastor husband for the same reasons, during the 1940s. No one in the church believed that the man they saw in church was the man she described, but the toll on my mom’s family was terrible. I consider my grandmother to be a woman of great courage who took a very unpopular step in order to save her children from even greater damage. Don’t quit!! You are making a difference each day and God knows it, whether people do or not. What you do matters.

            Reply
            • March 11, 2017

              Unfortunately over the years, the Bible was used as a tool to control your family as though a man actually owned them as slaves, ( a “said” qualification, having all under his roof under submission. And it was preached and it was obeyed by men and women who wanted to serve God. God would have never designed women an children to be such smart intelligent humans if that were true. (See the virtuous woman in Proverbs) And I know a wonderful Pastors wife who was a slave to her husband and the church on his behalf. Long story short, he was a liar and a cheat and God took him down good. The last time I saw beautiful, sweet woman of God, she had married a Real Christian widower, and said, “it’s wonderful, I had no idea marriage could be so beautiful.

              Reply
        • Pat
          February 7, 2017

          Amen

          Reply
        • Linden Viinalass
          February 8, 2017

          R. You are a fabulous sister of mine! You’ve already experienced plenty of what I wish MUCH more to you – our Father’s deep, deep blessing to you , and healing for your son’s hurts. In SPADES!

          Reply
      • Larry A Douglas
        September 21, 2016

        I started doing ministry in 1977, a year after I was saved in 1976, I was 18. I am 59 now. I have been at this for a while. Rather than share stories here I will offer to pray with anyone, talk, be a friend, walk along with you. The attrition is real, but God infuses life into His risenones. We are dear to Him; we are beloved. Don’t confuse how life makes you feel with how God feels about you. Because He hasn’t told us everything doesn’t mean He hasn’t told us anything. He has told us many things. Remember, we meet with God between the commas.

        Reply
        • Pam Whitaker
          October 8, 2016

          I am in need of pastoral council . Would you be available to me. I am a 62 year old woman.

          Reply
          • Linette
            January 29, 2017

            Please contact us if you are still in need of counseling. Thank you

            Reply
        • Donna
          February 1, 2017

          As a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife your statement “Don’t confuse…” was everything in a nutshell. A nugget of hope!
          Prayers for all those who share the Gospel of Christ!

          Reply
      • Thomas Murphy
        February 4, 2017

        you can take the hat off, punch out,
        step away and ‘have a life that is separate from your career’. Pastor Tony and Pastor Deb–take good care of yourselves, ‘punch out’. I always remember that Jesus had to step away often for long periods of time to nurture himself…

        Reply
        • AI
          February 6, 2017

          That is so true Thomas. Churches should give pastors a day off or a specified time to spend quiet time with God. Jesus had to get away from the crowd. So do Pastors.

          Reply
      • February 5, 2017

        Rob, I’m shocked- but then again not shocked- that you pour out your heart and attempt to open up healthy discussion on real issues… real reasons why so many pastors leave ministry or leave a church… but instead of people offering helpful comments, so many are replying to other people about their comments to the point of argumentation, judgment, name-calling, and ridicule. You may add to the list how people often do not TRULY listen to what you say, but often use it as a springboard for their own private (or public) conversations (or debates). You may need to add to the list how people truly cannot stay focused on what you are attempting to convey. You may need to add to the list how challenging it is when you see people do things like this. You may need to add to the list that you may think about it sometimes but you truly don’t want to run away or hide, “let them have it,” give up on them, but that it takes every bit of your energy and will to lead a life pleasing to Christ by waiting upon the Lord for the right words at the right time with the right attitude. My husband and I pastored for a while and now we serve in another church along side another pastor. Even in our “lesser” roles as administrative pastor and viditation pastor, we still experience the same things you talked about. However, we answered God’s call to support this wonderful pastor. Hold on, Rob… you are doing the right things. I don’t know you but I know you aren’t perfect… but you are the man God created for the job. He is walking with you through it all… good, bad, and indifferent. Yes, in the name of Jesus, we need to pray for our pastors. Satan (and people) are out to make them fail in their God-ordained missions. Thank you for sharing your heart. I will pray for you right now.

        Reply
        • Rick Joseph
          February 6, 2017

          Spot on…from a fellow Pastor.

          Reply
        • Renée
          February 21, 2017

          @KayDillard,
          You are absolutely correct. I’m so glad you addressed the people in this manner. I could not believe what I was reading. The Pastor is pouring out his heart, an actual cry for prayer and encouragement, and people are offering themselves for his job. OMGOSH!!! YOU GUYS NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND ASK YOURSELF IS GOD PLEASED WITH ME, All of you need to check your love for God and His people. You all literally read pass the point of this Pastors delemma, and started your own conversations about yourselves. Pastor Rob I’m praying for your strength. I will say be sure that your decision is The Lord’s decision for you. Some times we make decisions out of our emotioms, and we create havac, and greater turmoil in our lives and those that are connected to us. If God called you to Pastor, then He has equipped you to do the job. I suggest you get several people whom you trust as a collective organization or ministry if you’d like to call it that. They are to pray and fast for you, your family and your ministry. They should also keep a calendar that requires you to take long trips or getaways for your rest, and for communing with God. In other words for your sanity. I love you with the love of Christ. When we want to quit that’s when we know God has a greater power he wants to release to us. We have to stand in His strength and watch it manifest in us.
          Blessings

          Reply
          • Milton Orgeron
            March 10, 2017

            I had to read closely to get that people are not offering themselves for Pastor Rob’s job, but for a church (Calvary Chapel Baptist) somewhere else mentioned by a commenter.

            Reply
      • February 5, 2017

        really good blog. 🙂 My husband and I have been in ministry nearly 20 years. We are blessed with wonderful volunteers who “help take the stress off” instead of add to it. But the struggle is real. It’s hard to lead a flock when going to dark places, family issues, health problems etc. God is faithful! Just hang on and choose Him thru the dark times. Nahum 1:7 🙂

        Reply
      • February 6, 2017

        1. We make pastors into devils because we are moral theists. Our righteousness is not in Christ but in our morality. When our moral leader / star falls or stumbles (like we all do) – it blows up our paradigm. Expel the infidel!

        2. Pastors – like Pete – spend their whole lives helping others. Helping people who stumble and divorce and get addicted and have affairs and fall apart. However, when these same pastors stumble, they are expelled. In the name of Jesus. Who walks with them through their stumble?

        3. I know Pete. He is a good man. A great man. And he is still a great man. Like many of the biblical “heroes” – most of these men could not be pastors. David and Moses would be expelled. Even Jesus would be too radical. No way we could have a megachurch guy whipping people.

        Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      The real problem is that the modern day “church” is not based on biblical principles but rather is run using the 501c3 model. You have one person or a small group of people who make all of the decisions and then ask the rest of the congregation to follow along like sheep. when the majority of the money goes to one or just a few people and the rest must work for free under the guise of “doing God’s will” it will always become a problem. The majority of problems come when the pastor feels that he must be in charge of all things and when bad things happen or people leave, then this must be put under the umbrella heading of “it’s best if we don’t talk about it anymore”. If the pastor truly relies on God for all he does, then he should not worry about the consequences or reaction from the choir.
      If Jesus was alive today, I wonder which church he would join? I truly feel that He would avoid like the plague any church under the 501c3 tax code as it hides under the guise of tax free status but runs like a Ponzi scheme themed circus, as one man becomes paid and has a guaranteed retirement fund while the rest of the “church” goes without any guarantees but that we must be in the world so we can give to the church. How many churches today are running at profit margins with large amounts of money set aside for different projects but cannot be used to help the poor, the widows, and the needy? WWJD? He would clean up this mess like he ran out the money changers (He had to do this twice in his ministry) and try to turn the hearts of man back to His Father. Too many of us rely on another man to guide us to God when it is our own responsibility to arrive at that point. Shame on us all for allowing and paying someone else for our salvation and running to the pastor for every cut and bruise that we can take care of ourselves with the true guidance of our Creators.

      Reply
      • Shawn
        September 14, 2016

        After being in “ministry” for a number of years and getting out of organized pastoral ministry under the umbrella of a church and association of churches I can say your post is rather revealing. Yes it is quite right. Pastor burnout is common because they system creates this. I did not burn out, rather left the system which was not biblical. Many today don’t realize how far off the “church” has wandered. I don’t fault them. It’s hard to get Egypt out of the system. When you leave the model there is something that keeps trying to get you to return. Perhaps it’s guilt. However, when one begins to purge the system it becomes very clear just how far down the path one has traveled. Sometimes it takes staying in one place until someone (God) comes along to rescue you from being lost in the wilderness. Most pastors long for something different and they continue to strive to create something new, fresh, bigger and better. Or, they sit in their office in hours of study. Both of these can be avoiding reality. Face the reality head on and don’t be afraid to look at the system. Ask the hard question. “Why?” Why do we do all of this? You may be surprised at the answer the Holy Sourit gives.

        Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Shawn, that’s some great insight. I think one reason church planting is so popular today is because many are asking the questions you did.

          Reply
          • Bob
            September 15, 2016

            When you find that your job is to feed the machine running rather than bring the Gospel, it’s time to travel on.

            Reply
          • February 3, 2017

            Hey Rob! I really appreciate this article! how would I send an email to you?

            Reply
        • Michael Harvey
          September 15, 2016

          Spot on…aftrr 15 years of fighting the system I left “vocational ministry” almost 2 years ago for most of the reasons listed above

          My heart and soul still belong to Christ and although I have struggled/wrestled at times…I have detoxed from alot of “churchianity”

          Kudos and blessings to you Rob dor being transparent and “Human”

          Reply
        • Desparate For The Real Jesus
          September 15, 2016

          This is a good thought…

          Reply
        • Desparate For The Real Jesus
          September 15, 2016

          Have you ever pastored a church?

          Reply
          • Desparate For The Real Jesus
            September 15, 2016

            This was a question for Tommy

            Reply
          • Joshua
            February 7, 2017

            What if being a pastor was not about studying ,preaching, and teaching about God? In the western world It is all learning about God! How about learning how to encounter God, hear His voice, sense your heart and flow with His abiding presence? What about Interpretation of your dreams at night, another way He communicates even while sleeping?

            Reply
        • September 17, 2016

          I agree that the church has come a long way from what churches use to be. I am on old time christian and I remember how it use to be and I really miss it. What happened to the Hell Fire and Brimestone preaching that told the people what would happen if they did not accept what Jesus had done for them. To many people will split hell wide open because they have not been told.

          Reply
          • Barb
            October 5, 2016

            though I am Baptist now, I grew up in an Evangelical Lutheran Church. Our pastor was an older man and he preached hell fire and brimstone. Scared the dickens out of me, but was not taught the plan of salvation.

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            • Barb
              October 5, 2016

              praying for this man of God and others who have commented here.

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            • Dale
              February 5, 2017

              Your comment saddens me. Fire and brimstone has it’s place (in Lutheran theology it is identified as law). However, if the brimstone is not followed up with the Gospel, the pastor did not speak with the authority of Christ. I am a pastor associated with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

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        • October 8, 2016

          There is a better way. Here’s what is happening all over the world.

          No paid pastor = no CEO mentality
          No tithe money paying for salaries = more for the poor and needy
          Small groups meeting in homes = less fallout from a “split” and more people learning how to actually be the church
          No Sunday morning event mentality = church is something we are instead of something we do

          I could go on and on!

          Check it out:
          https://housechurchmovement.wordpress.com/

          Reply
        • Keith Dunaway
          February 11, 2017

          Amen

          Reply
      • Glenda
        September 14, 2016

        well said

        Reply
      • September 14, 2016

        Beautifully said.

        Reply
      • Mike
        September 14, 2016

        Agree!

        Reply
      • Rod
        September 15, 2016

        In many “pastor lead” churches thrre is no true accountability or oversight. It may appear that way on paper there is a board or leadership team for the churches tax exempt status but the church is not run that way at all.
        There is typically the pastor and his wife calling all the shots and making all of the decisions. This is not healthy for the pastor or the church and causes much of the dysfunction and turn over of staff and the church.
        If pastors would humble themselves and allow for true accountability and trust their staffs and congregation to lead it would take so much pressure off of them and allow them make their ministry a marathon and not a sprint to hopefully not burn out or fall into sin where they disqualify themselves from the ministry.

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        • September 15, 2016

          Rod, thank you for your comment. I think you have some great insight. I do know, from experience, that board run, or church business meetings had lots of accountability and lots of dysfunction as well. In my opinion there has to be a balance.

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          • Rod
            September 15, 2016

            There definitely needs to be a balance from “elder lead” “deacon lead” model which does not allow a pastor to truly lead and a “pastor lead” model where the pastor becomes a “dictator.”
            Somewhere in the middle could be a healthy balance.

            Reply
            • September 15, 2016

              Rod, agreed!

              Reply
            • David
              October 7, 2016

              Our church is a smallish (less than 210 in worship regularly) congregation with ties to an established mainline denomination. Our leadership model is a bit complicated, but I think provides better balance than some. We have an elected executive board of 10 ministry and administrative leaders and Spiritual leaders. I, as lead pastor, REPORT to the Board, provide counsel to it, yet have no vote in its decisions. I do, however, convene a Pastor’s Cabinet which is comprised of the heads of each of the ministry teams (i.e. Worship, Evangelism/Membership, Christian Education, Outreach, Stewardship, etc.) and representatives from the Elders, Deacons and Board. The Cabinet is responsible for planning and implementing programs and activities. Our Circle of Elders handles spiritual concerns in the church and does routine visitation, leadership at the Communion Table, etc. Our deacons serve the church in practical ways (set up/break down of services, Lord’s Supper) as well as provide assistance to Elders for visitation when called upon. That leaves me to cast and promotion vision (in cooperation with the Cabinet), preach, teach, provide pastoral counsel and emergency visitation, and oversee and evaluate the church staff. This is not an exhaustive list of my duties or those of each of the other units, but the balance we’ve struck between administration and pastoral leadership feels right to us. Like I always tell folks…it’s not perfect…but it’s pretty good.

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          • Julie Garcia
            September 15, 2016

            Balance is the key to everything !!!

            Reply
          • Douglas Asbury
            September 15, 2016

            I have not read all the comments, but I wanted to insert an observation here relative to “accountability.” I have never started a church, and I am retired from a system in which a bishop assigns pastors to local churches; though some pastors who are gifted in that way are assigned to be “church planters.” However, when a pastor outside of such a system is the founding pastor of a church, it seems to me it would be easy for that pastor to come to believe that, since his efforts and vision were responsible for the founding, growth, and successful ministry of that church, that without him, things would fall apart, the church would begin to diminish or to split, and he would not be being faithful to his calling. The anxiety that could come from such thinking might well cause the pastor to say, “I may be coming to the point of burnout, but the only choices I have are to continue in spite of my depleted state, or to quit entirely and to let the church fend for itself and someone else to take it from here.” Instead, if the governing council were doing its job (in my estimation), it would help the pastor cultivate lay leadership within the congregation, with the idea that the lay leadership would gradually assume responsibility for the nurturing of the church and developing its own sense of the vision of the church and what it would take to fulfill that vision, taking a major portion of the responsibility for the growth and success of the church off the pastor’s shoulders and assuming it themselves, while cultivating, as I said, the leadership qualities within the congregants; so that, at some point, when the pastor begins to feel depleated/uninspired/uncertain about how to proceed, the council could say, “We have people here who can carry on in your absence; so we are ordering you to take six months/a year off to seek the Lord’s will for you and your ministry as well as for this church. We will assign someone to check in with you from time to time; but we want you to leave the church in our hands while you seek a word from the Lord.” In that way, the church can discover where the strengths and weaknesses of its members are and where it might need to strengthen its ministries of disciple-building, and the pastor (and pastor’s family) can find rest, renewal, and new direction for themselves and, one hopes, for the church. Especially pastors who have founded churches need to remember, it seems to me, that a church is not a child who is in constant need of their guidance and nurture; a church is a local representation of the Body of Christ, gifted in ways that may go unseen if the pastor is the only one who holds the voice of authority. When everyone is included in the development of church life, then all take on their own importance, and the pastor’s importance, while different from that of all the others, is less likely to be a burden to be borne and more likely to be in accordance with the particular gifts the Holy Spirit has given that pastor. If Jesus was telling the truth when he said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” and if the Apostle Paul was correct when he compared the Church to the human body, then its important that we each bear that burden the Lord has given us, knowing that others bearing their own burdens for the spreading of the Gospel will accomplish God’s purpose for each of us individually and for the Church as a whole without any of us being likely to become overburdened due to our trying to cover all the bases, when we’ve been given only one base over which to stand guard.

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            • Melissa
              September 15, 2016

              This was great

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            • Cheryl
              September 16, 2016

              I so agree with what you are saying. I belong to the C of E as a reader which allows me to preach, teach and bury people, after three years of training. I am part of a shared ministry team where we have people trained in admin, worship leading, childrens work etc. It works well particularly in our rural parishes in England but also in larger churches too. There is strong accountability. I am not saying it is perfect by any means but it means the vicar (leader of the church) is not on their own and is supported at various levels.

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            • Rev. Richard Williams, Jr.
              September 16, 2016

              I agree with you 100%! I am a pastor of a small church in a system where Bishops appoint pastors. I have spent the past three years trying to teach these same principles to the church. I recently announced that I am tired of dragging people through these old processes with no evidence of growth or maturity from the laity of the church. People say they want to be Christians, but they do not want to be disciples. This is where the true struggle begins. I want so desperately for them to own there relationship with God, but they seem to be stuck trying to run the building and not the ministry God has given us. I thought about stepping down a few times myself, but feel I would be letting God down. I even left my secular job to be full-time and it appeared to make little if any difference. I have expressed. My feelings, but no one seems to care. They simply think I’m complaining. I have thought of leaving and starting a church, but my spirit tells me I have not completed my assignment here. Please pray for me.

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              • October 4, 2016

                I understand your frustration. It brought to mind the reaction of the Lord when, on descending mount of Transfiguration with three of His disciples, he found a man complaining the rest of the apostles had been unable to deliver his son. And Jesus’ words are very telling, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?”. Even He gets tired of our own immaturity sometimes! So of course, there is frustration. But His words to the man are also telling, “Bring him TO ME.”
                I would say first of all, bring this situation to HIM. Be completely honest with God about everything you’re feeling and experiencing, and do not hesitate to ask Him to speak honestly with you and give you guidance on whether you should make any changes to your preaching style, or any other adjustments, even stepping down for a while if the Lord desires you to be hidden in an inner chamber for a while. Sometimes the burden comes because we feel we’re indispensable when, in fact, the only one who is fundamental is Christ in us. Perhaps it takes an absence of the pastor for the sheep to wake up and realize they need to seek God for themselves.
                You’ve mentioned *your* spirit tells you that your assignment is not over. I would ask, are you sure 100% the Holy Spirit is asking you to stay? It may be your feelings, reasoning, perhaps guilt. Just asking.

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            • Dr. Al Adams
              September 16, 2016

              Many pastors will not do this due to the (often realistic) fear and anxiety that they will be replaced while they are gone on sabbatical…..

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              • October 4, 2016

                Oh, well, if pastors feel the church is theirs, it’s a huge problem. Jesus said MY sheep hear MY voice. But it seems to me far too many pastors are too concerned with the sheep hearing theirs. If ministers were focused on equipping the saints and helping them develop an intimate, honest relationship with CHRIST, the Good Shepherd (and he said there will be ONE shepherd and ONE flock) and the sheep were willing to listen, then all the members of the Body, under ONE head, would be taught by the same Holy Spirit which indwells them all, and each member would know their talents and their place in the body, and everything would work in, perhaps not perfect, but good coordination. Problem is, sometimes each one of us is too focused on their own comfort. Pastors’ role is to challenge the sheep to wake up and get the eternal bread from heaven from first-hand experience in their own inner chamber.
                And in the end you realize, even if you do take that needed sabbatical and the people do leave you, were they yours in the first place? If they leave and are blessed where they are now, should you be sorry? No, indeed it may be like children leaving the nest. CHRIST promised never to leave you or forsake you, and HE is more precious to us disciples than any ministry. Because our first ministry is unto Him, not to people.

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            • Dan
              September 16, 2016

              Helpful hint for all writers – perhaps breaking up your large blocks of text into “short” paragraphs (single thoughts) would help it’s readability.

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            • Richard Pulliam
              September 19, 2016

              How about Timothy and titus as Paul wrote– Good advice? Skip

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            • Karen Horton
              February 8, 2017

              Very well written and deeply thought out ! Every Church, ideally, should be able to function in such a way that if their Pastor was suddenly not available to preach and/or lead, the Church would continue on with little stress and the ministry would still function ! We follow Jesus Christ our Savior.

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          • Lori
            September 16, 2016

            I agree, both have their problems. Some board members can become bullies and I do believe they are accountable for their actions and the emotional abuse toward their pastor. It is like when Jesus was talking about the Pharisees, they don’t know that they don’t know. Board members can get so caught up in the machine that they forget Jesus and the gospel.

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            • Dr. Al Adams
              September 16, 2016

              Amen.

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        • Andrea
          September 15, 2016

          Rod,
          You said pastors should “trust their staffs and congregation to lead it would take so much pressure off of them”
          Can you give me some examples of what you believe this would look like? I don’t understand how a congregation could lead.
          Thank you

          Reply
          • Chris
            September 15, 2016

            Andrea, I’m not sure what Road meant by his comment, but Scripture actually speaks to this in Ephesians 4:11-13. Pastors/Leaders are to ‘equip’ or ‘train’ the body to DO the work of the ministry. This primarily means two things: 1) training by teaching and mentoring/example and 2) structuring the church in a way that allows others’ gifts to flourish in the ministry areas where they are gifted. Paul also speaks to this in Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12. Too often pastors don’t delegate and try to do too much on their own. Congregations allow this because they are ‘proud’ of their pastor or possibly just lazy. There ARE some who are called to lead, but all are called to serve. Church Leaders (Pastors/Elders/Deacons) should be enabling ALL believers to serve in whatever capacity they are gifted, called and passionate.

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          • Julie
            September 16, 2016

            In our church organization the senior pastor does what only he can do. His gifts are what drives his time and efforts. Without identifying, training and empowering many leaders in a congregation, the ministry will be limited and the pastor frustrated. With this model, people who are gifted in their area of service are at the tasks serving the body most effectively. Volunteers are critical and are in an interviewing process without knowing it. The mission of the church should be clear and all activity, funds and efforts not in line with the mission should be abandoned. Better yet the mission driving decisions will prevent waste of time, money and manpower. When a small organization becomes what we would deem “successful” – growing while meeting people’s spiritual needs of the saved and unsaved – a pastor is wise to recognize who it is from and who it is for … our Lord Jesus Christ.

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          • September 23, 2016

            I’m a Congregational pastor. I do not lead my congregation.

            Scripture is quite clear: JESUS is the Head of the Church. (Colossians 1:8, for starters)

            That means that it is the job of everyone in the congregation to listen carefully to what Jesus is telling them to do. We do this by carefully reading Scripture, taking time in prayer, listening for the voice of the Spirit as manifested through the body of Christ.

            When unity in Christ is evident, we can see and experience the Headship of Christ in His direct leading. THAT is how a church is Congregationally led – by understanding that neither the clergy, nor the deacons, nor the trustees, nor anyone else calls the final shots: only Jesus does that.

            Although, nothing much gets done until the volunteer who makes the coffee shows up…

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        • Jerry McGowin
          September 15, 2016

          Not seen that in my 40 years of ministry

          Reply
          • Julie
            September 16, 2016

            Takes a pastor with vision.

            Reply
            • bob vinson
              February 5, 2017

              It takes a pastor with God’s mission.

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        • Barbara Ross
          September 16, 2016

          I don’t fear the decisions being overseen by the pastor if the pastor is a godly man who seeks God’s will consistently. I have, however, seen the disaster caused when the church board constantly questions their Godly pastor, and interferes with his ministry with backbiting, hatred, bickering, etc. The problems that split churches are often the most stupid, littlest decisions that are of no real consequence. People’s egos make it difficult at best for pastors to function in todays churches.

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          • Pastor Greg
            September 16, 2016

            I agree. I’ve seen this many times also.

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        • February 1, 2017

          I agree with Rod. I believe what happened, and is happening is that the church has left it’s biblical role model. Many pastors don’t realize that Moses didn’t handle everything, only the biggest of the jobs, otherwise he followed his father’s in law advice and appointed staff underneath him… Aaron and his sons, and then the heads of each tribble, etc, etc. So I can truly understand Pastor burn out. I’m raying for those pastors with a big hearts and even bigger flocks…it’s not easy!

          Reply
        • Mark Dyar
          February 3, 2017

          I’ve been a confidant of several pastors, been intentional in cultivating these relationships. A couple of observations. Most pastors don’t willfully “call all the shots”, they’re expected to by boards and lazy members that expect the pastor to do it all for them. Most pastors are incredibly lonely. It’s hard to be friends when you know it’s likely that your “friend” may well use your weaknesses against you when it serves them. Add to that the teaching of many old school seminaries, warning pastors not to get close to anyone in their church or risk losing authority and you have a recipe for heartbreak and isolation.

          Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Tommy, thanks for taking the time to comment. You bring up some good points. I see things a little differently, but that’s because I’m on the other side of your comment. I hope if you’ve been hurt by a pastor or church that you’ll find healing.

        Reply
        • February 2, 2017

          Hi Rob,

          I just received your post. I would love to have you visit our website. We support ministers in crisis and would love to get the word out that we are here to help colleagues. Please do feel free to give a call any time. Rev. Al Boyce, 207-458-6387
          Website http://www.maine-sanctuary.org

          Thanks again for capturing the journey.

          Al

          Reply
      • Todd Zastrow
        September 15, 2016

        That’s a pretty broad generalization, Tommy. By the way, why probably wouldn’t join any church at all.

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      • Freddy
        September 15, 2016

        All churches are 501c3

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        • Carrie
          September 15, 2016

          Freddy,
          You stated “All churches are 501c3”
          I’m sorry to inform you but no there not. My husband and I have planted churches and will not plant them as a 501c3. Buying into that ALL church have to be or ARE 501c3 is just buying into the cutlers Idea of a church.
          Rob, thank you for writing a good post. I enjoyed it.

          Reply
          • barbara
            September 16, 2016

            Carrie, I am interested in what you wrote. If your church is not a not-for-profit, does your church pay income tax on your offerings? How do you handle liability insurance for your church activities? Do you have a board of directors, and do they have insurance as individuals for the decisions of the board?

            Reply
            • Carrie
              September 17, 2016

              Please forgive me for the spelling in my last post. Barbara, Our churches are what are known as “Free Church” It is NOT a corporation, not 501c3, and do not have boards, offices, bylaws, etc. A church by definition and according to IRS regulation does not have to register as a 501c3 though they will tell you that it may be advantageous. It is not. To incorporate and apply for a tax exempt status is asking the government to place you under her rules and laws concerning non-profits when a “church” is tax exempt already. We are free from governmental authority and regulation and can not be sued (one would have to attempt to sue all individuals in the church–not an easy thing to do). The business/corporate model of churches is a relatively new idea, There was once no such creature and being under government authority places that church under a whole myriad of laws concerning non-profits that are all treated equally (church of satan, Mormon churches, Jehovah witnesses, etc) Applying for corporate status and tax exemption is literally asking to be treated that way by the state when a true church already has its own status in the tax codes. A free church is more like a first century church or many churches in places where gathering as a Christian church is illegal. Starting a free church is not too difficult though incorporating an already existing church could be a bit more difficult but possible. I am curious where you are, my husband would be glad to talk with you more on the subject if you would like. Let me lead you to a good website to start researching this for now hushmoney.org there are many others too if you google unincorporated churches. There is just way too much information to go over here but we would be glad to help in any way we can, bottom line-never let anyone tell you a church must be incorporated or registered as a 501c3, that is just not true. Blessings, Carrie

              Reply
              • Arline Constance
                February 2, 2017

                Carrie, how can you be contacted?

                Reply
              • Jack Stubbs
                February 2, 2017

                Being incorporated (depends on your State) can protect you from legal liability. How do you handle suits?

                Reply
      • Mike
        September 15, 2016

        We are sheep and need leadership to make decisions. We also need to support our church and let God take care of money abusers. I would understand by the comments made that you don’t tithe anyway because a true tithier doesn’t worry about how the money is spent cause they gave it to God from their heart. The only person who would bash a pastor on money issues is one who keeps what they got for themselves. When money leaves our hand, it’s not our problem what happens to it. It’s Gods problem and He knows what He’s doing. Your Creator, as you say has given true guidance. Serve God and not money. To have such a love for money is enmity for God. I hope your heart can help you understand this before it’s too late. Why are you so worried bout where the money you aren’t giving is going or the dollar you give each week is going. The man of God is worth his hire. God said “bring the tithe AND the offering into the store house”. The bread in the store house is the word of God. Jesus said ” I am the Bread”. Bring the tithe into the store house that there might be bread. So keep your money and eat no bread.

        Reply
        • Michael Harvey
          September 15, 2016

          In all do respect, do you financially support businesses or charities or individuals that misuse $ OR finance unGodly agendas? Sounds illogical to do so?

          Read your post again please

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      • Steve
        September 15, 2016

        +1000

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      • B
        September 15, 2016

        This is an interesting viewpoint. You know the church is referred to as the “flock” in the New Testament. Scripture also tells us to be submissive to church leaders a.k.a. pastors.
        Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” How well do we submit to the authority given to pastors by God himself? Also, the “lone ranger” approach of not needing anyone, “I can handle anything myself,” is not biblical. This does not mean that you have to run to the pastor every time you sneeze, but it does mean that we need each other. Pastors are placed in the church for many reasons. Try not to judge too harshly. Being a pastor is one of the most difficult jobs out there. It is easy looking from the outside and cast harsh judgment. Notice that this article is about the heartbreaking news that hundreds of pastors are leaving churches every year. They are not just leaving a church but they are permanently stepping down from the pastorate. This is not just because they sinned, which is possible, but more due to the hard hearts of those they are trying to love and serve. I heard a moving statement onetime from a former pastor. He said that being a pastor was like “death by paper-cut” Everyone jabs, cuts and slices until you just can’t give any more. Also, Most pastors that I know live just above the poverty line, pay more taxes and have horrible healthcare that they have to pay for out of their own pocket.

        Reply
        • Revgazza
          September 15, 2016

          Thank you B. Not every pastor is after the money or the power. I have been in ministry for 31 years and I wanted to retire 2 years ago due to being burnt out and tired of living below the poverty level. I was asked to pastor a tiny church in rural Illinois with a ton of problems. The “elders” had been in place 33 years and refused to work with any pastor that did not do what they wanted him too. In that time they had run off over 20 pastors.
          The SBC missions director of the regional group begged me to candidate for this church knowing I was not a Baptist or in a financial position to work for next to nothing. I reluctantly agreed. The church unanimously voted me in and I became the pastor. First thing I did was call a membership meeting and went over the records of the church with everyone. Remember this congregation was under 15 people. The “head elder” told me what he would allow in his church and I needed to do as i was told or else. I then went through the books and found this “elder” was the secretary, treasurer, took up the offering on his own, counted the money on his own and did the banking. The other elder was the trustee and assistant to the pastor. I immediately cancelled all positions and called for a vote for each position and made it clear that from now on 2 people took up the collection and another banked the money. I would have nothing to do with the finances unless asked but expected a full budget each month.
          Turned out the elder who was to be my assistant was a convicted sex offender who did not disclose this information to me. To cut a long story short the 2 elders ended up leaving once they lost their power and 3 other left after them as they no longer could control everyone.
          I have a team who work with me but our church is still small. I live in the parsonage with my wife and 2 dogs which the church provides. The church also pays my utilities and cell phone bill and gives me $80 a week to live on. I am expected to serve this church full time on what they give me.
          So while there are some churches that are abused by their pastors most of us live below poverty and end up suffering health wise because we give everything to our members. BTW I also have 2 Phd’s.

          Reply
          • Donna
            February 1, 2017

            Prayers for you and your wife that God will sustain you. Prayers that God will restore His church. Prayers that the vision He gives you will spread like a flame through the community and that God will do a great work.

            Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          I have watched shows on EWTN called “the Journey Home”, maybe the Lord is leading some of you “once were a pastor” to come home to to the Catholic Church. This group will help you to find a way to make a living and serving God at the same time It serves a great number of former pastors from every denomination to understand the Catholic way of life.

          Reply
          • johnny
            September 15, 2016

            god is not going to lead a man of god to a false church as you are asking u need to come out from them before it is to late for u

            Reply
      • jack
        September 15, 2016

        Did you even read this? Yo are what this article is about.

        Reply
      • Ricky
        September 15, 2016

        Nothing like setting up your straw man arguments so that you can rant about 501c3. Your arguements are vacuous at best and borderline on ridiculousness. If you want the Biblical model to refer to for the organization of the church one only need to turn to the book of Acts. A small group of people (Apostles) leading thousands. When the Greek Jewish women felt neglected this small group of people said to pick out men of good reputation. Viola…Now their deacons. There was no congregational vote. As a matter of fact the poor men weren’t even asked if they wanted to be deacons.

        The 501c3 status has nothing to do with the way that a church operates. Usually the operational structure of a church is determined by either the leaders of that church or the members of that church. The non-profit status by the government in no way infringes, determines or even suggest the way that a specific church is to be operated or organized. And speaking of 5013c…how does having 501c3 status equate to guaranteed retirement fund for a pastor?

        You give no explanation for “Shame on us all for allowing and paying someone else for our salvation.” I’ve reread this statement several times and can not begin to understand what it is that you are attempting to convey. Who did you pay for your salvation? I didn’t realize that salvation was for sell.

        This reads as if there is an axe to grind about paid pastors…or perhaps just pastors in general. I’m sure that if Jesus were here today He would certainly perform some house cleaning. Finances would be one of the reasons, but I would imagine there would be a few other reasons that He might overturn some tables in our churches.

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        • Revgazza
          September 15, 2016

          amen

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        • Pastor Greg
          September 16, 2016

          Well said.

          Reply
      • Andrea
        September 15, 2016

        Tommy,
        I am curious. Are you a pastor?

        Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Jesus is alive today…

        Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        This is the best suscint summary of the plague confronting the church in this end time. I totally agree with every statement and most importantly your conclusion. Thank you very much

        Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Tommy Garret, you spoken the gospe truth and I quote this statement which my Christian brothers and sisters in Africa must hear: “Too many of us rely on another man to guide us to God when it is our own responsibility to arrive at point. Shame on us for allowing and paying someone else for our salvation and running to the pastor for every cut and bruise. . . .” When I minister to Christians that I believe to be filled with the Holy Spirit and they keep on coming back I show them the way to the Lord of Hosts. I let realised that I am “a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.” They must go to God because I am not “the way”. Jesus is the way and the supplier of our needs. It works and they come back to thank me and share their testimonies with me. Don’t run to the pastors. Run to Jesus the Originator and Perfecter of your faith. We are all fellow ministers and saints of God. The problem we have is that many pastors carry themselves around in manner that the church members assume that they have to run to them for deliverance from every attack of the evil one.

        Reply
      • Williams
        September 15, 2016

        Well spoken. Taking money from the poor andd widows who can’t pay their rent or utilities nor their medications. Pastor tells them they are cursed if they don’t tithe, give their last (seed) and trust God, while they have all of their family members on the payroll living off the poor. Pastor and family lives in million dollar homes and dont have t pay taxes, ; some dont even pay mortgage payments because of the church 501 (c)(3 status.However we still need to pray for all pastors and others in leadership over God’s people.

        Reply
        • Ricky
          September 15, 2016

          Williams, What in the world are you referring to? All pastors pay taxes. We even pay at a higher tax rate than most of our members. Most pastors are considered self employed for tax purposes. My tax rate is 15.3%. The average tax rate for most people is somewhere around 6.2%. I am allowed a housing allowance that I still have to pay a percentage to taxes.

          If an individual takes out a mortgage to purchase a house then he has a mortgage payment. A lender is going to require payment for the loan. I’ve never heard of a bank say, “Here’s your loan of $150,000 for your home, but don’t worry about repaying because you are the pastor of a church that has a 501c3.”

          Reply
      • Dane
        September 16, 2016

        Mighty BIG generalization. Don’t think one can reasonably “fit” all churches into that generalization.

        Reply
      • September 16, 2016

        A successful building project can catalyze a “change of phase” in the life of a church, from Model A to Model B.

        Model A resembles a raucous family reunion, presided over by a tribe of crazy uncles — vivid personalities drawn from the full spectrum of vocations. Salesmen. Physicians. Contractors. Entrepreneurs. etc.

        Model B resembles a slick professional religious corporation, professionally managed by a team of slick religious professionals, all drawn from a single vocation — the professional ministry.

        In Model A, the Holy Spirit is trusted to energize and inspire every member to do something notable for the Kingdom. The elders find the fire, and pour a little gasoline on it. “Ministry” is something we do in our own spheres. In Model B, the initiative comes from the top/center, and “volunteers” are recruited to help out the “real” (i.e. salaried) ministers. New specialized projects are created and ballyhooed to leverage the investment in plan and equipment. “Ministry” is something “they” do “there.”

        Here’s a parable:

        Samuel Sondesbok lowered the welding hood over his face, and, working by feel, struck an arc. As the carbon rod consumed itself, he laid down a bead, guided by the light of the arc. His generic welder could do crude work on the steel frame, but the body of The Tow Truck was titanium. And no amount of wishing would convert his Sears welder into the costly TIG machine the real machinists used for bodywork. He laid down another bead, hoping that, some day, his solid welding skills would be noticed by the suave professionals with their tungsten electrodes and limitless supplies of argon.
        The Tow Truck was coming along, always under construction, always improving. The Machinists kept finding ways to expand the shell. The Mechanics kept finding ways to fine-tune the engine. It fired up with a gratifying deep-throated roar from time to time, flaunting massive power to amuse the passengers. The service manuals Samuel read spoke of the need to make The Tow Truck as large as possible, and to keep inviting people into it. And keep that motor in tip-top shape, so that it could run the air conditioner, the sound system, and all the other amenities for the passengers. The Alpine Guru mourned how littered the scenery was with wrecks, so keep a door open, and urge people to come in out of the rain, to find warmth and comfort on the inside. And verily did many of the passengers find warmth and comfort in each other’s arms.
        And then one day, Samuel picked up a different kind of manual, penned by a man whose nature was a divine pun. “Did you notice that there is a towing hitch on the back of The Tow Truck?” the Armenian Calvinist asked. “Did you notice that the Mechanics have disengaged the engine from the transmission?” And as the Machinists and Mechanics did howl in rage at the rudeness of those comments, a quiet Voice at his elbow mused, “You know, Samuel, the world needs more mechanics on the outside with their tools than shop technicians endlessly refining the inside of the Tow Truck.”

        Reply
      • Christine
        September 16, 2016

        You have said a mouthful and I have lived through what you described. Right on. Sadly.

        Reply
      • Terri
        September 16, 2016

        As a Pastors kid and now Pastors wife, I do not agree the way a certain church is run is the problem.
        The first real problem is PRIDE! Church leaders and members forget whom they serve and think decision can be made in human logic without spending time listening to the Lord. God will not tell one group one thing and another group in the church something else. Someone isn’t listening to God, but instead their own pride .
        2. When is the last time you asked your Pastor or any other church staff person out for lunch? Not to discuss church, but just to share life and bless them with a meal?
        That, alone is such a blessing and goes a long way in encouragement . It’s a lost art

        Reply
      • Lauren Schlicht
        September 16, 2016

        As a Pastor I have to agree & disagree with Tommy Garrett’s comment and turn it around. In the three churches I have worked in, I have not seen a small group of ‘privileged’ people dragging the others in the congregation. I have seen that there aren’t enough people who take the time and get involved in the running of their church. People make commitments and don’t follow through (so there is no one to teach the 3rd graders this week). Other people just want to come on Sunday mornings and be entertained in exchange for the $20 the drop in the plate. This leaves the Pastor and whoever is willing to help (usually a small group of the same people who serve over and over again). What has happened to the feeling of ownership – this is My/Our community and we should serve as we are able. Yes the Pastor may have more education in the scriptures, but there are ways for all to serve their community. If you aren’t serving, you are part of the problem.

        Reply
        • Pastor Greg
          September 16, 2016

          Amen

          Reply
        • Donna
          February 1, 2017

          Lauren, you have hit the nail on the head, for most of us.

          Reply
      • Mary
        September 16, 2016

        You are so on point. I know lots of people who have left the chur h for that reason. I do believe churches may need to start asking their selves diud they leave the church or did the church leave them. So many churches have became the world . The Bible tells us to set ourselves apart. It also says they will knoiw we are believers by the love we show each other. We need to get back to becoming more like Jesus and less li!me the world. Also churches that are ran like business in my opinion need to pay taxes like everyone else

        Reply
      • Steve Rhoads
        September 16, 2016

        that is NOT true of many churches. You are lumping every church together that is tax exempt and that’s not fair. What you described is not true at all of the church I attend and of many I’ve been a part of through the years. Obviously you’ve been hurt by the church. You need to get healing and get over it…find a place where healing can occur, otherwise, you will always be bitter toward the church. I haven’t found one that’s perfect yet, either and yes, I was deeply wounded in ministry. I’m on the road to healing because I’ve sought that road and it took awhile to find, but it is there.

        Reply
      • D. Holloway
        September 16, 2016

        Amen.
        & tithes are supposed to be for helping other believers, not for paying someone to teach us the Bible or to lead us in singing.

        Reply
      • Dan
        September 18, 2016

        You are so very very right! I thought I was the originator of this 501c3 model of discretion.
        So good to see I am not alone. May the Lord bless you richly.

        Reply
      • September 18, 2016

        Tommy,
        The issue you have raised is very common. I have met lots of people like yourself. And I have also seen some churches running just like any other business with a pastor like a CEO.
        Being an UPAID full time (24/7) pastor/church planter in the third world country for most of my life, I can certainly feel for the pastors. Pastoral vocation is a calling not a mere job. There may be some exceptions but pastoral work is the most unpaid or underpaid vocation. All I am saying is we cannot generalize. I have also had some experience in the Western world. I have observed small and mid-sized church pastors very closely and have seen their struggle. The struggle doubles or triples if it is a denominational church. And I strongly believe, if it were not for their calling, they wouldn’t be in the ministry. If these pastors were to go out and work for any company with the same level of commitment and dedication, they would certainly get paid much more than what they draw from the church.
        I am not complaining or asking the pastors to complain about their low income, all I am saying is most of these pastors work hard and I believe many of them would continue to work with the same level of passion even if their pay is to be cut off.

        Reply
      • Bob Breman
        September 19, 2016

        Wow Tommy- I’m glad I’m not your pastor.

        Reply
      • Christy Ford
        September 20, 2016

        I will pray for you because I sense too much bitterness.
        You can’t lump all churches into one. There are many where people worship but we never claimed to be perfect. Church is a hospital for sinners.

        Reply
      • Sara
        September 23, 2016

        Of course people are going to have an opinion if you bought a new car- the church system was never meant to provide a comfortable American living for anyone. I remember when giving $50 was a sacrifice, and I was guilted into giving money in the name of God, to honor God, to show my love by giving my first fruits, etc. That money was not used for God, it was used for some “missionary” to go paint a house to make themselves feel good, and then enjoy and all expense paid vacation someplace tropical. Or maybe it put a small dent in the pastors huge mortgage, while I was at home accepting hand-me-down maternity clothes and trying to buy milk. The broken system we call church has justified pathways that allow you, pastor who wrote this article, to feel good about buying that car. DON’T ignore your first inclination to feel bad about it – Maybe thst’s God speaking to you. We do not need someone to read the bible to us- we are a literate world now. We can google history and Greek and tell to God just like you. Your job, although at one time in history served a purpose, is becoming extinct. Pastors are burning out because they sense this and are trying to stay one step ahead. But pastors were never meant to earn their living selling God, so perhaps it is time to consider it is God’s grace that so many are falling. Perhaps the church is not what Jesus intended, and perhaps we should all be willing to let go of the current business model ( mentioned above) that is destroying people. If you want or need a car, go make some proverbial tents like Paul. And remember, you have put yourself in the position that Jesus himself deemed unnecessary when he said you don’t need to call anyone “father” ( pastor) anymore. Maybe if pastors laid ego down and agreed to shared the load by sharing the pulpit, burnout would not be. But that would be letting go of control, and *gasp* actually trusting God’s spirit to lead in someone other than a western educated male collecting a salary.

        Reply
      • D. Roberts
        September 24, 2016

        You, sir, are right on! Thanks.

        Reply
      • Beth
        October 4, 2016

        Really well written response.

        Reply
      • Pas. Rex Allen Self
        January 30, 2017

        With all due respect and in response to comment left by Tommy Garrett. Not all pastors or churches are that way. My wife and I bought and paid for the property we use for church, housing and feeding people. WE have had to work 2 to 3 jobs to keep the doors open. I have never taken a pay check nor has anyone else. I not only do NOT have a retirement fund we spent our savings and 401;s on the “Church” and its operations. Our health has finally caught up with us and we do not have the means to pay for or fund medical. WE have med. bills that are in excess of 100k at this time, My 4 th heart attack, We will continue to serve GOD with or without money. 18 yrs and our outside money to help feed and house is $200.00 per mo. and it is up to us to provide the rest. And yes, we are a 501c3 because most of the time the ONLY way that anyone will “Give” to help others is if they “GET” something in return. There are MANY more churches that do and operate the same way we do. Peace, love and respect in the name of JESUS. Prayers to ALL pastors for their struggles. Pastor Rex Allen Self and director for Set Free Ozarks Ministries in Cabool, Mo.

        Reply
      • Kim Warner
        February 1, 2017

        Because I wouldn’t sign a mentorship agreement for an ordination internship, I was demoted from being assistant pastor. I was employed at another church as a pianist and the pastor wanted me to quit. At the time, this was my only income. I still was able to get my internship done another way and will be ordained in May. Eventually, my husband and I were forced to leave the church and go to another one of the same theology. They understand and don’t have a problem with me playing the piano at the other church. I feel sad because I miss my friends.

        Reply
      • February 2, 2017

        Tommy; please don’t speak for all churches. Ours is a 501C3, but have no paid staff, even our 4 pastors. We meet in a hotel so we don’t have all that extra overhead. Our purpose is to make disciples. Our ministry outside the church helps local people directly, not only through finances but also through actions. http://Www.thegathering4christ.org

        Reply
      • Stanley Reynolds
        February 2, 2017

        I just read your post- I have pastored for 34 years and I baffled or maybe lust ignorant that churches have large sums of money set aside and that all the funds go to a senior pastor with a fat retirement account. I started the church and worked bi-vocationally for 7 years, drawing very little (200.00 a month) while we saved money for property. I have been full- time now since 1992. We did not start drawing a retirement until 2002. Our church became leaders in area of missions which we have sustained now for almost 20 years. We have great people who worship as they give. We have assisted widows for years with a monthly gift. I just do not think all churches are like what you described- we are a 5013c

        Reply
      • Kerry
        February 3, 2017

        Tommy, you make some very valid points! We have become far too used to sitting back in the pews expecting to be entertained rather than do the work that the Lord call each believer to do on His behalf. Thanks for the reminder!

        Reply
      • Dianna
        February 4, 2017

        Tommy Garrett: Yes. Yes. Yes.
        For years I ran around banging on doors armed with Bibles and tracts trying to “bring home” those poor, backslidden former members who had left the church and thus (appallingly) become “unchurched.” Now I’m one of them.

        Reply
      • February 4, 2017

        Close. A large part of the problem is that we often operate as if the primary job of pastors (and other “paid staff”) is to do ministry. Actually, their primary job is to equip *us* to do ministry. As a result, the burden of ministry that should be on the church as a whole, is instead laid on the shoulders of the pastors. In that situation, it’s not surprising that pastors burn out.

        Reply
      • Beth Van Wieren
        February 6, 2017

        The church is crippled without the 5 fold ministry and not following the pattern! PATTERN IN THE BOOK OF ACTS

        Reply
      • Robert
        February 9, 2017

        I have no idea what world you live in. I pastored for 50 years, in season and out of season, living on wages that were at or below the poverty level– as do the vast majority of ministers. Anyone who would enter the ministry “for the money” would have to be delusional.

        Reply
    • CS
      September 15, 2016

      Someone in leadership in our church once looked at my husband and said that sometimes it’s hard to respect my husband because if my husband weren’t his pastor, they wouldn’t even be friends. That was difficult for my husband (and me!) to hear. But I guess we knew where he stood. He did apologize later for being disrespectful, and we forgave, but it still hurts.

      I sometimes wish people in the church would realize all that a pastor goes through, not just on Sunday, but throughout the entire week – the entire year even! I believe this article is spot on, and wish I could share it with people in our church without it sounding like I’m whining or complaining. 🙂

      Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        CS, I hear you. I appreciate your comment. So much grace has to be shown both to the pastor and to the church members. We are all flawed. I’m sorry that was said to your husband.

        Reply
        • LM
          September 16, 2016

          My husband and I are both pastors and we do not get any pay nor do we want any pay. We are in this to serve the people of God. I have a hard time with people trying to run our personal lives or making decisions that should be our decisions. I can’t go into the whole story on public access but I am worn out and frustrated. I am so ready to resign.

          Reply
      • Julie
        September 16, 2016

        The person who said that only respects his/her friends? Limited. Unfortunately, a pastor or any Christian leader who is “known” is a a major target for the firery darts of Satan and the wicked. We have to have on our armor to withstand such attacks. We should expect them. Doesn’t make it less painful when people attack, but we obey with our reaction. People have said things to me (rarely) that were hurtful and I do not respond realizing the real source of what was said or done. Satan is alive and prowling in this world. I know this is not news to you but I find remaining aware of this lends perspective to the pain.

        Reply
    • Almarie
      September 15, 2016

      Amen, or looking to be seen with them, like he’s their buddy, it all God not man.

      Or some type of position in the church.

      Reply
    • Chris
      September 16, 2016

      One reason why I got out and why I have lots of people I’m friendly with but none of whom I’m friends with.

      Reply
    • Vee
      September 17, 2016

      Amen! I concur!

      Reply
    • Sam K
      October 6, 2016

      Think it’s time for some perspective. It’s not the end of the world, nor the end of your friend’s life or faith because he’s tired. It’s also nothing to be ashamed of. People are not perfect. To think we’re going be exceptional leaders every moment for decades until we die is unrealistic. It’s also a bit arrogant and unfaithful to think we’re capable of operating at that kind of prolonged, unending peak level.

      The truth is leadership is exhausting. And there are seasons in everyone’s life where the mantle of leadership should ebb and flow. And in between we should continue to learn, recover and grow strong in anticipation of the next season.

      Last, I think it’s unhealthy to look at this challenging moment as bad. God is good. Good beyond measure. In fact His goodness is so powerful that He chose the worst moment in human history to do the greatest good this world has ever seen. So, you’ve got to start looking at life’s events through His eyes. For Him this is an opportunity. For your friend to find rest and for another child of His to honor Him through leadership service! So find joy in that! His plan was never ours to decide, but rather witness, have faith, and be in awe of Him. So let go of your sadness, regret and disbelief…find comfort in trusting Him and seizing the opportunity He’s presented.

      Reply
    • Melissa
      February 2, 2017

      I truly sympathize with the enormous responsibility of pastors. However, I disagree that the position is any harder than a lot of other leadership type jobs. We all experience burnout. Imagine that of a nurse or a teacher. Yes our challenges are unique. But you are not special my dear pastor. Your job is no harder than a lot of others.

      Reply
      • Melissa
        February 2, 2017

        Omg!! Get over yourself. You think pastors are some “set apart” special group? I don’t minimize your role but why must you feel that your job is soooo much harder. Have you thought about a nurse’s job? A teacher’s job? A military platoon leaders job? I understand this comment doesn’t eleviate your particular struggles. But please stop thinking your so special or different. Your not. It’s life!! So your tired! So you chose to leave your job. Many, many people choose to change positions for similar reasons. Some jobs have to be seasonal. And we go on to something a little less demanding. Imagine being a police chief of even a small town. No one likes admitting when “they just can’t do it anymore”!! No one enjoys feeling like they’ve quit. You haven’t quit. You make changes for very respectable personal reasons. That is all!!

        Reply
    • Clifton
      February 3, 2017

      Fantastic blog, Rob!

      Reply
    • Kevin
      February 3, 2017

      My former church hired a new pastor. At first he appealed to everyone, he was super friendly, funny, makes great first impressions, his sermons evoked emotional responses, he had big plans to increase the number of people attending the church. Over time I saw that he had an unhealthy need to be liked by people and needed to be affirmed. After two years he was still on a very superficial level; personally and spiritually. During a meeting with him we talked about friendships and I told him that he was not someone I considered as a friend or a spiritual mentor because he could not get beyond the superficial. He was a buddy, but not a true friend. Several years later, he stated from the pulpit during a sermon that he realized that was a person who is very superficial. His superficiality affected his leadership style as well; the lack of depth meant that the church was constantly jumping from one new program idea to another. AS the number of attendees grew, he became the vision casting CEO that was constantly reworking the vision he wanted to cast. He still is a super friendly guy and still makes great first impressions, but sadly that is where it stays. I often wonder what motivated him to become a pastor, was he truly called by God or did he see being a pastor as a means to have a crowd of people who would provide him with a narcissistic supply?

      Reply
    • Mark
      February 5, 2017

      Perhaps it’s bc our current version or understanding of “church” in our consumeristic, organizational, western world context is not what was in the heart of Jesus when he began the movement? I feel for this brother. I get it. I’ve been there myself, and although our current organizational structure has encouraged me personally in the past at times because God uses everything, I just do not believe what we have created is what it’s supposed to be.

      Reply
    • jimmy meeks
      February 6, 2017

      This article should not have said the pastor “bit the dust.” That implies he completely failed. He may have just gotten tired. Those in the ministry for a long time (not a few years) understand this. 1000 preachers walk off the job every month.

      Reply
    • February 7, 2017

      I am happy for Him. For God has been calling His people out of the Sunday churches. His mercy met us in there. Rome started America (America is colony of Rome and Babylon) and the Sunday churches. It is founded on Babylon. God is judging His people first and wants a relationship and doesn’t want us following a man. God’s Word is a live and each one of us can hear straight from the Lord through His Holy Spirit. It is a personal thing. And yes each of us has gifts and carries a burden and character and Word from the Lord and it will be by the Holy Spirit after time with Him that we will be led to the brother that may be carrying a Word from the Lord. – 501c is the devils church and the pastors need to repent and come out. I am not insulting the precious soul…I believe He is on the right track. God is warning His children to come out of the churches or they will be handed over to the antichrist. -In 2009 myself as a Watchman on the Wall and have a gift of revelation of national dangers (given as prophecy in 2007 and has turned out to be true, God began revealing much and warning that Red Cross is not of God and churches have signed up with them for when the catastrophic events begin to occur. Also- the mark of the beast and vaccine genicide will be given out through the churches. Before you mock….be humble and seek God on this.

      Reply
    • February 7, 2017

      I am happy for Him. For God has been calling His people out of the Sunday churches. His mercy met us in there. Rome started America (America is colony of Rome and Babylon) and the Sunday churches. It is founded on Babylon. God is judging His people first and wants a relationship and doesn’t want us following a man. God’s Word is a live and each one of us can hear straight from the Lord through His Holy Spirit. It is a personal thing. And yes each of us has gifts and carries a burden and character and Word from the Lord and it will be by the Holy Spirit after time with Him that we will be led to the brother that may be carrying a Word from the Lord. – 501c is the devils church and the pastors need to repent and come out. I am not insulting the precious soul…I believe He is on the right track. God is warning His children to come out of the churches or they will be handed over to the antichrist. -In 2009 myself as a Watchman on the Wall and have a gift of revelation of national dangers (given as prophecy in 2007 and has turned out to be true, God began revealing much and warning that Red Cross is not of God and churches have signed up with them for when the catastrophic events begin to occur. Also- the mark of the beast and vaccine genicide will be given out through the churches. Before you mock….be humble and seek God on this.

      Reply
    • Michele McDonald Owens
      February 7, 2017

      We have been friends of our pastors that we have now for many years as I grew up in church with them and I know some of the struggles of those Preachers Kids who are now in Ministry themselves .I see how people like to put them up on pedestals and just dare them to fall .We need to pray for each other and be there for each other as ones in ministry.Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and if He prompts you to pray do it quickly because you never know what they may be facing in that exact moment and you could be that lifeline that is needed right then.Pray for us as we are in the learning process and are going for the next step soon together.When He tugs at your heart to pray don’t wait Thank you for being sensitive to listening for His voice.

      Reply
    • Cheryl
      February 7, 2017

      That’ll bring the true motive to light. Very good!

      Reply
    • March 9, 2017

      This is a sad truth. My hubs is a minister and is naturally not outgoing. We have worked hard to find other minister friends not in our church that we can be real with and not worry about retaliation. Such a sad l, but necessary thing.

      Reply
  2. Kevin
    September 13, 2016

    This resonates with me in such a huge way today. I’ve currently been going through a very similar valley. You’re right. It’s super lonely. Will continue to hope and pray we both find the strength to continue in this fight,

    Reply
    • Robin Friend
      September 13, 2016

      Well done again, Rob. Thank you for this reminder!

      Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Kevin, sorry you are going through it. If I can do anything to help you please don’t hesitate to text me. Even if you need to grab lunch and just talk about the Lakers, I’m available.

      Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      As an old retired pastor now, I’ve endured those times as well. The only thing I can say to those fatigue, retired young pastors is: it is the Will of God you endure this. It took me years and years to endure after stepping down to find the reasoning about what is happening with so many pastors of young. I was a young pastor at that time (30 – 40) and had still to learn after seminary that you was never taught about the Real Christian Faith Life, which has nothing to do with any kind of denomination teaching but only with learning what God is all about for humans… Now I support faith people to manage their life how Gods Wants it to live successful foor Him only…

      Reply
      • Glenda
        September 14, 2016

        We don’t endure we love like Jesus loves us by abiding in him

        Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Paul would disagree. Endurance was one of his major encouragements. For example, 2 Tim. 4:5.

          Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Cornelius, great points. In so many ways seminary can fall short for preparing young pastors for what “Real Christian Faith” is all about.

        Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Couldn’t find the comment section so I will post as a reply. I understand your heart is this and you are correct. My issue is your title. He steps down because he is tired and as he admitted it was his own doing by not prioritizing that. But “bitting the dust” is not really what I think he did. He not done nor did he have moral failure. Despite the elder begging him to take time he stepped down because he knew he was done. I know Pete and my daughter and son in law attend the Nashville campus. His ministry is not over God has changed his dirredtion. I know God does this because in 2007 I quit bowling never to return again. God had a different plan and I now serve as a teaching pastor at the church of my dreams. Did I bite the dust? Nope I stopped and renews my walk and relationship with God and because he is awesome and not me he, by his grace restored me. So biting the dust is a little unfair and judgemnetal. Just my 2 cents

      Reply
      • Anabel
        September 15, 2016

        You are beautifully illustrating his point that someone’s always upset with the pastor. The guy from the title has stepped down from his ministry, and in the text it’s very very clear the author isn’t saying it’s from moral failure and there’s a decent chance he’ll return in due time. Taking issue with something as small as a reasonable, if dramatically worded, title is exactly why pastors feel like no one has their back. You say you understand his heart and his is right, why not leave it at that? That would have been encouraging.

        Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Thanks Anabel. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. My first book’s title came from something I believe God whispered to me. After receiving an anonymous letter that bashed me I heard, “Even if you preached a perfect sermon, someone would crucify it.” I’ve adopted that phrase in so many ways. No matter what someone will always find fault.

          Reply
        • duane dunham
          September 15, 2016

          I wonder if scheduled ‘sabbatical’ times for pastors to study, fish, re-tool would avoid some, if not all, these burn-outs?

          Reply
          • Revgazza
            September 15, 2016

            Great idea but many churches either can’t afford to pay their pastor to take a sabbatical or frown on him for wanting one.

            Reply
          • Dan
            September 16, 2016

            Nope

            Reply
          • JMB Hampshire
            September 17, 2016

            This is my thinking also. Sabbaticals are a wonderful chance for Pastors to spend time with their family. Another point that I see as essential is for churches congregations to spread the emotional pressures that Pastors need to geninvolved with. Pastors work can be shared with the use of gifted folk as Christians we all have Spiritual gifts and by putting gifted folk into work in the church, such as Prayer Ministry, pastoral care, sick visiting, admin, mentoring, the list is endless, all will have opportunity to use their particular giftngs.
            Vicars and Pastors in churches of the past were expected to ‘be all and to all, is it not understandable that congregations were generally small and leaders often broken. We thank the L ord that changes in church management style have the general opinion that all do and can receive Spiritual gifts, fittings to be used
            within the Church.

            Reply
        • Revgazza
          September 15, 2016

          Amen. My wife and I left our grown children and grandchildren to come to the USA (from Australia) at the Lord’s leading and the times we have thought about going home we are rebuked by “well meaning” Christians for leaving the harvest.
          Being a pastor is the loneliest and hardest job you can do. I am glad I am married to a great woman who is my best friend but I also know she is lonely for other female company. The women in our town shy from her because she is “that” pastors wife.
          I am disliked because i am a bible believing, bible preaching pastor in a liberal church town.

          Reply
        • Melissa
          February 2, 2017

          Some people just have to take things so personal and literal. He’s obviously still trying to sooth his own ego after a similar job change. Or burnout.

          Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Bryan, thank you for taking the time to comment. I don’t think Pastor Pete’s ministry or story is over. The fact that he is stepping away from a church he started because of being “Tired” and “Broken” breaks my heart. The title was more directed at my fears than Pete. I don’t want to bite the dust and quit because I’ve neglected important relationships, burned out, or had a moral failure.

        Reply
        • Wanda dodge
          September 15, 2016

          At one of my lowest points I was able to hear God speak to me and give me advise on how to straighten out my situation. I believe whether Pastor or layman when you no longer hear Gods voice it’s time to be still and listen. We as humans get so caught up in ourselves that we forget whose in charge and whose opinion really matters . God is not a quitter and neither should we.

          Reply
        • October 4, 2016

          And I also think that “biting the dust” can be a good thing, if indeed we believe that “for those who love God all things work together for good”. Sometimes, and I’m not saying it’s the case with any of these pastors because I don’t know them and I couldn’t judge, but sometimes, God allows us to bite the dust so that we’ll realize that “apart from Me you can do nothing.” Sometimes we can continue to do the work for years, without realizing that we have “left our first love.” We have forgotten that our first act of obedience/worship is BEING in His presence, listening to Him, loving Him and RESTING in Him. You find this pattern everywhere in the Bible: first, an encounter with God, second, being sent. And this encounter needs to be not just daily but ongoing, and it takes time. How many times did Jesus leave the multitudes to be alone with the Father? Did He accept people’s pressures? We find that He rested on the Father’s leading and sought Him to such an extent that no word left His mouth that did not have its source in the Father, and no action was performed out of His own will. And they continued to seek Him, but when He needed time out, He took it! If He, as God in the flesh, needed a lot of time alone with God, how much desperately do WE need it.
          But pastor Rob, it is essential that we understand that we (all Christians, not just pastors) are called to please God. Galatians 1 reads, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” I believe that some of you (and it’s a trap we all fall in, but you pastors are more vulnerable bc of your position) need to be delivered from an unhealthy need of approval and reassurance. Prophets were not popular. Some were even killed! Jesus was very popular when He started doing miracles, but gradually began to lose almost all of His disciples as He expressed the “radical” parts of His message. Even if it came to the point where you lost everything, you would still have Jesus. And having Him, you have everything!
          I know it sounds easier said than done. But all of Christ’s sheep have the same calling to die daily and give up everything if we want to be considered true disciples. Luke 14:25-33 is not for a special kind of Christian. It’s a challenge Jesus presents to us all, and ends with these words: “So therefore, ANY one of you who does not renounce ALL that he has cannot be my disciple.”

          Reply
          • Melissa
            February 2, 2017

            Most excellent insight!!

            Reply
    • Tammy
      September 14, 2016

      Philippians 3:14

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Kevin,
      Try to find a brother or sister pastor who you can vent and pray with. It is the only was I survived some dismal parishes, and retired sane and still saved. Blessings brother … I will pray for you.

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      If there is any way you can get to Catalyst Conference in Atlanta the first Thursday and Friday in October, you can be revived maybe. It’s a great conference.

      Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Jill, great suggestion. I love Catalyst. I’ve been 12 years and have grown a lot because of it. Great suggestion.

        Reply
    • Revgazza
      September 15, 2016

      and the sad thing is many pastors do not want to befriend another pastor.

      Reply
  3. Karen
    September 13, 2016

    This blog has me in tears. I have seen pastors get hurt by the congregation. I have seen pastors pour their heart into people and receive very little in return. I have seen children and youth adore these very people the adults criticize and hurt. It’s the children and their hearts that sometimes sense the truth in a heart more than any of us adults that have been scarred by life. My heart is heavy and at the same time so full because of the hearts of pastors that love God and give their all. It takes solid teamwork. The Gospel is not a solo act; we are all responsible to help each other and promote the growth of the Spirit. We need to encourage and teach one another. The Italians say that a fish starts stinking from it’s head. Well, Next Level is not stinking — in fact there is a wonderful fragrance of love for one another, and working through our humanness. And if I were approving the budget I would authorize a big pay raise for you and your family, who I see making sacrifices and being in the trenches with the rest of us. God wants to bless us.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Karen, your comment made me tear up. Thank you!!!

      Reply
      • Marjorie
        September 14, 2016

        I’m sorry to hear this!! Pastors have a difficult job! I’m a born again christian, & I see a lot of this going on in our church. I don’t agree with a lot of things going on in our church. I don’t think it’s God’s will, but certain people that take on the decisions of their own, & NOT praying for Gods will!. Or the best for the Church! Blessings to you and your family!!!❤ I hope God fills you with the holy spirit & guids you to where you will be appreciated!!

        Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Marjorie, thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope God’s unity comes over the church you are a part of.

          Reply
          • Sherry
            September 16, 2016

            Maybe “doing church” has made things complicated rather than simple and we have lost “being the church” and replaced it with denominations, programs, quatoas, and systems. Some Congregants are fed milk and not meat because that is what they demand. Some Churches are in competition with one another and feel the need to stay relevant in culture. The church is never stable or at peace when they have to “look” for ways to keep up with the changing culture. I would love to find a church where I could go hear Gods truth, be changed through what I am hearing, worship and have a simple relationship with those who call Jesus their Lord. The church needs to “grow up” into Him! Gods word , love, helping one another is all we need to be doing. Church has become so complicated its overwhelming. It has lost its first love… Jesus who has said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.””
            ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

            Reply
    • Mary Hendricks
      September 15, 2016

      So much is expected of Pastor’s now more so than years ago. My husband is 72 and been in the ministry since 19 yrs old. Not an easy road.
      You have to remember it’s hard on the wife & children also. I think some churches expect their pastor & family to be perfect.
      Karen I loved your post. It was a blessing. My husband & I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in July this year. God is the only one that has preserved & protected us. Amazing Grace for sure.
      The devil tries to defeat us all.
      We have to pray and stand strong.

      Reply
    • Mary
      September 16, 2016

      Beautifully said Karen. Adults are so quick to get angry with a pastor and a church without even considering their children’s love for the church. It truly breaks my heart. Yes, children are resilient but it is our responsibility to do what is best for them, putting them before ourselves. Next Level Church has changed my children’s lives. I shared with Rob and Amber and I will share with you. You are winning when your 5 year old is belting out “Your a Good Father” in the bathroom stall of a restaurant. I love the way our members love our children, inside and outside of church.

      Reply
  4. September 13, 2016

    The sad thing is that this is so damn preventable. I am a clinical social worker with many pastor friends, and I have done a fair share of research into pastoral burnout. May I humbly please list some suggestions to prevent pastoral burnout, as every pastor NEEDS:
    (1) a small cadre of friends who provide love, nurturance, confidentiality and accountability for the pastor AND the pastor’s family
    (2) to religiously take his/her scheduled days off, as well as sabbaticals
    (3) proper exercise and diet, and regular medical check-ups (stress/anxiety is also very common among pastors, and medication is NOT a sin)
    (4) date times with spouses, and family time
    (5) appointed people/elders etc in the church who “protect”, surround and buttress the pastor who people who would seek to denigrate/bring him/her down
    and most importantly
    (6) a group of elders who are intentional about not dumping too much on the pastor-or anything at all on the pastor’s spouse…and lastly and most importantly
    (7) people praying for the pastor 24-7……..

    Reply
    • martha
      September 14, 2016

      I’m a pastor’s wife and I greatly appreciate your insight. Do you have any other resources I could use to help my husband and my family. Thank you.

      Reply
      • September 14, 2016

        Martha, I hope Robert gets a chance to reply to your comment. One resource I would highly recommend is Emotionally Healthy Leader by Peter Scazzero. It helped me tremendously in a recent season I went through.

        Reply
      • David B
        September 15, 2016

        It’s a short book but can really reset our compass: “Help, I’m A Pastor” by Steve Backlund. He has a way of being completely deep and yet making it readable and even humorous.

        Bless you guys in the name of Jesus.

        Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Robert, this is a great list! I think number 5 is crucial! What do you say to your pastors who have close friends leave them because they disagree? That is something that is incredibly hard to get over.

      Reply
    • Susan McCurdy
      September 14, 2016

      Great points…write a blog post with this information!

      Reply
    • Hazel
      September 14, 2016

      Your first sentenance shows you need to learn how to speak for God’s glory.Children of the King should use the language of his court.

      Reply
      • Sheree Delk
        September 14, 2016

        What do you mean? Please explain your comment. Thanks, Sheree Delk.

        Reply
    • David Morrison
      September 14, 2016

      This is adjunct to your #2 …
      Unless you have arranged the meeting, for a very specific reason, that requires it, do not introduce your Pastor with, “I’d like you to meet my Pastor, Bob Smith”. When you do this two things happen.
      1. Your friend is wondering what he has done, that he needs to meet your Pastor.
      2 Your Pastor feels like he has been put “on the clock” and must deliver.
      Instead, just intro him, as your “friend” Bob and let their connection grow, organically.
      Cheers,
      from Canada

      Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Great, David!!

        Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        David, that’s solid advice. Thanks for taking time to comment.

        Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Ross, This is the best, most cogent and most helpful response to the original post. I can and do affirm every single suggestion which you have offered here. I would perhaps add to it that my own underlying mantra for dealing with angry/difficult people is often what I refer to as “the godfather rule” of ministry. In my experience (3 pastorates and a mission agency), this rule applies about 90% of the time. “It’s just business, it’s not personal.” Far too often, teh pastor is just a convenient foil for misplaced anger, hurt or disappointment.

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Robert: I totally appreciate what you are saying. In fact, most all of those steps I began implement in my ministry 25 years ago. The one problem, and one I’ve never really been able to get a handle on is #1 – (1) a small cadre of friends who provide love, nurturance, confidentiality and accountability for the pastor AND the pastor’s family
      You cannot just create a “friend”. Unless God raises someone up to be this in your life, you have to lean completely on God. Many have told me I need to “get” friends with these good qualities, but how do you do that? Small town, rural environments, especially, make it very hard to accomplish. And if you’ve never ministered in those environments for years – you do not know the culture of exclusion that permeates, even among nice people.
      That being said, God is enough, pastors. Recruit folks who will faithfully pray. Endure, and look ahead to your eternity.
      The guy writing about the cushy jobs, retirement, dictatorial attitudes, etc. must be from a different planet.

      Reply
      • Desparate For The Real Jesus
        September 15, 2016

        Agreed.

        Reply
    • Isaiah 26:3
      September 15, 2016

      I appreciate these thoughts, but it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find this kind of checklist in many churches today. So, I want to interact with this list. This is not meant as an attack, but just a balance to the list.
      (1) To find just one friend who will keep confidentiality is extremely difficult. I have found one; and praise the Lord for him. But in over 35 years of ministry, he is a rare breed to find.
      (2) To take scheduled days off is very, very difficult. Someone suddenly goes into the hospital, passes away, gets some really bad news, or some other malady demands my attention. Then to try and work in another day off later that week is often impossible.
      (3) I think exercise and an outside hobby is essential. The Lord helps me to iron out challenges while I garden or do woodworking or yard work. He shows me how badly I have gotten into fleshly responses. Thankfully, I serve a very loving, understanding, patient and forgiving church. So, finding some alternative focus has enriched my pastoral duties and responses in ministry.
      (4) I want to affirm your suggestion for date times. It is a must. I married my wife, not our church. My ministry can only be as strong as my marriage. And these date times must be every week…both planned and spontaneous. Sometimes, we need several dates a week. But that is important. My family is grown and gone from the home; but we find opportunities to see them regularly…even when the distance is 3-15 hours drive time.
      (5) It is extremely difficult to find older, mature Christian leaders in a church to protect the pastor. I have experienced very hurtful words spoken to me over the past 35 years…many in private, away from any witnesses…and any protection. When I have addressed the problem with leaders, they disbelieve me; but I have no proof…no witnesses. Such and such “would never say such a thing!” is often the response.
      (6) I am very grateful that our leaders don’t dump too much on me or my wife. They are most considerate; but I know that there are churches where, especially the pastor’s wife carries a tremendous weight of responsibility in ministry and yet is expected to raise the children while working part time or full time and maintain the home, sharing in frequent hospitality with church people. The stress is just too much for them. Praise God that my wife doesn’t have this weight, but I know of many who do and it really grieves me. It can cost them their marriage, as well as their ministry.
      (7) I am also very grateful for praying people…and 24-7 would be nice, but it is not realistic.
      If I could add a few more points, it would be…
      (8) Enjoy God! Walk with Him, talk with Him, sing to Him–audibly, too. Telling Him my hurts, telling Him my joys, telling Him everything is healing…He already knows it anyway!
      (9) Love the people. What’s becoming an old adage still carries truth: “Hurt people, hurt people.” And often they hurt the very ones they love the most. Now, when people say very hurtful things, I know it comes from a heart that has been seriously hurt in the past; and that wound is oozing. It hasn’t healed like it should; and I need to love them…because there’s something very ugly inside of them that they are stuck and cannot get healing. The tendency is to push away; but that only affirms to them the ugliness of their hurt.
      (10) Endure?–Endure!! Bro. Cornelius made mention of this in his blog; but he does have a point. Much of ministry is not seminary-related, but abiding in God’s school of hard knocks after seminary. I came out of seminary thinking that I was God’s gift to the Church; but He had to send me through some years of wandering in the wilderness ’til I was broken and He could use me. But He has to keep breaking me nearly every day; because I quickly forget yesterday’s lessons. Endure!–There’s no shortcut to spiritual maturity!
      (11) Satan is Real! He takes pleasure is stealing the joy of ministry from you. He kills your desire to serve the Lord in the next moment. He destroys the testimony you have before the world. If you “blow him off,” he’ll celebrate! If you doubt his reality, he’ll have a heyday in your ministry. If you dismiss him, he’ll destroy you.
      Sorry for the length. I want to add more, but this is already too long. Also, I am a state licensed counselor with a master’s degree. Most importantly, I am still working on my Master’s Degree from the Univ. of Heaven; but I keep messing up on the final exams.

      Reply
    • duane dunham
      September 15, 2016

      Hooray! You have wisely nailed it.

      Reply
    • Conan
      September 16, 2016

      @robert ross…I think you left out – some generous spending money for out of town trips.

      Many pastors do not have big bank accts for spending money when they go on leave and so might just eat at home, watch a dvd at home and drive around town to avoid spending much needed money

      Reply
    • Barbara Ross
      September 16, 2016

      love this….

      Reply
  5. Linda McKelvey
    September 13, 2016

    This post made me very sad. I hope and pray that you have a strong group of close friends that you can lean on and trust and who encourage you. Each week, without exception, I have been spiritually lifted by your sermons. You are genuine and passionate about Jesus and it shows. I am so grateful to have found this church.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Thanks Linda! I’m excited to be in group with you this semester!!!

      Reply
  6. September 13, 2016

    Appreciate you sharing your heart brother. I am blessed to have friends who love me deeply…even after I became a pastor! Their friendship and commitment to pray for me has made the difference I’m sure in keeping me sane. Praying for you and brother Pete.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Thanks Jay. One struggle with many friends my age is the abandonment of the faith. Some of my favorite people, who would pray, and who had a deep love for theology are going down a new path. Some of the fundamentalism from our youth has now pushed them out the door once they are a little older. Don’t get me wrong, I have some amazing friends who love me for me. It does weigh on me seeing some of my friends move on from the faith. It doesn’t change how I view them, we are still friends, but I miss their encouragement.

      Reply
  7. Lauren Cory
    September 13, 2016

    Great post. I respect you, admire you, and so appreciate your wisdom that you share with us in your daily blog and vulnerability that’s you show. I will continue to pray for you and Next Level Church.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Thanks Lauren! Monica just mentioned the other night how awesome you are. You do an amazing job of being kingdom minded and supporting your pastor/church. You rock!!!

      Reply
  8. September 13, 2016

    A good reminder to be encouragers to those who continually work at encouraging others. Thanks for this.

    Reply
  9. Brian Hollifield
    September 13, 2016

    Rob – I have NO DOUBT you will retire a pastor… I don’t know you ” personally ” but I have seen you and heard you preach… you are TRULY a man of God and LIVE for Christ through your words and actions, the world could use more men like you.

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Thanks Brian! I greatly appreciate your encouragement. You were always kind to me when I was at WEC. I appreciate you taking time to comment.

      Reply
  10. Michele
    September 13, 2016

    Your post definitely made me sad. It kind of reminded me of the life of a teacher–truly under a microscope. I love that you share some of your deepest feelings with your blog readers. That window into your world is quite illuminating. I enjoyed being able to comment on your sermons each week when I lived in the 757. I miss that opportunity, and I miss you and Monica!!!

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Michele, it might be time for a visit. We miss you too.

      Reply
  11. September 14, 2016

    It also saddens me to hear about pastors stepping down. It shakes you up… it causes fear. I also want to finish strong…. I have had great examples of men who in their old age are still serving. My father is serving and still preaches pretty soon he will retire but not quit… finish strong. I’ve seen men of God like Ray Mesa, Jesse Miranda… last district council we honored men and women who are finishing strong…. we have to learn from them…. they did it the old way, which tells me that maybe the old way is better than the new way… maybe the old way depended more upon the Holy Spirit and the power of the word of God…. and the new way depends to much on technology, lights, cameras, action… maybe the old way taught doctrine through hymnology but the ne way teaches you to repeat 6 words 100 times… im 43…. and im seing the new way falling short from all the glamour and hipe it offers… maybe we need to return to the ancient paths and seek a new revival for our days… don’t get me wrong… we have technology at my church, we’ve created an enjoyable and beautiful place for worship… but it cant take the place of the sweet presence of God in the service…. if we burn out, its because were putting together productions… then maybe we need to just return to having church on Sunday and allow the Holy Spirit to move! I want to finish strong… i covet your prayers also…

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Nelson, thank you for your comment. I think there is a lot we can learn from past generations. Often there is a territorial war on sacred cows that gets in the way from the younger generation learning from the older generation. I would be careful painting too glorious of a picture of the old ways. Each generation has it’s own struggles. Charles Stanley is as old school as it comes and went through a lot of personal turmoil with his wife. Before that he went through lots of challenging struggles. Many of those I’ve learned from reading books by his son Andy.

      Reply
      • Susan McCurdy
        September 14, 2016

        What specific books by Andy Stanley are you referring to?

        Reply
        • September 15, 2016

          Susan, one of them is Deep and Wide. I have also heard him preach on a time where a deacon went to punch his dad in a business meeting.

          Reply
    • marilyn Hook
      September 14, 2016

      Amen……Yes, you are right…I have been churched since I was a very young girl,
      and today Pastors get with other pastors and end up in the political game…I love the small churches where the word of God is preached and family comes 1st….Today the mega churches do not know who attends the church except for a very small circle….The little church has a hard time struggling, and if the pastor of a smaller church does not act like the mega Pastor….the people are ready to kick him out or move on to another church….It is a no win situation….heart breaking for families….All we can do is pray for the smaller church and the pastors and even hold meetings in the homes to see if the problems can be solved…..So sad………………………..

      Reply
      • Karen
        September 14, 2016

        Dearest next level is not so little. It is a pretty good size and still growing.

        Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        Marilyn, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate what you had to say. I’ve been a part of both mega churches and small country churches and from my experience there is hurt, and struggle at both. People are people. The sad thing is some of the most ungodly acting people have been in the church the longest.

        Reply
  12. Vince
    September 14, 2016

    When are we we going to realize that the current model for the local church is no longer working and the increase in pastors either just walking away or failing morally is just a symptom?

    Reply
    • September 14, 2016

      Vince, Thank you for the comment. I’d be interested to know more about what you are referring to. Do you have an article or stats? There are definitely problems with the current model, but have always been issues. I’m curious to know if there is data to back up if the current model is causing more burnout than past models.

      Reply
  13. Suzanne
    September 14, 2016

    It’s vital to remember that we have a common enemy whose name is Satan, and these are his tried and true ways of destroying the work of God’s kingdom. We must not forget that we are not each other’s enemies. Satan is our common enemy and we must stand together against him, always alert and wise to his schemes. We’ve got to have each other’s backs instead of being quick to stab a brother or sister in the back.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Suzanne, that is so true. Our spiritual enemy is one we cannot see, and yet we spend so much time fighting what we can see.

      Reply
  14. Susan
    September 14, 2016

    I would probably have gone to this Church because he looks a lot like James Bond. Seriously though, I agree with Rob Ross- “the shame is, it’s so dahm preventable.”
    I appreciate the incredibly vulnerable look and insight he gave Christians into a world we know little about.
    Perhaps learning to (gracefully) be part of the solution, and refusing to be part of the problem is called for.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Susan, thank you for taking the time to comment. Your last line is so crucial!

      Reply
  15. September 14, 2016

    Riding to Baton Rouge last week with my Pastor his phone rang 20 times. I told him I was glad I didn’t own his phone. Fact is I am glad I don’t own any cell phone. If people would just wait a few days before calling the Pastor, most often it is something not worth bothering him about.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Gregg, I’ve blogged about that before. Often when a church person is upset or needs something the quickly email or call even if it’s on a pastors day off. Some healthy boundaries help both parties.

      Reply
    • LoJen
      September 15, 2016

      He would have the option to let his phone take messages. He doesn’t need to answer his phone. I learned this 55 years ago, well before cell phones. My uncle never answered calls during family time at home.

      Reply
  16. September 14, 2016

    Good post, Rob,
    I came across your post on FB and had to reed it. As a Pastor for more than 20 years I can tell you that pastoral work in the 21st century is not quite all the Bible has asked to do.
    The demands and pressures are extremely out of this world. Even with the great suggestions given above in one of the comments (which they do help) you’re still bound to go through a wilderness experience that can make you want to give up. We all fight it every week, every month or in some season of our ministry life. I’ve gone through my share of wilderness as a pastor – not to mention as a regular Christian. That’s why I’ve decided to refocus my life on what the calling is really about, marriage, life, etc, and rebrand my personal life, to the design God has purposed me for.
    Thanks for a great post. We need to lock arms with each other and keep each other in prayer, as we fight the good fight of faith.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks Alex! I truly believe we are better together. Your last line is crucial.

      Reply
  17. Chris
    September 14, 2016

    “I’m tired. I’m broken.”

    I spoke those exact same words to my congregation in January 2009 when I announced my resignation. Those words hardly represented the wounds I had received after nearly 20 years of pastoring and did not come close to describing the battle I was about to face once I stepped away from the pulpit. Free from the expectations of the pastoral mantle, I entered into an anger-fueled prodigal son tour that would have made the thief on the cross shake his head at me in disgust.

    I could easily blame the attackers who brought an immeasurable amount of heartache and pain to my doorstep (and did for a number of painful years) but the most difficult part of my journey back to God was admitting my personal failures while wearing the title “pastor”. Those failures not only set me up to lose the spiritual battles I was engaged in but also provided a seat in my soul for my true enemy to take up residence.

    I am living proof that God is in the restoration business and that His calling is without repentance. When you’re truly God-called, there is no escaping that calling, no matter how desperate you may be to do just that. What I once thought to be a curse has become my greatest blessing. The journey was not enjoyable in the least but I would not trade the relationship I now have with God for all the money in the world.

    He truly did come to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free. The only thing He requires is that we come to Him with humble and contrite hearts. Believe me when I tell you the Potter knows how to soften even the hardest clay but it is far better for us if we choose to submit to Him. Like Jacob, if we choose to wrestle with Him, we’ll still end up kneeling before Him but we’ll be walking with a limp afterwards…

    Reply
    • Eric
      September 14, 2016

      God bless you Chris, God is good!

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Chris, thank you for trusting me with a part of your story. I’m thankful God brought you to the other side.

      Reply
    • CS
      September 15, 2016

      Amen, Chris. I’ve got a limp, too. I can relate to your story. I am finally free. God is faithful. Hound of Heaven.

      Reply
    • Desparate For The Real Jesus
      September 15, 2016

      Limping with you brother….

      Reply
    • Bruce
      September 16, 2016

      Dear Chris, thank you so much for your honesty, my wife and have been in ministry for 50 years, great times of blessing, 20 of those years in a mega church where the biggest thing is numbers and money, one day I said I’m wasting my time and ministry here and resigned and preach now every Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and touch the lives of people in smaller congregations, I step in to help Pastors who need time away because they know they can trust me, I won’t take their church, they feel safe and when they return hopefully their congregation is in a better place, I’m a veteran of this fight and thank God I’m able to help, money is always in short supply but my God supplies our small needs, have I had disappointments? Yes I have the church I served at as senior Pastor with other Senior Pastors about six of us 3 who preached regularly our congregation was about 25,000 people 650 cell groups etc, well I had a time of illness, no preaching, no income, God still supplied and our bills were paid , but I think the thing that hurt and I confess I held resentment about for a while was that this mega million dollar church that I had served for 20 years never helped and my wife and I never got a phone call from the lead Pastor or any of the Pastors we had served for those 20 years, people ask where do you get those wounds as a Pastor and I have to say, in the house of my friends, in all of this we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us – we continue in ministry and will finish strong

      Reply
  18. Susan McCurdy
    September 14, 2016

    Thanks Rob. Your post will encourage and educate many as it did for me!

    Reply
  19. Eric
    September 14, 2016

    Pretty good read. I would say having Pastored and worked as an executive for Fortune 500 companies and owned my own business’s over the years.
    None of the things he mentions are exclusive to being a Pastor. They are exclusive to leadership in most every field. It’s always lonely at the top of any organization and pressure filled when the buck stops with you.
    Criticism after a sermon? Most may not preach on their job but criticism is part of life and part of working. In the real world you have quarterly status updates and yearly reviews which are usually critique sessions on what you need to be doing better even though you feel like you have been doing your best. How is that any different?
    I own my own business and when my employees see me driving a new truck or whatever I still feel the need to explain that the old one had 300,000 miles on it or whatever because they think I’m making to much money and they are not making enough. Jealousy, envy and insecurity is not exclusive to the pastorate.
    This is certainly not directed at you or anyone but at the subject matter, I think far to many Pastors who have really good situations need to step back and realize how blessed they are instead of feeling sorry for themselves and blaming what everyone else deals with as life situations on their vocation.
    I’m convinced that this constant focus by many Pastors is simply a tool of the devil to justify how they feel or there depression or emotional state.
    I know there is abuse in some cases, name an area or a vocation where there is not some of that?
    My Grandfather was a pioneer preacher in the COG planting and Pastoring churches.
    I never heard him once complain or moan about how hard he had it. He raved about how God always provided and how he loved all of his people that he Pastored over the years.
    He actually had it really really hard. He had a family of 6 and one Sunday the church took in 10 cents tithe for the entire week! But God sent a drunk man off the street to knock on his door and give him two bags of groceries to feed his family. Thats real, thats tough but God provided and he didn’t quit and never once in my entire life did I hear him complain about the ministry, in fact quite the opposite. I could tell a hundred more stories like that. What changed? That men would sacrifice everything to now if someone critiques a sermon its quitting time?
    Sorry for the rant but this is a subject I’m passionate about.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Eric, no need to apologize. The Internet is a free place to rant. You bring up some great points. I wonder if one difference is when it comes to relationships we expect those in the church to act more like Jesus. When a pastor doesn’t it often leads church members to become disillusioned with God. When church members don’t it wounds the pastor because after all, in the church world, it’s not just business.

      Reply
    • Steve
      September 15, 2016

      Eric, you stated this so much better than my poor attempt, earlier. There is not one thing on the original list of things that pastors face, that a person in leadership positions in the secular world do not face as well. I would suggest it is much more severe in the business world. I traveled for a Fortune 500 company about 75% of the time, my family suffered, my phone rang 100 times a day, I was on call 24/7, many times I was asked to be on another continent in the next 24 hours to handle an emergency. People thought I made too much money, drove too nice a car, ONE person could end my career for almost no reason, a lot of people didn’t like my decisions, people were constantly after my job, I received criticism from peers and people who reported to me. etc. etc. etc. I didn’t have people who thought I walked on water because of my position. I didn’t have people who always fixed things for me around the house, gave me money and extra time to go on vacations. Have several date nights during the week? Laughable. Sorry, I have been there, done that, etc. as a part of a pastors family, I repeat……..big freaking deal. Go work a real secular job and come back and try to complain about how hard you have it and you are burnt out. Zero sympathy here. Most pastors have no idea what their average parishioner face out in the real world every day. If they did, they would quit all the whining.

      Reply
  20. Anthony
    September 14, 2016

    Spot on!

    Reply
  21. Gary M Hail
    September 14, 2016

    After being in the ministry some 30+ years I must say that the only, and I do mean only, way that a minister can survive is to keep in mind why they’re in the ministry to begin with. Are we in it for the people, or are we in it for the Lord? If it’s for the Lord, you will never be lonely. I really do mean that. If it’s for the people you will find yourself leaning more and more to a humanistic approach in dealing with what is in front of you. This has nothing to do with them, it’s had every thing to do with the Lord. We try to lead people to salvation because we don’t want them to go to some nasty hell – not because Jesus Christ is worthy of His reward. We find ourselves making our yoke burdensome and heavy because “we” are trying to work “our” ministry. A lot of times the reason we fall away is because it “is” our ministry, and not the Lords. This is His battle, not ours; He’s the General, not us – we’re just soldiers in this army. We shouldn’t try to win friends and influence enemies – the only one we should care about in this battle is the One who gave us our orders to begin with. If we please Him we have done our duty, I don’t care what falls down around you or what grows up around you – that’s it! And it is in that arena of light that you will find that the burden becomes light again, and the joy of serving comes back again. The only way you can get burn out is to get away from the source of Oil. This isn’t about us – it’s all about Him. I’m not meaning to be critical here, im just saying. Thank you and may our Lord bless. Get back on the firing line!!

    Reply
    • Cherry Messer
      September 14, 2016

      Amen Gary!

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks for sharing Gary.

      Reply
  22. Anne Smith
    September 14, 2016

    What great thoughts. My husband was the pastor of a small church for 14 years. Fortunately, and because of God’s Grace, he did not suffer some of the things you mentioned. But we WERE lonely, many times. Again, by God’s Grace, my husband is very grounded and strong (not that other pastors are not), so when people left the church because they were mad at some insignificant situation, my husband pressed on. He kept his eyes on Christ, and had a wonderful (but not perfect) ministry. Again, by God’s Grace, we were able to establish a few very close friendships, and these relationships were vital for us, especially since we did not live near family and were not ministering in the U.S. I do not fault pastors or their families if they feel the need to leave their ministry; but it IS sad. We are now back in the U.S., and although my husband is not a full-time pastor, he IS still serving the Lord in other capacities. God bless those men who faithfully preach Christ.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks Anne! I appreciate you sharing a part of your story.

      Reply
  23. Rock
    September 14, 2016

    We get so concerned about the pastor leaving and no one cares about members losing their faith because of the pastors. The church members are starving, while pastors spend hours reading articles on Facebook! Ex nihilo nihil fit…

    Reply
    • Martin Hodge
      September 14, 2016

      You have just made the point for all the pastors. Many people like yourself will judge the hearts of pastors without every knowing who you are talking about. Members who have lost their faith is what keeps us up at night. The lost is what drops us to our knees. The though that I was in anyway complicit in their leaving will leave me in tears. We are freely admitting to our own mistakes (and sin). Pastors are held to a different standard than the rest of the congregation (as we should be). Pastors need to spend whatever time they need to find way to fight through the struggles they face.

      Reply
      • Rock
        September 14, 2016

        I have never judged the heart of a pastor and never will. I loved my old pastor. But I cannot get this picture out of my mind: a tree in my yard that every year keeps giving lots of fruits and yet they are all rotten inside. You get the picture? I am not angry at any pastor, still deep in my heart there is something calling me back to church, just don’t know where to turn? Churches have made movie theaters their homes. And yes, I am lost.

        Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Rock, I’m truly sorry you feel that way. I’ve blogged about members leaving before. It’s a major concern for most pastors I know. If there is hurt that has been done to you, as a pastor I’ll say I’m sorry.

      Reply
      • Rock
        September 15, 2016

        If I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with my pastor, friend to friend, I’d probably tell him all my heart. I have no hate for him, yet sometimes I do wonder what God he serves? What God do I serve? And how can we be so lost if we are serving the same God?

        Reply
  24. Victor
    September 14, 2016

    Bro, another touchdown! Thank you! I was hit by your challenge about praying for our pastors. I don’t do that nearly enough! But I also want to thank you for your previous post on leaving the church. I literally took every step you recommended and reflected, wrote down, then set up a meeting with both of the pastors I needed to speak with. End result: communication, realization, affirmation, and healing!

    The best part is that the note I wrote had “Why I am leaving” at the end because I truly intended to communicate that I was going to go in a different direction, but I left it blank because I couldn’t come up with a truthful reason (the fact I was hurt). So I left it as it was going into the meeting thinking I would “be inspired” to come up with it on the fly. But instead, when I got to that portion of my note I asked two questions: Why hasn’t anyone reached out to me, and Where do I stand with you two?

    That opened the front door, closed the back door, and allowed discussion and their affirmation of my feelings. And now we are moving forward with a renewed sense of relationship, and focus on helping my local church be the Gospel for our community.

    It felt so right to do it the right way! Thank you for doing what you do best – communicating from the limbic!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Victor, I’m so proud of you!!!

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Beautiful, man! Glad to hear your story – and to know how Rob’s other post (which I haven’t read) helped you.

      Reply
  25. September 14, 2016

    I agree with Vince. The measure of success in our local churches is butts, buildings and budgets and when any of those are not to expectation then everyone looks to the pastor. The very nature of the Pastor role in a biblical sense was to care for the ones in your charge. We have taken that role and made it something that God did not intend and then we wonder why it does not work. Yet, over and over again we try to stick the round peg in the square hole and we lay waste to great men and women of God as they just can’t perform at that level.

    If we were truly doing the work of the bible and preparing people around us for the works of ministry, as Paul told the people in Ephesus, what a different look we get. If we trust that God’s word is true and that among the sea of faces on Sunday morning are people that God is calling into work, yet we put them through a filter of experience and bible college degrees and pius living and determine that no one in that group is worthy. We say you have to be a memeber to lead a small group and we say that your life has to be perfect to take any role in the church. Take a look around you and see what elder or deacon in ANY church in America is lining up completely with the Timothy model of eldership. We are all broken and alone at times.

    If we get back to the real deal and we allow the body of Christ to be the body of Christ and we let people meet together in the temple courts daily and we lead by example by discipling those around us, then the body of Christ will thrive. If not we are doomed to repeat this very thing over and over again and a lot of great men and women of God will get trampled in the pursuit of a better mousetrap that is the high dollar, high profile church, when in realilty God has calle us into unity among believers and then his Kingdom come and His will be done, not ours.

    Sorry so long
    Thanks

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Luke, no need to apologize. The Internet is a free place to share your thoughts. Thanks for taking time to comment.

      Reply
  26. Michael Huffman
    September 14, 2016

    This article demonstrates the truth that pastoring and leadership is a “full-contact” sport. While my heart is broken, the truth is, most pastors understand what they are signing up for… It isn’t a career… it is a calling. You must be called to be a shepherd (unless your last name is Shepherd… sorry couldn’t resist). I don’t know all of the details, but please let it be an encouragement to every person in ministry that even Jesus wasn’t popular with his flock all of the time. In His greatest time of need, most of his “congregation” abandoned Him. Because He sowed Himself as a seed into the earth, look at the harvest! Continue to sow yourself into the flock. Jesus question to Peter??? Do you love Me? If you answer yes, Jesus says, “Feed My Sheep!”

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Michael, thanks for taking time to comment. The Shepherd pun was funny.

      Reply
  27. September 14, 2016

    My passion is to minister to pastors and especially music pastors who face the sad and very real issue of burnout in the ministry. I am slowly working on a new ministry called Whole Rest Ministries with the goal of helping worship ministers, and any minister, through the maze of an unhealthy life that affects their ministry and causes burnout. I’ve been there. I know.

    I pray for you that God will grant you sufficent Selah in your life so that perhaps, someday, you may return to some kind of ministry – or to a life well lived with blessing and peace.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks for the prayers. I think your ministry idea is much needed!

      Reply
  28. Sharon
    September 14, 2016

    Hello! I am happy about this discussion. My husband and myself were Pastors for over 30 years. Now we are in administration. My heart breaks for this pastor. I have been in the hot seat many times and if I could have run I think sometimes I would have. The pressure is like no other., sorry brother. Not only are you dealing with broken lives, sermons, people who you can never please….but there is a power of darkness that is real. Every pastor has a target on his or her head. I want to educate church congregations about the pressure, but I have been told that will not help. I believe if some “Christian” people knew the pain of their words or actions they would at least soften. Do any of you who are not satisfied at church really want to see it shut down? Other religions are ready and waiting for the souls of our land. If you knew you would destroy lives for eternity would you say that??? If you are so dissatisfied with your place of worship then LEAVE! Don’t destroy the ship.I have a lot more to say but for times sake I will stop. Now that we are over many churches it is a shock of the empty buildings here in USA that were powerful places of worship. I am fearful of the fate of this country, if we as God’s people can’t get together and make situations work we are in a sad state. That’s all folks.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Sharon, thanks for your comment. I’ve said many times, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Because the church world is so personal when a member gets hurt, even if it’s because they didn’t get there way, they often become blind to how their actions impact anyone else. The hurt that has been thrown towards me would shock the people if they ever asked for my perspective. They are good people who got hurt.

      Reply
  29. TH
    September 14, 2016

    I am a former Pastor who deeply desires to return to ministry. I have spent the last 15 years providing for my family which includes an autistic child. I was hurt deeply at my last church. A founding member and the power broker wanted to allow a pedophile to whom he was a friend, to reach children. Anything I said or did was wrong in the man’s eyes. I led the church for the brink of financial extermination, built them a new building, served as construction manager and then resigned at completion of the project. Left the church in the black financially amd in good standing. The Church can be the most injurious place to work. Pray for your Pastor

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      TH, I’m sorry for what you went through. I pray you are able to move to the other side of this. It sounds like you are a great leader and pastor.

      Reply
  30. September 14, 2016

    This is the first time I’ve visited your website. I clicked a link through Facebook. I’ll bookmark it!

    I can really identify with your post. However, I will say that as ministers, the key is not leadership or personal development, but the power of the Holy Spirit. Some people will call that a cop-out, but I’m not just talking about an understanding of or knowing the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about walking in the power of God.

    At one point I had the most popular church growth books read. Although people still recommend them to me, and I still browse through them, I prefer the encouragement and inspiration (and kick in the butt) that pastors like A.W. Tozer and Leonard Ravenhill share. I think their books/sermons do more than most church growth, pastoral development material does. And, you can get a ton of their stuff for free online.

    Peace,
    Todd

    Reply
  31. September 14, 2016

    Thanks for your honesty and transparency, Rob. I can relate to virtually all of what you’ve shared. I’m in my 32nd year as a pastor and have learned a few things – many of which are articulated in your suggestions and the suggestions from Robert (the social worker) above. Pray for me – and the members of my tribe (United Methodist) as where we are as a denomination right now adds yet another layer of stress to the work that needs cared for. I am still filled with hope, though – God is at work, even in the darkness!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      David, my pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to comment! Keep being faithful!

      Reply
  32. Phyllis Daniel
    September 14, 2016

    I appreciated this piece very much. My reaction: what can I do to help my pastor, besides praying for him daily? God bless YOU!

    Reply
  33. Andre Black
    September 14, 2016

    We come into this world with a vacuum that only God can fill. Because we grow up in different cultures we conform to or adopt our community, this is human and natural. However the journey of life is once again molded or influenced as we seek to gain the highest values in life. Then we come to the Cross – roads where nothing can fill the “God” gap. Christ Jesus unites us with ourselves and God. Discover God and you will discover you. What an amazing grace when we are ready to change the world at New Birth. But some said the enemy is the most subtle, if he can’t stop you from the front he’ll push you from behind. God is busy with His people again this is not a defeat but a breaking down off walls that have decided the “Church” for long. Visions and cultural ways that decided the body of Christ. Let’s us like Paul press towards the mark of the high calling of God!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Andre, thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your thoughts.

      Reply
  34. TH
    September 14, 2016

    I enjoyed reading your post. I pray for all ministers who pour their hearts out serving God and loving His people.

    Reply
  35. Brandon Trott
    September 14, 2016

    Hey brother, I appreciate the encouragement and mature perspective. I am very much aware of how easy it is to go on auto-pilot and not watch your life as you should. And I too fear feeling invincible and loosing my self awareness and having a ministry burnout.
    I will be praying for you and your family and ministry for a few minutes after I write this.
    God bless you!

    Reply
  36. Jeff jones
    September 14, 2016

    Good write. As a baptist pastor for 15 yrs. I have found all of this to be true. However, I also have discovered leaving a broken system and religious social club had been the most liberating experience of my entire life. I now life a free and authentic life that I never saw in the church. Strange I know but there is life on the other side. Truly, the truth does set you free!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Jeff, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I hope to be able to create a safe place to live an authentic life for Jesus. One of our core values is, “Authenticity Matters.”

      Reply
  37. Jason
    September 14, 2016

    Everything you wrote was both encouraging and true. I have never served as a Lead/Senior Pastor but have experienced many things that you wrote as a staff pastor. What I have also learned is the beauty of having a wife who is just as strong if not stronger in the faith standing next to you as you minister. Again great article and I will be sharing with friends who are in the ministry.

    Reply
  38. Jo
    September 14, 2016

    Praying for you and all Pastors. God gave us a dream many years ago of having a place that Pastors could go to heal. At the time we had lost our son and saw how very hard it was as lay people to even take the day after his funeral off from church just to gather our thoughts. So, we walked back into church the day after his funeral to teach children and do Children’s church.
    Our question then and now is where do you go? We had not given up on God but we needed a little time. Off and on through the years we have needed a respite and we are NOT ministers.
    Anyway, that dream has not come to fruition, yet. But we still feel there is a definite need. Know that God loves you no matter what. Praise God no matter what. Know that He has your back (and it does NOT have a knife in it)

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Jo, I’m so sorry for the loss of your son.

      I’m not sure where you go. That answer may be different for others. For some it may mean seeing a counselor or going to a Christian retreat center that focuses on healing. For others it mean mean a sabbatical from church. I don’t know, but I know I feel for you.

      Reply
  39. Tim Lett, Gadsden, AL
    September 14, 2016

    This totally hits home to me. It’s wonderful to be used by God to bring change into people’s lives. It’s wonderful to be used to give them moments of encouragement. It’s wonderful to be used to facilitate experiences in which people make decisions that will change their lives for the better. But, it can also be exhausting … in every imaginable way. When I step away from the keyboard and mic in Sunday morning, I am literally drenched with sweat and I need of a dry shirt … and pretty much worthless for anything that requires physical exertion. Now, take that dynamic and transfer it onto pastors during the week … because that’s what it’s like. My dad is 81 and served 50 years as a pastor. I saw it, first hand. He served joyfully … with a smile … every day … covering any pain or frustration. But, I lived with him. I knew when he was hurting. I’ve served full-time and bivocationally since I was 18. I’ve also worked in corporate America for many of those years. I’ve had two bosses in corporate America that lived the Gospel in front of me and the team. I had two pastors who did. And, I don’t think it was because they were bad guys. I think it was because of the weight of the stress from all forces coming down on them. Leadership shouldn’t be a death sentence.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Tim, you are so right on. I loved my time in seminary, but it did not prepare me to lead a staff, deal with major issues, or anything related to leadership.

      Reply
  40. September 14, 2016

    I wish pastors would learn how to take sabbaticals. They most of all need to be like Jesus and go away from the crowd and rest to be rejuvenated to be refreshed. As a church we should want that for pastor so they don’t get burned out.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Micheke, You are spot on. Time away is Biblical and necessary.

      Reply
  41. September 14, 2016

    I once had a pastor’s wife tell me, “Pastors never get to have REAL friends.” I didn’t understand that until my husband became senior pastor of a church. People don’t want to know the Pastor’s flaws, therefore they don’t allow you to get very close to them. Some of that I understand because a Pastor does need to maintain some level of authority in his church. He does need people to respect him. But he also needs friends with whom he can be real. Real honest. Real ugly. Just real.

    Reply
  42. Jeannie Hignell
    September 14, 2016

    As a pastor’s kid, I could so relate to this. My dad and his family were roundly criticized for many things. My poor mom, with four lively children, was frazzled trying to keep the parsonage perfect, the kids perfect, and attend church three times a week, lead the music, sing in the choir, attend women’s functions. We had a wonderful home and I am not complaining … just saying that I understand the burnout. As members of the congregation … watch what you say, be positive, and provide your pastor and family with lots of grace and mercy, and lots of encouragement. After all, we are all just imperfect people, and my dad gave his all to be a good Astor, a good husband, a good father, a good man. That’s a retry tall order for one person.

    Reply
    • Jeannie Hignell
      September 14, 2016

      That last sentence was supposed to read … a good pastor, a good husband, a good father, a good man. That’s a really tall order for one person.

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Jeannie, thank you for sharing your perspective! You are spot on.

      Reply
  43. September 14, 2016

    Great article Rob. I just want to say I’m sure you’ll retire still going strong. My wife and I are in our 70’s, have pastored a couple of churches for over 22 years and then been in itinerant ministry for another 20 years and still going strong.
    I relate to all of the struggles you mention but believe that with good accountable relationships and a determination to ‘grow old sweet’ you can make it through … not just surviving but thriving!
    God bless you … keep writing!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks Kevin! I appreciate the encouragement.

      Reply
  44. September 14, 2016

    Heard about this Sunday. Truly sad. Something like this happened to our pastor a few years ago. He’s still here and out church does everything it can to keep it from happening again.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Larry, I’m so glad your church is taking steps to keep it from happening. That’s HUGE!!!

      Reply
  45. Steve
    September 14, 2016

    Big freaking deal. They should try working as an executive in a big organization in the secular world. I am a member of a pastor’s family of a pretty big church, most of this stuff is waaaaay over done. It is not that big of a deal. I know hundreds of people who have tougher jobs, work much harder and have much less job security. Sorry, I just can’t get all worked up about this, seen too much.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Steve, not every person’s struggle is difficult for everyone. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard for them. Feel free to disagree with the post, but I would encourage you not to dismiss others struggles simply because they are different than your own. I truly hope on a day you struggle you have people to show you empathy.

      Reply
  46. Mike
    September 14, 2016

    I have been in the ministry since I started seminary in 1985. Before that I was a lay minister. I have served part-time as a student, full time and bi-vocational. I have been youth minister pastor, associate pastor and and area missionary. Over all those years I cannot honestly say that I have had over a handful of close friends. it is a very lonely profession. I have been close to burn-out many times. Once I walked away from a church. Twice I was forced out of a ministry by “Christian” people and even fellow pastors. It was never for any biblical reason. I have never embezzled money, I have never cheated on my wife, I have never been divorced, yet these ministries have found ways to force me out through ungodly leadership.

    Currently I work full-time in the oilfield and pastor a small church of about 20 people. It, too, is very frustrating at times. I don’t think I will ever go back into full time ministry. I don’t want people looking at every detail of my life. I hope I can be content to pastor such a small church until retirement in about seven years.

    I honestly feel as though God has just put me on the shelf.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Mike, I’ll tell you one thing you are not put on the shelf by God. In Jesus there is no condemnation. Our story is never done. Even when our story is different than we thought it doesn’t mean God is done with us. God is using you and will continue to as long as you have breath in your lungs. Hang in there! We are in this together.

      Reply
  47. NoName
    September 14, 2016

    It’s being FAKE what makes a pastor quit! He is tired of the show he has to give and just like this, one day he wakes up burned out! Fake is a heavier burden than the cross!

    Try working for the love of the sheep, just like a good Shepherd does, and then let’s write an article about it. It will sound a lot like the letters Paul wrote for sure…

    So many whiners, few winners.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      NoName, next time please include your name. It’s easier to throw criticism when you are anonymous.

      I believe Paul wrote a lot about the struggles inside the church. 1 and 2 Corinthians are full of church drama. Even Philippians, Paul’s most encouraging letter, addresses fighting in the church. People are difficult no matter what profession. I believe Paul wrote about and struggled with leading difficult people.

      Reply
  48. Dr. B
    September 14, 2016

    It’s more about those in the church going around as a roaring lion seeking whom they may devour! Those with the ministry of gossip. It hurts after 52 years of constant ministry to the hurting. I’m ready to quit! It’s the inability to find anyone, just ONE you can trust! It’s not good being alone, but who cares?
    Let anyone who is perfect……judge my past!

    Reply
    • NoName
      September 14, 2016

      But isn’t it the pastors role to keep the roaring lions away from the sheep? Yet some pastors give sheep clothings to these lions and invite them to join the flock!

      Reply
    • NoName
      September 15, 2016

      that judge my past will sound like this in heaven: Matthew 7:23

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Dr. B, that’s a great point. The gossip and backbiting by people who are supposed to be friends is brutal.

      I would encourage you not to quit. Find another local pastor or counselor to talk with. That has helped me a lot.

      Reply
  49. Shayne Robinson
    September 15, 2016

    It’s helpful to consider a biblical view of how God deals with us as His children. A biblical view in this area helps all believers… and pastors, we’re members of the body first, and our identity and value is found in Christ and not our role in the church.

    I recommend this old book for all believers, but especially pastors:
    The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
    (FREE – https://www.monergism.com/bruised-reed-richard-sibbes)

    Here’s a truth to hold from Sibbes’ book: “There’s more mercy in Christ than sin in us.”

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Shayne, thanks for sharing! That’s a great line!

      Reply
  50. September 15, 2016

    I appreciate and echo your sentiments in this post. However, I do have one comment concerning your bio. While I think I get what you are saying, the idea that you are a full-time husband and in your spare time you pastor a church seems to devalue the calling you have. As a pastor and church planter myself, I could never say I shepherd God’s people in my spare time. I don’t believe that expresses the kind of love and sacrifice required of one who is called to lead as pastor. One who pastors in his spare time is nothing more than a hireling and I suspect you are far from that. Just something to think about. Blessings to you.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Jeff, it was an attempt at satire. I don’t think anyone who is at Next Level sees what I do as part time.

      Reply
  51. September 15, 2016

    Thanks for blogging about this. I’ve only been a lead pastor for about a year now but I’ve been in ministry for 15 years. This resonates a ton. Thanks.

    Reply
  52. September 15, 2016

    A subject that is on my heart. I don’t think there is the “one answer” for every situation. There are some universal truths that do apply. First of all, why did we enter the ministry? If God called us, we need to stick with it and get the help and answers we need because God will never un-call someone. In regard to being hurt – forgiveness is the key. Is that not what we all preach? Also Jesus is our example, and even His closest associates let him down in His most difficult hour. We are not better than our master. The social worker Rob – gave some really good advice which I try to follow. As he said – “It is so d____n avoidable!” Seminary does not truly prepare one for the ministry – the realities that we face. With regard to how people perceive us, if they like us, if they agree with our lifestyle – At some point we need to develop a healthy sense of self worth and not apologise to anyone for our salary, the things we own, or the vacations we take. I don’t see church members feeling guilty for having the things in life that are there to enjoy and to make our lives easier. In fact I think that we pastors need to exemplify a well rounded life which demonstrates the fact that God loves us and takes care of us. The congregation does not pay us for our services. They give their money to God, and we who minister partake of some of that. I have been a pastor for over 32 years full-time. When dealing with criticism, we need to be able to sort through it, and see if there is anything we can learn from it. If it is unjustified, then we let the peace of God rule in our hearts and press on. A pastor dare not become a people pleaser. We are human and would prefer to be liked and looked up to, but that can not be what drives or influences us. At the end of the day, we must obey what God is telling us to do. If people leave the church, we need to bless them and let them go. The church is like a bus ride – people get on and off all the time. Very few stay in the same bus for the whole journey. Too much questioning of one’s self and looking inside can be as harmful as not questioning ourselves at all. As to pastors who feel the need to resign – God is not finished with them. Even if they made a mistake by quitting pre-maturely in a given assignment, God can work that out for good according to Romans 8:28. I don’t know of any pastor that has not entertained the thought of quitting or doing something else. That is normal and maybe even healthy to periodically ask the Lord if we are still doing what He wants us to do. When we do know that we are in His will, then we should serve Him with all of our heart in whatever capacity it is.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Rande, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Reply
  53. Robert
    September 15, 2016

    There is a great ministry for Pastors and other church leaders called Sonscape Retreats. They know all about the struggles a Pastor can experience and minister specifically to their needs. It is a very effective ministry. Check it out. http://sonscaperetreats.org/

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Thanks you, Robert. I appreciate the information.

      Reply
  54. Kaga
    September 15, 2016

    So many church leaders these days don’t see the problem with “using up” their Pastor (this includes Worship Pastors, Youth Pastors). They demand everything from them on a 24/7 basis for year after year and then when they have given sacrificially and accepted low salaries because they are in ministry the leaders turn around and throw them out.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Kaga, I once posted about that. The title was “Don’t rape your pastor.” The third definition of rape is, “an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation.” The title was dramatic and I eventually changed it to “Don’t plunder your pastor.” The point is the same. Some truly expect 24/7 service and then leave without even acknowledging the sacrifice those in ministry have made for them.

      Reply
  55. NL
    September 15, 2016

    A couple of thoughts.

    I have a close friend who is a leader in a well-known parachurch ministry. He is dealing with many of the same things you list here. These issues don’t just affect pastors, but many other ministry leaders as well. As a full time worship leader, I’ve experienced much of this myself. But, growing up as a PK, I know pastors are are on the front line and deal with this stuff at the highest (or maybe deepest) level.

    I used to blog. Big time. About church, ministry, life, etc. But the comments trying to debate even the smallest of disagreements led me to leave the blogging world. This is also why I’ve left Twitter and have decreased my Facebook use by about 90%.

    Reading through the comments, it’s painfully obvious that most people simply do not understand the strains of ministry. I’m thankful I’m in a church that allows a sabbatical every few years. But even during my recent sabbatical, I had friends and church members make comments about “the benefits of ministry” that caused me to question whether the time away was actually worth it.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      NL, you get it. I’ve thought about quitting blogging multiple times this past year for the same reasons you mentioned. I also have been accused of writing posts about people multiple times. The posts were not about anyone. I try not to be passive aggressive. It can be difficult to deal with the mess, but for now I’m plowing through. With God’s grace my broken, imperfect, writings are helping others.

      Reply
  56. Austin
    September 15, 2016

    Rob, as a former pastor’s kid (I’m 26, and have spent 20 years of my life as an active PK), I completely get everything you wrote in this post. My dad stepped down from his position at our church almost a year ago after 15 years. As I got older, my dad and I would talk more and more about the things that were going on in the church. I would spend hours helping him with projects at the church, and we discussed a ton during this time. All of the points you made were brought up at one point or another. The only thing I would add to this post would be God’s plan. Yes, my dad was drained by the challenges you laid out, but also felt like he had completed his calling when he left. He had always looked at himself as someone who loved to build churches, and he has twice been apart of churches that went from around 50 to over 200 members. So as his time at our church drew to a close, he felt at peace with the decision to try a different line of work. He could look back at his path and acknowledge that it was good, and it was finished. Sometimes, God’s plan starts a different chapter before yours does, and we can’t forget that when looking at pastors.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Austin, you bring up a great point. Your dad has great insight. At times fear stops people from moving on. Some burnout is caused because a pastor simply doesn’t know how to end a season.

      Reply
  57. September 15, 2016

    I like the line ‘Don’t turn a pastor into a saint and don’t turn him into a sinner.’

    Good article, but basically takes position he is leaving the ministry. He is not, he is only leaving conventional ministry. Just needs a break between convention ministry and whatever is next.

    Reply
  58. Karen Rathbun
    September 15, 2016

    Last year I left full time vocational ministry after 8 years. I doubt I will ever return to it. Though there were blessings, my heart was broken time and time again, by what ultimately boils down to selfishness. My “brothers and sisters” consistently and predictably put themselves and their comfort first at the expense of others. I tried to make a difference, I tried to humble myself and let things go while speaking up for truth and what was right, but after years of dysfunction, the ministry I was involved in will likely never change this side of heaven. Over those years my skin did not grow thicker – I found it impossible to recover from the friendly fire and after receiving some Godly counsel and several months of arguing with God, I left.
    I am currently in sales, doing very very well and I am treated like a valued employee. However my heart grieves for the ministry I left and I just go back to the fact that it did not have to be this way.
    I don’t know how pastors do it – they have my respect and prayers.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Karen, I’m so sorry you went through that.

      Reply
      • Karen
        February 6, 2017

        Thank you for your kindness.

        Reply
  59. Rod
    September 15, 2016

    On the subject of loneliness of pastors, so many pastors have purposely separated themselves from their congregation. In the mega churches it seems the norm that lead pastors do not perform weddings, funerals, baptisms, hospital visits or counsels at their church. These jobs have been delegated to others. They seem to have very little interaction on Sundays with the congregation except to deliver the message from stage. Many pastors do not attempt to be friends with anyone unless they have money or influence in some way to help them.
    It appears to me they are isolating themselves which leads to this loneliness and this is not healthy.
    I realize in large churches pastors cannot do every wedding, every funeral, every baptism, every hospital visit, counsel every person shake every hand, or take every member to lunch after church but to stay in touch with their congregation they can have some interaction which keeps them better connected to the people and not isolate themselves.

    Reply
    • A D
      September 15, 2016

      Please remember that those duties are over and above a pastor’s “working hours.” Pastors already work far more than a forty-hour-week. Weddings are a good example. It irritated me no end when couples who thought nothing of spending 25K on their wedding complained bitterly about the paltry $50 my husband asked for to officiate at a wedding. They considered that “his job” and thought he should do it for free. Well, that money paid for his travel expenses, blocking out the time they needed for pre-wedding meetings to discuss the kind of ceremony they wanted, their rehearsal, taking time out of his usual schedule – Saturday was his one day off – to do the wedding… none of which was included in his church duties. Not to mention that booking a wedding took that weekend away from our vacation or family time. When you have a large church these duties are multiplied and the pastor has no choice but TO delegate.

      Reply
      • Rod
        September 15, 2016

        I totally agree with what you are saying and understand your viewpoint. However, a pastor cannot do a few weddings per year whether they get paid extra for it or not?
        What does money have to do with serving the congregation of the church and staying connected?
        It seems many pastors find time above and beyond their working hours to attend numerous church conferences, speak at other churches or church conferences, write books etc… which is all good. However, typically all of these “extra” things take place on the weekends and after normal business hours of the church and can be a distraction from what God has called them to do.
        Which is pastor a local church and can lead to burn out quicker.

        Reply
        • March 7, 2017

          Actually, as a PK, I’ve seen both sides. The deacons kids made us mean.
          I’ve seen Pastors set them selves up to fail. Either frating with big bucks joe and john because they know the donors list, staying in their Ivory Towers, or simply filling the position for the pay check.
          As an older person I have seen the Pastor position go from a position of ministry to the congregates to filling a position. Many are not called by God, rather called by someone else. Many lack compassion even a heart.
          I once asked a Pastor to express some sort of support for a mens ministry to the congregation. No, he wad too busy to participate, even speak on behalf of the ministry effort. If he hadnt weighed two tons I’da given him a handburger on the nose. He needed a wake up call.
          I’ve seen Pastors blame decline in the congregation on ” church hoppers”. When infact the numbers were 12-1400 in attendance. Now at 2-300. Guess the all “opt out” of hopping and stayed at another. He didnt care. Retirement was soon.
          Meanwhile families were hurting, Individuals were hurting, and people were leaving. Take a hint!!
          My dear ol Dad would say “if you want to fire your Pastor, put a fire of prayers under him.” Its true. We say we pray about joining a church or taking a Pastor on then at our convenience we kick’m out or leave ourselves. Sad.
          Once my Dad moved our fam to a little tiny country town to Pastor a church. They prayed about it, they said. As he was getting the business part in order suddenly it was time for him to go. So with pistols, switchblades, brass knuckles, and humbrellas they were determined to run him out. LOL My brother had a baseball bat in defense and took Dad home. We had a weekend to go somewhere, anywhere but stay there. Such loving people. would not pay him, so the older women brought veggies to my Mom.
          How all this fits in your column.
          I’m just sharing that a Pastot must br God called with a ministering compassion of love for those under that ministry. When it’s time to move on, then move on. Don’t hold on to the detriment of the assembly.
          We are active in our church. We pray for our Pastor and support him greatly. I’ve been called a Pastors man.
          Whatever the gain may be let it ALL point to Calvary. It’s ALL about HIM!!
          Pastors AND their families are just human. We need not put them on pedestals. Ww must lift them up to Christ, daily. But too, they must be commited to feed the sheep and be undershephards of the flock. Always keeping the faith. Blessings to you each! In Christ alone, P

          Reply
      • September 15, 2016

        AD, well said.

        Reply
      • LoJen
        September 15, 2016

        Church councils need “guidelines” for weddings, planning, set up, expenses, etc. that are set by the council, not by the pastor.

        Reply
        • Steve
          September 15, 2016

          Seems to me, if I am the pastor, and the couple cannot get married without my participation, it is my choice not a “council”.
          An easy way to take care of this problem, is to stipulate that the church building is to be used by members only. I know some pastors who will not participate in a wedding without at least one of the people are members of the church.
          However, when you get down to it, it is mostly about the money. 99% of the pastors will deny it, but if they think there is a good honorarium in it for them, they will perform the wedding for almost anyone. Most people here do not get to see pastors/missionaries “behind the scenes”. I have for over 50 years, believe me, that is why I am so cynical.
          I know of one who named his boat “Visitation”, so when someone called looking for him, the secretary could honestly say he was out on “Visitation”, no joke. Keep thinking these guys work hard and all those hours…………. laughable. There are some exceptions, I have known some of them, but they are by far, the minority.

          Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Rod, thanks for taking the time to comment. I believe Acts 6 discusses a very similar situation. There are important needs of the church, but the Apostles said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.” They were not saying waiting on tables was bad or below them. They were saying in order to do what God called them to do they couldn’t do it all. I spend the vast majority of my time in meetings, with staff, counseling, doing weddings etc and very little on sermon prep. I’m working to fix this by raising up leaders to help in those areas.

      Reply
      • Rod
        September 15, 2016

        There should be a work, life, balance in all of our lives.

        Reply
  60. Joe Black
    September 15, 2016

    Joe Black 9/15/16

    I can understand and identify. I have been hurt many times while I was just trying to do what I felt God wanted me to do. I have been blessed many times also. But nothing can cover the hurt and pain. I’m semi-retired. God called me while I was just a child. After 49 years of pastoring and 54 years of preaching I have been blessed and been hurt many times. I have wanted to walk away, but I don’t feel God has released me yet. I know my time is limited.
    Whispering a prayer for the many men and women who have also been hurt.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Joe, thanks for taking the time to comment. Blessings to you.

      Reply
  61. A D
    September 15, 2016

    Pastors and their families are on public display, like the president and First Lady. Some congregations have ridiculous – and inappropriate – expectations. Not just character but appearance, clothing, activities and their interests outside the church are criticized. Some things just aren’t the congregation’s business. Expectations of a pastor’s wife are often outdated. Check out some of the support sites for clergy and their families – the stories on there will make you shake your head. I wish more congregations would read them – and hopefully not emulate them.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      AD, you are so right on. My wife is a part of a few of those and it is heart breaking. She reads and our hearts break. I’m thankful I have had amazing people around that haven’t done even close to what I’ve read on those sites.

      Reply
  62. Kathy
    September 15, 2016

    Very well said. Thank you for your honesty and thank you for speaking out. Over the years I have met numerous souls in youth ministry that were treated as expendable. After pouring themselves into the ministry, they not only leave the church, they leave broken. As you stated- they take the high road to be an example for their students while misinformation circulates through the congregation. The elders or administration moves forward with little explanation creating even more room for speculation. When we hear these “expendables” stories we rally around prayerfully, encouraging them to forgive and move forward.
    You never think it will happen to you.
    I left broken, bewildered and empty. I never returned but I am happy to say I am repaired, spiritually in tune and filled with His Grace 🙂
    There is life after ministry

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Kathy, I’m thankful for your comment. I love how it ended!

      Reply
  63. September 15, 2016

    And this is WHY we are starting our non profit ministry. We own a B&B and currently give free stays to Pastors and their wives. But we want to do so much more. So we are selling our B&B and moving to a place where we can offer FREE Vacations to Pastors and their ENTIRE family. A place where there are no meetings, no conferences to attend, no workshops. Just a place to rest and hang with the family, where they can fish, river raft or float, swim, roast marshmallows, hike in the mountains, or in winter, snow mobile, ski, or take sleigh rides etc… and not pay a penny for their stay!
    We haven’t sold the B&B yet, but are trying. We also are still in the process of getting our non profit started, and of course obtaining the other property (we have found the one we want). So if anyone reading this would like to remember us in prayer, we sure would appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Rod
      September 15, 2016

      Great idea.
      I hope this will be a great ministry for you and many lives will be touched.

      Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Kriss, that is full of awesome! I pray God blesses that effort.

      Reply
    • Sam
      September 15, 2016

      God has been leading us in a similar direction. I went through an unwanted divorce years ago. I lost relationships over night due to something that wasn’t my choice, which led to other “church wounds” that God has brought healing to over time. So often, the Church isn’t sure what to do with it’s pastors when they’re wounded. I’ve seen many times where the Church has inflicted wounds as a result. You’re struggling? You’re fired. The number of times I’ve seen a version of this has been heart breaking. We dream of a retreat place that’s free to ministers. It’s something that is a step in the healing process. We dream of being able to help them get there…help pay for counseling that they may not be able to afford…of having a safe place to come and be real, addressing the hurt and not hiding from it. Our non-profit is just now in place and we are currently building a website. I’m so excited to see others who have similar dreams and visions!

      Reply
    • Steve
      September 15, 2016

      How about expanding this idea to people who work in secular jobs who are burnt out? Don’t they deserve the same treatment? Believe me, most of them work a lot harder and have the same problem(s) as pastors do. Of course you probably won’t get as many pats on the back or public recognition for your efforts. You would have to take that into consideration.

      Reply
      • T. McAfee
        September 15, 2016

        Friend, when people with normal jobs have problems at work they can go to church and find support and encouragement. When ministers have problems at work that workplace is their church family. Don’t think that serving in a church is some perfect, easy task with just pats on the back or public recognition for your efforts.

        Reply
  64. Brandon Smith
    September 15, 2016

    While I can understand how pastors get hurt and burned out, I also believe pastors often bring some of this on themselves. I see many pastors without any real connection to local peers. I am a part of two pastors groups [one is my local association, the other includes various denominations]. These are my peers with whom I can vent, laugh, and learn from. Yet many pastors do not make associating with peers a priority. A second issue I see is a lack of balance between their professional life and their personal life. If you don’t set some reasonable boundaries with your congregation early on, they will expect your constant availability. That means sometimes you step on toes. If it is not an emergency, politely let them know you are currently doing something else and we can talk about this tomorrow. Finally, your pastoral skills are more important than your preaching skills. The more congregational members see you as family and not just their pastor, the more likely they are to overlook disagreements and screw-ups.

    Reply
  65. September 15, 2016

    A friend shared this on Facebook, so I clicked, since I’m a pastor. I can relate to your comments except for one thing. The pronoun.

    Reply
  66. Jen
    September 15, 2016

    This is a great…article…blog? 🙂 It reminds me again that we, the church body, NEED to lift our Pastors in prayer…every day! EVERY DAY. I hate to see pastors stepping down because they’re empty. And tired. And disillusioned. That is a powerful tool of the enemy, and draining someone isn’t hard to do when they feel like they’re in it alone. So if someone needs to fill in on a Sunday or two throughout the year and let the Pastor be in the pew to breathe and learn and listen, then that should be worked into the schedule. Just like being on a worship team (which I am), and loving every second of it, it is nice to have a Sunday or two in the year when someone comes in (like a speaker’s spouse or something like that) who does worship…so I can be in the congregation and experiencing it from the pew. Perhaps more churches should set aside an evening in the week to open the doors of their church just for prayer…for the Pastor, the congregation, finances, children, whatever…pray over everything! Pastors need time to refresh. Downtime is a must. A must. Even if it’s just a few days a year, it is needed…no phone, no computer, just alone time (or time with just your spouse) is needed. For prayer, for rest. For refreshing. I pray that any pastor who reads your article takes heart in knowing that people who will never know their name while on this earth are praying for their refreshing, right now…today!

    Reply
  67. BishopPdub
    September 15, 2016

    Most pastors lack quality Mentorship…every pastor needs a pastor too! Turning to a trusted mentor in turbulent times is the key to avoiding dropping out of the race…and a mentor that is available.

    Reply
  68. Julie
    September 15, 2016

    I think your title to this post is very disrespectful and almost flippant. “Another one bites the dust”. I do think there is much truth in your article.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016

      Julie, Thanks for taking the time to comment. It was not my intent to be flippant or disrespectful. I feel the weight of pastors. Like I said in the post this is coming right after another pastor I greatly respect, Perry Noble, stepping down. It happens so often now it feels like pastors are dropping like flies. That scares me. I feel that weight. The title wasn’t meant to be personal or to offend.

      Reply
  69. JD
    September 15, 2016

    I imagine if “church” was people sharing a meal together (fellowship), reading The Word together (let it speak for itself, for the most part, maybe consulting a commentary for historical/cultural/linguistic background), praying for one another, praising Jesus through song, etc., together, and serving the community together, discipleship would happen on a much deeper level and the Body of Christ would be stronger. “Pastors” could take a “normal” job, and reach out to those with whom they work. They’d be a “regular” person whose Christian life could actually be emulated. They’d avoid the pedestal people like to put them on (the higher something is on a pedestal, the more out of touch it is with the objects around it, the lonelier it is, and the harder it falls!).

    Reply
  70. LoJen
    September 15, 2016

    While I know that the Pastor can be in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t spot in a church, I think that if the pastor thinks he/she has to do it all or make all decisions, that leads to too high self expectations and expectations of people. Some of the comments referred to Church planting pastors. Would not these people have to transition from being the go-to person to delegating if they stay in a church for awhile? Maybe that type of person can’t make that change. I’ve been on our Church council three times, during the times of a number of pastors. One guy was a great pastor, but he refused to be accountable with how he spent his time. All we asked for were rough numbers, such as how many people did he visit each month. It would have provided a way for the council to back him up from the criticism of a *few* loudmouths. I’ve been on the call committee. We interviewed newby pastors, from different seminaries. ALL talked about setting boundaries. I sure hope they are able to do that. My daughter is a pastor. She works hard, but I think the church part of the work provides the most joy. The heartbreaking part involves being called into homes where the residents have evidence of over drinking and drug use freely visible. She has had to be a “mandated reporter” in bad family situations. She has had a parish member who was a past pastor who was bounced because of possible indiscretions. Obviously she tells me no details, but these are the things she can’t discuss with local people when she needs support. Yes, pray for your pastors and let them have more time off. At my daughter’s first call, she was required to work 6 days/week.

    Reply
  71. September 15, 2016

    In my many years on the planet as a Christian, I have watched pastors come and go, rise and fall, struggle and win, struggle and lose. But, there was a commonality with all who failed. It is a thread running through Christianity as a whole. Pastors merely reflect what is going on in the Body in general. Trying to “nutshell” the problem is perhaps impossible, though there is one verse that probably comes close to doing that. It is a verse that highlighted my own struggle(s) over the years. And, unless and until Christians really, truly grasp the reality and the true meaning of this verse, we’ll continue to have pastors being “burnt out,” failing, and giving up; and we’ll continue to have carnal deacons and church members who hasten their (pastors’) demise. That verse is: Gal 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Walking in the Spirit is walking by faith. Col 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:” How did you receive Christ? By faith. What does it mean to walk by faith? Simple. It means believing God, trusting the Lord to do in you and with you what you cannot do yourself. It means learning the lesson Paul learned from the “thorn in the flesh.” 2Co 12:9-10 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” None of us should suffer “burnout” or struggle to the point of despair and giving up. If we do, then we have failed to learn that lesson, the lesson of understanding that we are weakness personified and that apart from Christ, we truly cannot do anything of spiritual significance. We need to be able to say, with Paul, I can do ALL things through Christ. (Phil. 4:13). We need to learn the lesson of 2 Cor. 9:8 which is a promise given us by the Lord that, if we truly grasped it, would stagger our minds. Imagine if you took God at His Word and said, “Lord, I am doing a good work for you. Thank you Lord, for ALL the grace you’re going to provide. Thank you Lord for ALL the sufficiency you are going to provide. Thank you Lord for ALL the things you are working to provide to me in order that I will be enabled to do this good work and every good work assigned to me.

    Just some thots on the matter from a mind and body that has been oh, so very tired, so many times, but who is learning, ever so slowly, what a treasure we have in the promises of God.

    Reply
  72. September 15, 2016

    Several questions comes to mind … Who feeds the shepherd who invests so much in feeding the flock? How does one balance the need for leadership and the concept of servant-leader? Are our churches growing too large for even the most dedicated pastoral staff to properly guide, feed and protect?

    Reply
  73. September 15, 2016

    Rob,

    Thanks for your post. It is really good. I cannot say how much my wife and I resonate with it. I am a displaced pastor who was pushed out of the church I founded. The accusations against me were baseless and did not even slightly resemble “sin.” in the biblical sense. They were nebulous accusations with little definition. And yes, it was a young elder who was at one time a close friend and confidante and when gently challenged of truly inappropriate behavior, he made a full court press to take me down.

    I particularly resonated with your words about not really being able to trust any one. I was struck one day when I read John 2:24–25 “But Jesus did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he knew what was in man.” These words are sobering. I look at people radically differently now, as so deeply broken, that they cannot be trusted. Yeah we cannot trust ourselves. The difficulty as a pastor then is how to still remain in relationship, reasonably vulnerable, without putting yourself and your family at unnecessary risk, as I seemed to.

    One practical take-away I did discover through it all is this: People will betray you in proportion to the way they praise you. Yup the those who praise you the most will turn on you quickest and most violently. It was interesting, but those who has been the most outspoken in my praise (uncomfortably so at times) turned on my wife and I the most violently. I think this is why Proverbs warns of the flatterer. From what I have read in psychiatric literature, the higher people praise you indicates the higher level of expectations they are bringing to the relationship. You are finally the answer to all their bad church experiences. This is a recipe for disaster, as I found. The higher the expectations, the quicker and more intensely they will feel let down, especially when you “disagree” with them. In my case this young else and a couple others were increasingly not respecting my marital and family boundaries and when we firmed up these boundaries, hell proverbially, “broke loose.”

    The sneaky little landmine is that people in general do not understand their own emotional processes. Insecure and highly sensitive people are drawn to leaders in a symbiotic way where they can take up emotional residence of sorts. For them a strong leader grounds them from listlessness giving a sense of security. But when that is upset, they go on the attack. I understand now, that being a leader also means being keenly aware of this, and learning to manage this tendency for the emotionally low functioning to attach. Emotionally insecure and sensitive people interpret reality through their feelings. The leader may have done nothing wrong, and in my case did the right thing and set healthier boundaries. But the intensity of emotions makes the person who got prick with a needle feel like she or he was hit with a hammer. This means if there is an offense at all, it might be a 2, but emotionally undifferentiated people feel a 9 or 10 and act accordingly. They “FEEL” an atrocity has been committed and will dedicate themselves to righting the wrong.

    Thanks for your Blog

    Todd

    Reply
  74. September 15, 2016

    Rob, I want you to know that your ministry here, on this blog, has always blessed me from afar. So much so that a few years back, when my family and I were between church homes, we gave our offering to NextLevel. Beyond that, you know that when members of our small group moved to Virginia, I unhesitatingly recommended NextLevel. That’s how much I believe in what you’re doing.

    Reply
  75. September 15, 2016

    thank you for writing

    Reply
  76. Jacqueline Stevens
    September 15, 2016

    I am a Roman Catholic. Our Pastors/Priests do not marry. The church is their “bride.” I think Christ made it this way because He knew what the demands of a Pastor would be. Pastoring is not a 9-5 job.

    Reply
    • Michael
      September 15, 2016

      How do you feel that has worked out for the Catholic Church? Because from the outside, it looks like a train wreck. Have you seen “Spotlight”?

      Reply
      • nathan
        September 15, 2016

        Jaqueline and Michael,
        As a born and raised protestant, graduate from a protestant seminary, I must say that I see the logic in the Catholic position regarding vocation and celibacy. And to be fair, both are flawed, as both are heavily “human”. The fact that protestantism’s answer to an absolutely shattered body (so many denominations with so many different beliefs) is to mask the disunity in a cloak of moral relativism/non-denominational-ism. Christ said “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand,” and that to me, is more represented by the theologically antagonistic protestant matrix.

        That being said, while Catholicism boasts a unified doctrine with it’s cathechism, councils, and clear authority, it’s members (both priestly and lay) don’t accept/live out this theology. I hope, that we start striving for unity, instead of pointing out each other’s flaws and using un-christian insults such as “train wreck.”

        Reply
  77. Scott
    September 15, 2016

    Rob,
    What do you think about the assertion that there should be more elder/pastor/shepherds in every local church body? When we place this incredible burden on one person, or just a few people, I wonder if this would always be the result. An elder/pastor/shepherd has to really know their flock. It is evident in scripture that the ratio between an elder/pastor/shepherd and the people whom they cared for, was much much lower. They actually knew their flock. When we have one person overseeing so many, we have created an unbiblical situation where many issues and misunderstandings will arise, and there will never be time to properly deal with many of them.

    Reply
  78. September 15, 2016

    Pray for the pastors you know. Offer to babysit, gift them when you can, watch the kids so they can have a date night, or a vacation alone. Step up with taking on some responsibility in your church family. Ge involved by helping, serving. Do not tolerate gossip. Your pastor should feel so loved, that he can bear the stresses he will get from visiting the sick, the broken-hearted, the financially strapped, the angry, and the lost.
    Pastors are on-call and work 24/7.
    Stillwaterministries.org is just one place that offers a place for pastors to recharge their batteries on a vacation.

    Reply
  79. Patrick
    September 15, 2016

    I really have to question the mega-church, multiple campus, celebrity pastor model.

    Granted church leadership evolved over time and you would be hard pressed to say any particular model is “Biblical” over another. When the Church was first established there weren’t even deacons. Leadership has had to adapt to the needs of the body. Pastor-led, Elder-led, deacon-led, congregational, CEO, presbytery, diocese, house church, or a combination of styles can work. Every model can also go bad. But, celebrity pastors seem to be bound to fail because the position simply requires too much of a man.

    Reply
  80. Larry Braswell
    September 15, 2016

    I love the way you describe yourself in your Bio. God made the family first, it should be our first priority. God gave us the church…It is important…but it was never meant to be a bunch of people just sitting in pews staring at the backs of heads trying to stay awake through a sermon most of them don’t understand… I think you are right on target. God bless you, your family and your ministry.

    Reply
  81. Hope
    September 15, 2016

    As a pastor’s wife, it has been difficult to watch my husband go through many of these things. While he is lonely at times, I am lonely too. I can’t share the heartache of what my husband is going through with any of my “friends”, for fear of being misunderstood and causing more issues than what we already deal with. God is the only one I can go to. I can’t even talk with my husband about the hurt sometimes, because I don’t want to add to his load. Thank you for sharing this. I’m encouraged that you opened up. Maybe there will be healing someday. Hoping for a brighter future.

    Reply
  82. Sue
    September 15, 2016

    Great article. In addition to the expectations, some proper and some not, placed on pastors (male AND female clergy), there is certainly the addition of spiritual warfare. We are on the front lines of the battle and Satan just loves the wound created when a church and a pastor disagree, the pastor gives in to sin, or a pastor is worn out before their time. We (clergy) need to be more transparent with one another, not so worried about keeping up with each other, and be accountability and prayer partners for each other.

    Reply
  83. September 15, 2016

    I am an administrative assistant at a church. I have worked here for 2 years. Before this, several years ago, I worked for 3 years at a different church. I see the weekly stuff. The behind the scenes stuff. It’s not all fun and games. We do need to be lifting our Pastor’s up. I don’t attend church where I work, but I pray for them, just like my own church Pastors. Also, we all know that only a small few are the ones who volunteer. If more people would step up and serve, it would help the Pastors out. We need to all work together.

    Reply
  84. C A
    September 15, 2016

    I am the wife of a recently resigned pastor. We went through a lot in our ministry and I have to say that I disagree with the part about it’s not the church people fault when a pastor is broken and resigned. Sin is different from being broken. No it’s not the pastor fault people in his church sin or are broken because of things in their lives but it can be the fault of a church if a pastor is broken. Especially when the pastor is never good enough no mater how hard he tries and when they don’t really want the pastor to lead them they just want him to preach and say yes to all their ideas and do whatever they want. Especially when nothing the pastor ever does is good enough. Especially when the deacons are constantly in opposition to the pastor and cause church splits. I’m sorry but in our case it was the people in the church that broke us and caused us to leave the ministry. Will we return one day?, possibly. If God chooses to call us back to ministry we will gladly go but for now we are trying to recoup from a very hard 6 years of full time ministry in which we were broken. Broken by a church congregation.

    Reply
  85. Billy Shurling
    September 15, 2016

    Rob, I just discovered you and fine you very knowledge about the same conclusion I have. I believe very much what God gave us the Trinity. I was working at a pants factory in Wrightsville, Ga in 1953 when i was told by the Holy Spirit to quit my job and join the Army. I did that and thingsw have be pretty magical since. I was never taught anything about the Spirit until I retired in 1994. during my thoughts about my life after retirement. The Spirit told me that I had bad knees. Jan 2, 1995 i injured my left knee and there after I had 5 surgeries and both knees replaced. My pastor never taught anything about the Spirit. The Spirit started helping me find things in the Bible I was so excite3d about what I had learned I wanted to tell everyone. I started writing a book: “Understanding God the Holy Spirit”. I found that I didn’t know how to write So the Spirit starting it for me. I am fully Blessed and the Spirit taught me how to rabout the Bible and the “End times”. The Spirit has shown me how to study the Bible. I think he keeps me from going to my church. He wants me to “serve” at the time He chooses to teach the “Truth”. I know pastors are caught in a bad place as ir seems the unbelievers run the church and the believers are unhaeppy. It is interesting to note that the pollsters say Christians are split about 50/50 on the election. That is better than I expected. This rapture has many believing they are going to heaven by pass the judgment. I believe Matt 24:30-31. And mathew explained it in the parable in Matt 22.

    Reply
  86. September 15, 2016

    Until congregations and denominations wise up and begin to take care of their pastors at least as well as they want the pastor to take care of the people, this kind of burn out will continue. I might add, it also leaves room for the approximately 25% of ordained people who are, in fact, personality disordered and highly destructive to the church.

    Reply
  87. Shane Clark
    September 15, 2016

    It seems like churches always have their hands out. They always want more and more money. We are at the point at our church that our kids can’t afford to be a part of the youth group, because EVERY event is $150+ per child. Who has that kind of money (other than the church staff that gets paid hefty salaries and don’t have taxes taken out)?
    We love Jesus, we just can’t afford the church….

    Reply
    • Earl Walker
      September 15, 2016

      Shane,
      I don’t know where you go to church. If it is true that you are being priced out of events for your kids you should talk to your church leadership about this issue. If you are unable to reach a satisfying solution you may need to look for another church. That being said, it is going to be an unusual church that is paying the church staff far beyond the norm. I know of very few church staff that are truly overpaid. And I do not know what you are referring to when you say church staff do not have taxes taken out. Staff ministers get to pay income tax just like everyone else in the US, If they are ordained the church cannot pay social security for them and they pay their full social security tax due by themselves. If you work your employer pays half your social security and you pay half. Don’t say things about staff that you obviously know nothing about.

      Reply
    • Kenny TheShark
      September 16, 2016

      My thoughts exactly! Odd how they don’t see it from the eyes of the congregation. Normal people can’t afford church any longer.

      Reply
  88. Dixon
    September 15, 2016

    The psychology of church hurts my head. On one side I think – yep, joint the club, that is what leadership is like whether you are leading a church, business or other organization. However, one would hope wordily principles would not apply to church ‘sociology’. The reality is, for me anyway, Ive witnessed too many similarities. If the strategic plan is all about the mechanics of of a topic, such as transition, getting younger, begin diverse, etc. and not allowing the word to provide (not enough time to finish my thinking on the topic). Anyway, could it be that personal relationships, face to face interactions, visitation, meetings, and honest conversations are not as prevalent as they used to be. Furthermore, could it be that impersonal leadership, or a lack of using members as leaders, leads to difficulties, which leads to the sensation of being alone, on the edge, burnout?

    Reply
  89. September 15, 2016

    Perhaps it is time to go beyond church as usual with the 1-man pastor system and re-establish the New Testament concept taught in 1 Corinthians 14:26 where anybody present can free speak out in a church meeting. Check out more in “Beyond Church: An Invitation To Experience The Lost Word Of The Bible–Ekklesia” available @ http://amzn.to/2cBsKd8

    Reply
    • Shane Clark
      September 15, 2016

      Nice plug for your book. What’s wrong, nobody buying it?

      Reply
  90. Steve
    September 15, 2016

    Pete Wilson, made some bad hires, I know two of them quite well. One of them came in with red flags all over him. Could that be some of his reason(s) for being burnt out? We all make mistakes, I have hired some of the wrong people on occasion, but I didn’t quit my job, or in spiritual terms, (my calling), over it. My message is, that pastors don’t face anything that we as parishioners don’t face too.

    Reply
  91. Regina Alesso
    September 15, 2016

    I have been contemplating the story of Moses lately and his failing to just speak to the rock. I think for me I get use to the idea of God letting me participate in doing things with Him to show me who He is and who I am but when it comes to me being hands off and just “speaking” I have a hard time letting go and letting Him take it to the next level. Maybe we have a different type of spiritual break much like Elijah or for that matter Peter where we are retooled for a different task. It isnt a bad thing to have God bring you to your knees. COnflict is where we meet the Lord. Right?

    Reply
  92. Ernie
    September 15, 2016

    You know, I shared a post that included some very distressing statistics regarding the plight of pastors and their families some time ago. At the time I was pastoring a moderately sized Southern Baptist Church. Just shared the post. I don’t think many people realize the struggles a pastor faces. At the next deacon’s meeting, I was lambasted for it. That is all I will say concerning that, but as for the pastors mentioned in the blog, I get it, totally. The pastoral ministry is an incredibly lonely place. The mention of friendships ending abruptly is absolutely correct. Finding out about it through 3rd parties is also absolutely correct. The sharp ‘about face’ that we encounter so often shakes us. There is little wonder to me that so many of us, who begin our ministry ready to ‘save the world’ end it so soon. Only the certainty of the call of God keeps us going.

    Reply
  93. Margaret
    September 15, 2016

    Thank you so much for this… unfortunately it matches our experience and that of friends too.
    My husband started to have an affair which by God’s grace was stopped before too much damage was done. But looking back at the roots of this situation we can see how the church leadership of where we were didn’t support us when we had our baby. This resulted in him looking elsewhere for help and finding it in the wrong places.
    Anyway, I am more convinced than ever of the need to pray for our pastors and our husband’s.

    Reply
  94. September 15, 2016

    Something I read in Wilson’s statement troubles me. I’m not blaming him in the slightest, but there is something that troubles me.

    First is his emphasis on “leadership” and “leadership energy.” Something about that statement cries out, “wrong priority.” Was he so focused on the duties and responsibilities of leadership that he forgot to be a child of God? I say this not to put down Wilson whatsoever. I do know, though, that the contemporary church has become so focused on buzzwords such as “leadership,” “accountability,” and “worship” as a performance experience that the life of a church person is full of legalism. The Spirit-filled life has been replaced by yet another checklist. I know people have become empty living by the checklist and not Christ. All of what I mention can be important, but they have replaced strong Spirit life.

    Reply
  95. Kathy Matisz
    September 15, 2016

    I have heard so many pastor talk about leading and that may be part of the problem. It isn’t the person that leads but rather the Holy Spirit . The Lord says his load isn’t heavy and if it is perhaps it isn’t the Lord’s you are carrying. He said His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. When we move forward in what God has us doing He leads us, equips us and causes things to work together for his glory. I truly think some people’s understanding of a pastor is misinterpreted. As a pastor you should be directing people’s dependence onto God not unto you. If there is a time when the Holy Spirit moves in a worship service don,t stop worshipping. More ministry can happen during worship as the power of God falls than in a 2 hour sermon. Pastors need to get out of the way if God is moving in a different way than what you had planned. As for being paid Paul said he worked so he would not be a burden on the people. If Pastors were to direct people to God for answers rather than them they would have time to work outside the church at a job just like the rest of us and donate their time to preach and direct people to God on Sundays just like the magority of people who work in the church.

    Reply
    • Deb White
      February 7, 2017

      I find it ironic that after reading this article, there are those who still don’t “get it”…like if pastors sent people to God, they could get another job. Spoken by someone who is NOT a pastor. So many posts that make me shake my head. As a pastor’s wife, I can relate to much of this article. My husband and I both work no less than 50-70 hours a week, most of the time, we work days and nights, 7 days a week. It is definitely the most difficult and challenging thing I have ever done. But God’s grace is sufficient. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt when people, church people, gossip, betray and do damage to the body. It still HURTS when people you love, trust, pour into for years will throw the relationship away from one offense…and grab as many people as they can on their way out the door. But God. His opinion is the only one that matters and I live my life and do my ministry with the goal of hearing from Him-well done.

      Reply
  96. Latu Toetu'u
    September 15, 2016

    Healthy church is a prayerful church! It doesn’t matter how big the church is. The building represents the house of God and the head of the church is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of the people including the Pastor. Being a pastor is not an easy task. As a pastor myself and I affirmed my call to be an ambassador for Christ- I am only a messenger of God’s Words. What’s that means? I have to deliver the right messages to the people of God with carefully using my gifts in exercising my authority, prophetic voices and judgements. I am only human and so as the congregations and in order to gain a higher level of divine or spiritual experiences among us we must be authentic in our human-personal relationships. This relationship is encouraged by love, humility and honest through prayers and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Always remember that congregations pray mostly and con-finely for their families , but the pastor prayers mostly for the whole church and its ministries!

    Reply
  97. Ken Vernon
    September 15, 2016

    Interesting Article but the responses, and they are legion, are most revealing. The article and responses are from more evangelical christian pastors and people. The responses reveal a deep flaw in conservative religious movements that I think we have the ability to avoid. The flaw is that so many of the comments come from people who seem to rely on an undefined, unclear, “unshared” messages from a mythical God or God surrogate that secretley harbors some truth about right and wrong, sin and salvation. These beliefs and dependencies on mythical truths allow people to avoid dialogue with one another and as a community. As long as we give meaning, practice and reinforcement to our covenant with one another (including the pastor) we can avoid the mythical other God and affirm the God (Love) between us. I know I sound a bit idealistic here but working at covenant is a very practical basis for avoiding all the crap spewed in the article. Love is the….
    Ken Vernon, Unitarian Universalist lay person.

    Reply
  98. Frank ******
    September 15, 2016

    Our church is very small…..because of this I have to work outside the church…..even this, does not pay all the bills, so many times I even take on extra work to help the family budget. This leaves much undone at the church at times. Recently, I had a person in the church indicate to me that he was going to be leaving our chuch, because I was not doing “Enough” to build the church, while this person only attended one service a week, and never did anything but sit in the pew when they were there. Of course, I gave the “appropriate” response, BUT oh, how often you’d like to “really” tell them what is on your mind. I’m tired, and even considering resigning myself…….even though I realize the work must go on.

    Reply
  99. September 15, 2016

    Rob,

    One of the DARKEST times in my life I was running on spiritual fumes for years having lost a job and had to move in with my 80 year old father’s house. He was a narcissist (gas lighting, etc.) in the worst way, AND a Christian. Needless to say, I searched high and low for answers. Having read about Job, I skipped to the last chapter to find my answer, but did not get it until after I had “cleared” the season and was able to learn the lessons.

    A good friend at a men’s retreat came up to me to tell me his wife found out that she had breast cancer. I prayed for his family and as I was praying, God took me back to my lowest emotional level and gave me this image: Between my thumb and first finger I was holding on VERY tightly to ONE LONE MUSTARD SEED! So tight, my fingers were white. That’s how my faith felt. But the lesson was not over.

    I reread the last chapter of Job and found that not only was Job being tested, but so were his friends, too. Job passed HIS test, his friends did not. So ANYONE going through troubles YOU are being tested HOW YOU HANDLE THEIR problems, too, just as much as their are handing their situation. So beware when watching others, because you judge (condemn) someone, you just might come under God’s discipline for YOUR actions and words.

    Reply
  100. Kelley Moorman
    September 15, 2016

    Hello, Rob. Your post resonated with me on many levels. My father was a faithful minister of the Gospel for 40 years. I remember many times seeing him frustrated, lonely, or sad. He was sometimes criticized by people who felt that, as members of his congregation, they had the right to dictate how he spent his money and / or his time. Sometimes he heard stories of trials and heartaches that moved him to tears. Often he struggled under the weight of other people’s burdens, unable to share them with others due to confidentiality or other concerns. A pastor’s life is hard. Only a pastor really knows how hard, but a pastor’s family have a front row seat to the struggle. It broke my heart to see how my dad labored under the yoke the Lord placed on him. But through it all, Dad was faithful, and the Lord was faithful to sustain him.

    On June 1 of this year, my dad laid his burden down and went home to be with the Lord. He fought the good fight, he finished the course, he kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness. His service to the Lord was without scandal or blemish, because as hard as pastoring is, it’s easier when you know your people love you. Dad’s congregation wasn’t perfect, but they loved their pastor, and prayed for him and supported him. That, and the Lord’s grace, enabled him to finish strong, with his head high and his voice proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.

    You said in your post that you wanted to finish out as a pastor. It’s very hard, but it is possible. I’ve seen it done.

    Reply
  101. September 15, 2016

    Nailed it! I have been a lead minister for 25 years. Points 3, 4, and 5 sums it up for me.

    Reply
  102. Donna
    September 15, 2016

    I know we can’t begin to comprehend the difficulties pastors experience and I have great compassion for them. However, as a former female church staff member, I can say from experience that the other staff members also experience heavy duty problems. They too are “alone” in their situations–no one to talk (vent) to except our Father. Church members can be brutal to their staff, and frequently staff members treat each other the same way. I pray God never asks me to be on another church staff.

    Reply
  103. Kathy Sherbert
    September 15, 2016

    Thanks for this incitful article. I am a member of the church which Perry Noble pastored. It made me sad to read some of your words about wanting to finish well because that was the same thing Perry said in a sermon a couple of years ago. And one may say now, that sadly he did not finish well. But something else he often said, “If it’s not good, then God’s not done. “. I believe that after some healing there will be a chapter 2 for him, and that in the long run, he may indeed finish well. So many of our heroes of the Bible had spiritual detours, became exhausted, and made bad decisions. But God is a God if second chances and I believe he can do that for weary worn pastors and churches alike. Thanks again for this honest look at burnout. Prayers for you and your family as you continue to run the race.

    Reply
    • Kate McAuliffe
      September 16, 2016

      Another example, sadly, of a multi site media empire. Pastors, in my opinion, were not called

      to run media empires consisting of people they have never met. I’m not sure how many more

      examples of failure of this particular type of “church” structure American Christianity will need

      before we admit that not only does it not “work”, in reality, it generates great harm when these

      “pastors”/ media CEOs fall/fail.

      Reply
  104. September 16, 2016

    Rob, thank you for writing this. Pete Wilson was my pastor for years when I lived in Nashville and we love him very much. It’s been a rough week – knowing he’s hurting and all of cross point right now. I’ve not even been able to post about it bc it’s too emotional for me but thankfully it seems Pete has been covered in grace and love by the congregation and all articles I’ve seen. This one is one that needs to be shared to make people aware of what pastors and ministry leaders face all while trying to serve Jesus and the church. Thank you for praying for Pete and cross point and thank you for this article.

    P.S. One thing I would like to add though, I really hate the title to this blog post. It kind of feels insensitive to someone who’s personally connected to it. Just saying. Otherwise I feel you did a beautiful job on this.

    Reply
  105. R. Reynolds
    September 16, 2016

    You have said exactly what I have felt for many years. I am sharing this with some hurt “retired” pastors. I have first hand witnessed the damage to these pastors, their families, friends and even the churches themselves. These “Christian brothers and sisters” can do so much damage, thinking they are holy themselves. Such a sad state of affairs in the American Christian Church these days.

    Reply
  106. Liah
    September 16, 2016

    Just my thoughts as a single female pastor over 50 years old: I have learned that you can’t play church with God no matter how hard you try because it comes down to relationship with Him first. That relationship will help in relationships with others. Can’t live this life according to the expectations of others; otherwise, that takes the glory and focus away from God. When I am drained, I just step back and take time out for myself. We have to trust God with others He has placed in our lives; otherwise, that takes the glory and focus away from God. I presently have a unique experience in being a pastor overseas. Loneliness and trust continually challenge me. I have seen God watch my back as I continue to “draw close to Him” and “submit to Him” and “take time out to refresh.” Great article. Thanks for sharing. I know many who have left the pastoral ministry, some to get married, some from burnout, some that question their beliefs. I pray for them and stand alongside them best way I know how.

    Reply
  107. Troy
    September 16, 2016

    Thanks for posting this, my eyes welled up with tears reading this. I can relate to everything listed. My family and I have experienced tremendous hurt over the last 4 months. However, through this experience instead of letting us be bitter my prayer is that it will make us better. It’s still a struggle but, God is able.

    Reply
  108. Kate McAuliffe
    September 16, 2016

    This is not going to be a popular opinion, and may seem incendiary. I don’t mean what I am going to say to be hurtful or insensitive, honestly. Honest. However.

    I truly don’t believe that God calls pastors to “pastor” legions of people through mega, mega churches, multiple “church” sites, blogs, and books, books, books.

    That would make anyone tired and burned out because what is being run is a media empire, not a church.

    I’m sympathetic to the countless hours that any pastor works. But when I see stories like this, it is usually *another* mega church, “best selling author”, multi site etc “pastor” who has gone down in flames. I no longer think it is surprising. Here’s why:

    No single man can “pastor” thousands of humans, some of whom he has never, and will never meet. This is not “ministry” it is empire building. Not to mention the numbers of small churches who were cannibalized by the media empire, mega church and multi site “church” with a jumbo tron. God is not in it.

    Want to hear a real tragedy? Talk to some of the pastors of smaller churches ( particularly in small towns) whose entire church has been gutted when one of these multi site mega churches sets up a branch in their town, often an hour or 2 from the “mother” church. That will make you want to weep. Men who have pastored churches and served communities for 20-30 years are now staring at empty seats due to the jumbo tron church down the way with the famous “pastor” who just set up shop in a town where they do not live. Ridiculous and tragic.

    The church needs to stop building media empires. Pastors need to stop building empires.

    Reply
    • Mike Fuller
      September 17, 2016

      Karen, you hit the nail squarely on the head.

      Reply
      • Mike Fuller
        September 17, 2016

        Kate, not Karen, sorry!

        Reply
  109. September 16, 2016

    Wow, Rob, your comments runneth over. This is a very transparent article and also educational for those who don’t know what it’s like. I wanted to tell you that our pastor has just retired. He has been our pastor for roughly just under 40 years (2 churches – 1 planted from the other). This man and his wife have been among our closest friends for most of that time. We even built our houses next door to each other. We have seen some of these struggles but, of course, many I’m sure he has kept from us. He is retiring with no scandal during his ministry time. I think part of the key is that he always wanted reality and never distanced himself from the church. Please be encouraged that it happens. I love your heart to finish well. (We are not “in the ministry” ourselves, but just regular folks serving the church and doing life with the local church family.)

    Reply
  110. Butler
    September 16, 2016

    Thank you , i needed this , this is such a struggle for me right now. Loneliness hurts, its something you are not taught in seminary. i know deep down all pastors deal with this, but its nice to be reminded I’m not alone in the struggle. Moving hours, upon hours away from all Family and friends (before getting into ministry) really compounded this for me.

    Reply
  111. September 16, 2016

    I graduated from Seminary and was Children’s Pastor for 16 years, and a Pastor for 2 years. I, like Pete, gave, and gave, and gave until I was not only empty but destroyed my marriage. For 2 years I did take a “Sabbatical”. It was during this time God opened my eyes and I saw the hurt and loneliness many in the ministry experience. So in 2014 I started a page on Facebook called the Prayer Page. It was designed for anyone…preachers, missionaries, laymen to share their burdens either openly, or via private message. I hoped maybe I would get 20-30 to sign up. We had over 100 by the end of the month. At the time I had a seperate full time job. As the Ministry grew, I began to ask God if I should step back because I couldn’t keep up. His answer was to give me a form of Parkinson’s that allowed me to retire with a full pension. The Prayer Page has now expanded to having a page on Instagram, Twitter, and a website. theprayerpage.simdif.com We have 2 services recorded each week where we encourage others.

    So I say thank you for sharing this video and your thoughts. We need to pray for our pastors, to love them, support them, and as Jesus did many times, give them time and space to go apart and rest before they come apart.

    Reply
  112. Carol moorby
    September 16, 2016

    ” My people perish for lack of knowledge.” THere are many scared cow teachings out ther (error) and th FULL gospel is being eliminated in many churches these days. People are
    Rating wrong and wondering why their prayers aren’t being answered? the spirit of RELIGION leaves the church uninformed and with watered down and compromising doctrine. Seeker friendly church do NOT work and actually deny the truth. They compromise with the world who have itching ears. the words sin, repent, hell, Satan are eliminated so as not o offend….PURE RUBBISH!!!!!! many churches now incorporate new age, occult, humanism and are watering down and dumbing down their congregations. CHRISLAM in now the accepted religion by false prophets. Uninformed people are going to hell and there will be blood on many pastors hands. DOes your church teach about COMMON CORE, the NEW WORLD ORDER and RELIGION, CHRISLAM, the ISLAM caliphate (now being ushered in with the help of the pope), the foolishness of the politically incorrect agenda and how we shouldn’t offend anyone? JEsus offended most people with the the TRUTH. Folks, the TRUTH is going to offend…get with the program! we are given the 5 fold ministries and every church either needs all 5 or needs to invite speakers with the ones they don’t have yet. ALso, the ” GRACE” message must be taught in order to correct error teachings. MAny are praying WRONGLY! There is a better way to pray.Just google http://www.awmi.net and click on the TEACHING ARTICLES.” You will be so blessed ! WIthout the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the spiritual and motivational gifts no one is going to understand the RHEMA of the word, only the watered down LOGOS which is actually worthless. WIthout the Baptism of th H.S. And the gift of TONGUES You won’t see miracles and wonders either. THis baptism was the first gift given to the church after Jesus death. ACts 1:8. THose who deny it have no business in the pulpit. TOngues are given to build your strength up..without tongues you will be tire and empty. a pastor must also learn to DELEGATE….he can NOT do it all himself. If you are being led of the HOLY SPIRIT you will not burn out. ” They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength like an eagle. THey will run and not be weary , they will walk and not faint……if they wait. AS I first said, ” My people perish for LACK of knowledge. the Holy Spirit teaches, comforts, warns, for tells, guides, and exposes danger. EVERYONE MUST BE BAPTIZED in th HOLY SPIRIT! WITHOUT him people will FAIL! The word is to be rightly divided, corrected and proven. People who refuse to be taught TRUTH or be corrected by the word need to move on. They are simply trouble makers and churches do NOT need their attendance for their rebellious spirits to transfer to others. I will encourage ALL pastors to first be sure they were even called and if they were called then are they to quit? Really seek the Holy Spirit on all of this. We are called to pray for out pastor as well. that is our job! Some of the sacred cow teachings include ” Old Testament prayers”, ” God has everything under control, ” and trying to combine ” LAW with GRACE. WHen Jesus died on the cross it healed our land. l Corinthians 5:19-20 teaches us that we are already reconciled to God now. STOP LPRAYING l l Chronicles 7:14. It was a
    Racer for that Old Testament time and for the people of that time. IF You keep praying that prayer you are denying what Jesus finished work was and are actually anti-Christ or against what he did already. It is finished. People need to become teachable and renounce some of their preconceived teachings.AMEN!

    Reply
  113. Carol moorby
    September 16, 2016

    Sorry for a typo error on my email address. ITs actually camoorby@aol.com and NOT camoorby!

    Reply
  114. Pat Wells
    September 16, 2016

    It’s essential for Pastors to renew their strength. It’s a tough job they have taken on. My retired Pastor made it a point to go to the mountain tops quarterly. He would go with his Pastor son and perhaps his pastor brothers. In the pure clean air and scent of the mountains they would breath in God’s wonderful creation to pray and gather strength and become rejuvenated and bring back with them the great joy of God’s Love. Every Pastor should gather Pastor friends (no matter the denomination) because they, too, feel the same burdens, and go to the mountains!

    Reply
  115. Carol moorby
    September 16, 2016

    I just want to add another error. The message bible is written by an unbeliever and is loaded with new age, occult and vulgarity . ” ” In the end times even the ELECT may be deceived” Burn this bible if you have it…..then pray for the ministries who use it and are deceived. . You can order teaching tracts which explain this evil at Dial-the-truth Ministries for only 7 cents apiece.The website is http://www.av1611.org. when you read the tract you will be shocked!

    Reply
  116. Beth
    September 16, 2016

    My church has a historical pattern of clergy sexual misconduct going back at least 40 of our 74 years — the senior minister and two others just during that one senior minister’s stay. I think that says more about us as a congregation and about church mores than it does about the clergy, though they carry their share of responsibility. We tend to deify — or crucify — our ministers. The one who told the search committee, “Well, let the de-deification begin!” was run off in 30 months.

    Not a single one of our senior ministers,also, has left completely of his own choice.

    HOW can we heal our congregation?!!!

    Reply
  117. George H
    September 16, 2016

    Just a heads up about the pastor that you addressed in your post…I do not know him personally, but I have heard several of his messages and I know people who are members of his church. The gospel was not the center focus of this church. When Christ is not exalted, it will all come crumbling down. I do not know personally the issue with this pastor, but I know from a biblical standpoint, this church did not have a sound theology.

    Reply
    • Beth D
      September 17, 2016

      I have no knowledge of the pastor this was about. This crossed my Facebook page as things do. What I DO KNOW is that as a church secretary for 2 small churches in small towns that I have seen and heard all of his points show up and break down ministers.

      Reply
  118. September 16, 2016

    If they only knew or cared what a missionary goes through; diseases, finances, criticisms, disappointments, heartache, hidden agendas, satanic warfare, isolation, but we KNOW we enter the kingdom thru MUCH tribulation & rejoice that we r counted worthy to suffer for His name. It’s not about prayer for leaders; it’s about the perseverance of those leaders to be like Paul “not willing to b bound only but to die.” As a 40 yr missionary, far from country, children, grandchildren & sisters, I die daily b/c worthy is the Lamb.

    Reply
    • Janet Haase
      October 8, 2016

      Many of our pastors do care about what missionaries are going through and they do pray for you and support you. I even know a few pastor’s who were once missionaries on the field, like you. Each thing you listed that a missionary goes through, a pastor right here on American soil faces daily. The satanic warfare in America is increasing in these last days and alarmingly misunderstood. And yes, for each one of us that are not the missionary or pastor, it IS ABOUT PRAYER. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:11 you also helping together in prayer for us ` Listen to his whole story, 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does[a] deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our[b] behalf for the gift granted to us through many. ~ We will pray for our pastors and we will pray for our missionaries, prayer covering is very powerful.

      Reply
  119. Michelle Thomas
    September 17, 2016

    The church is not operating based on the model Jesus left. It was based on a team model with the 5-fold gifts and the offices of Apostle, Prophet, and Teacher. Although many years of manmade doctrine and divisive denominations have muddied those waters, we need to seek God to get back to His way, not ours. Proper usage would eliminate some of this burnout, although His way has never been easy.

    Reply
  120. Carla
    September 17, 2016

    My husband and I have been in ministry our whole adult lives and that means nearly 40 years. This article is pretty clear and sadly true. I would only add to the “loneliness” point is that it’s a difficult lesson to learn in ministry that those who long to be the pastors “friend” are the ones he should probably run from. Never once, in 40 years, has that ever ended well.

    Reply
  121. Lindsey
    September 17, 2016

    I feel a lot of this happens because churches have become too big. Pastors are no longer shepherds of sheep, they are celebrities. They are no longer able to have real relationships with people in their congregation because they have become untouchable and have a security team around them. I remember when I was younger you could call your pastor and have a meeting with him now that is not even possible. The pastor is either so busy attending conferences or other things out of town or they send you to join a small group. The cliche statement of “we connect better in circles not rows” makes me wonder than why are we so concerned with building a mega church. This has become so heart breaking. Now many times I question whether he pastor is answering a calling or just taking a job. Jesus said his yoke is light so then if we are doing work for Jesus and are doing it correctly our yoke should be light to. We need to step back and re-evaluate our churches and remind them bigger is not always better.

    Reply
    • Beth D
      September 17, 2016

      This happens in small churches a lot too, especially in small towns where people still expect the minister to always act like a minister. Also, in small towns, the ministers often can not have a circle of friends that is different from the congregation members – which they need!

      Reply
  122. Kathy
    September 17, 2016

    This article just popped up on my computer, just as I’m contemplating leaving my church, because of the Lead Pastor. My grandson is the Worship Leader at this church, and is doing a wonderful job! However, the lead pastor told him on this past Monday, that he’s not a vocalist, and he should let the praise team lead! My grandson is 25, has a degree in music with a focus on Church music, and I have watched week after week as he leads the audience in 2 services into the presence of God. He is very humble, and lots of Sundays, he doesn’t lead, but features each praise team member lead a song each, so he’s already doing that! To have a pastor, in the church where you grew up and served (without pay), because you have the heart of praise, and the call of God on your life to do this, tell you something like this is heartbreaking! So much so, that my grandson was literally in bed 2 days this week! He was physically ill from this happening to him. My husband and I, my daughter and her family, my grandson’s mother, attend this church, and have for 15 years. I honestly, don’t think I can sit under his teaching again! We have supported the church financially. It has grown tremendously. But I don’t know where this is coming from unless it is just plain spiritual warfare! A former worship leader has returned to the area, and is in a position of authority over my grandson, and I believe he wants to lead here again, even though he leads on the other campus in a county close by. I have wanted to confront the pastor, but to tell you the truth, he wouldn’t know me from Adams House Cat, even though I go every Sunday! I have told everyone what a wonderful teacher he is, and he is, but I can’t do this! In a moment, that man has changed the confidence of a young Christian, that he has watched grow up with his own children. He knows him, he knows his heart, and the love he has for God! God called him to this ministry, and I pray that he (my grandson) can get past this! I just don’t know!! What would you hope a member would do in a situation like this? Would you want them to come to you? My husband at 73 was just getting comfortable enough to raise his hands in worship! In fact the first time ever was this past Sunday. He drove a truck over the road for over 40 years and was never able to attend church. This was before our marriage, so he has finally come around, and now he says he will not return to church! Words once out of the mouth can’t be taken back. As for me, I have cried and prayed all week and asked for guidance. I don’t believe any pastor is a saint. I don’t expect them not to make mistakes, but when you do this to a young pastor it is so devastating.

    Reply
  123. Beth D
    September 17, 2016

    I really enjoyed reading this reflection. It really hit home right now. I think EVERYONE who attends any church should read this, especially those living in a small town with only one church. Right now where I live, we have one church in town and share our minister with a church in another town. Both churches are having trouble attracting and keeping members. Our minister has only been here a year and she is a wonderful person with a heart of gold, but of course, she is not perfect. Unfortunately, people are leaving because they are not happy with things she has said and done – many of which are not related to her call as pastor. As secretary, I hurt for her sometimes since people tell me why they are leaving and I feel it is unfair to her. Soon, a committee of the church will be talking to her about these things and there is just no easy way to do it, for the reasons you talk about. I plan on sharing this with several people and hopefully it will help us all. Thank you for your time and thoughtful words that could not have been easy to make public.

    Reply
  124. Christine
    September 18, 2016

    I am saddened to hear that pastors are stepping down. However, it may be needed. These men of God give all day everyday. Sabbaticals are necessary. Sometimes they need refreshing. Sometimes they need to reconnect with the sheep. Sometimes the power goes to their heads. Sometimes they lose their first love. They are human. I don’t think it’s healthy to stay at 1 church for 25 years. Laodicean happens. I’ve been married to a licensed minister for over 25 years. I have a heart for the chirches . They need help. They are missing the mark. Our churches are full of fans not followers of Jesus. They are places where broken people are beaten down. That’s why Noone is interested in christianity. We need to go back to the basics. Get rid of all the programs. We are the body of Christmas and we need to start acting like it. Pastors can lead people to water but cannot make them drink. My prayer is those that leave the ministry find healing and perspective and those in the church realize we all must do our part.

    Reply
  125. September 18, 2016

    I am loving this post and the dialogue. I very much believe that a congregation has more capabilities to help their pastor than they realize. I’d love to get you involved in my advisory group if you are interested!

    Reply
    • September 19, 2016

      DJ, thanks for the comment. I’m interested in what that would entail.

      Reply
  126. Torode
    September 18, 2016

    Most of these issue are pretty complex in terms of reasons or “blame” much of what your talking to boils down to the relationship between an Elder Board and the Head Pastor. If either of those two are hard headed and incapable of letting the other have real control then on of the two are typically pretty weak in terms of leadership. In my experience a bad Elder Board that doesn’t change can doom a church for many years and typically until the church closes its doors. The church I attend has a board that supports the lead pastor in many ways including telling him to take a couple months off and get refreshed. They would tolerate members being petty about pay or vacations in fact they would offer to help that member find a new church. When you have a good organization that doesn’t bend to church politics and typically is insistent on doing the “right” thing no matter what most issues take care of themselves.

    Reply
    • Torode
      September 18, 2016

      I meant to say they would NOT tolerate members being petty.

      Reply
  127. Bill Jordan
    September 19, 2016

    This is a very good and enlightening post. Thank you for sharing and I truly feel for so many pastors who have their lives effected due to ministry. But one thing that really needs to be pointed out is the VERY REAL damage that pastors can cause. Pastors commit to a life of serving God but many of them do not actually commit as the bible would have.

    Lets be careful what we are saying here. Pastors need to be so careful what they do. Are they accountable (Big One)? Are they Gossipers? Do they speak of things that should NOT be spoken of (As in private matters of others etc.)? Do they call people to come together and support one another or are they dividing families, friends and marriages or causing separation? Do they play the victim every time something goes wrong? Do they make themselves the center of attention? Do they banish people from the church on their own authority? Do they separate people and turn others against them through deception and manipulation? Do they try to get ‘information’ out of people by manipulating them into saying things that should remain private? Do they claim and speak the Gospel in public, but then spread poison about others when they whisper to individuals? Do they use their position to preach about someone in the church (or who recently left)? Do they preach the gospel but leave out the whole scripture to push their point? Do they claim the ‘truth’ but aren’t really speaking the whole truth (Huge one)? Do they direct/lead people to think bad of other people?

    Their are many false Shepherds. MANY. And far too many people are deceived into following these people or believing the deception, or Tolerating such behavior (or thinking it’s acceptable). The bible talks specifically about these people, Shepherds who scatter the flock. Or those who cause the children of God to stumble and Fall. Or wolves in Sheep clothing, the latter two which can relate to anyone. Unfortunately, many people do not see the above warnings UNTIL they leave the church. I’m not trying to put this on pastors or anything, but when speaking about pastors walking away or burning out, you need to include that some who are pastors are actually the problem. And i say this because it can destroy people if it is not addressed.

    If there is only one of the above issues, or even something that’s a one off, then not to worry. If two or more of the things above are present, then you need to have it addressed. If more then two, then you really have some serious issues. As the bible says, speak in private to them and point out that their is an issue. If they do not listen, go with witnesses, if they still don’t listen, address the board (or the church) in their presence, if they attend. If it is still not address, then it is time to leave the church.

    To remain under such things is both damaging for you, the church and the pastor(s). The pastor remains in sin, while you remain under it. If you do not speak up, then be careful what you receive. All I can say in this situation is just be aware.

    As for Pastors who are truly burning out, speak up. find someone (preferably out of church) that you can speak to openly. Even professionally. You truly are needed and you need to be taken care of too.

    Reply
  128. O Tempora
    September 21, 2016

    Being insensitive and dull, how is his situation different from any other soul’s? OK, a pastor has certain demands — temptations included — that other plain working schmucks do not generally have. No hot female workers seeking my consolation. But I thought, in my naïveté, that all Christians had a leg up on common everyday heathens. The Power of such and such. Seems not. And it doesn’t work for me either; but I figured it was just my stubborn desire to _______ [not be a True Christian].

    Actually, when I see a pastor “fail”, I think that there is a person I’d really like to talk to, buy the first round and commiserate, talk about sod web worms, the Cubs, Santayana and Santana. A meeting of peers.

    Reply
  129. Neo
    September 22, 2016

    Make an effort to pray for your pastor every night during family worship time

    Reply
  130. Diane Gooden
    October 4, 2016

    I understand this article so much. My husband is a pastor and I am the assistant pastor. It is very lonely sometimes. You have to act like you don’t hurt, you have to pretend nothing brothers you and that you are strong all the time and can’t show weakness. You have to constantly forgive others, but you can’t get forgiveness. I can go on and on. My heart goes out to pastors and their family.

    Reply
    • GailGoodwin
      February 4, 2017

      I don’t believe that God expects that of anyone. If they don’t appreciate you or have respect for you , give yourself some freedom. Don’t ruin you’re whole life. Accept Jesus as your savoir and love your neighbour like yourself is the bible in a nut shell. You”ll do more out of the church than in it.

      Reply
  131. Julie
    October 5, 2016

    This is truly sad. But I have to question where is your faith? God said he wouldn’t give us more than we can bear. Look I know ministers and especially pastors have a big responsibility and I think where some of them fail is they think they have to do it all!!! You can’t! Learn how to DELEGATE! You can’t preach every funeral, you can’t do every baptism, you have to learn to delegate and that doesn’t make you less of a pastor it keeps you from feeling empty and burned out! Even Jesus delegated his work out to John the Baptist and Paul and other disciples. In doing this it lightens your load and you will have time to breathe. You put God first and forsake all other things like family. You can’t be at johnny’s baseball game onSaturday cause Mrs Susie’s cat died and she is distraught send one of your assistant ministers and you go see Johnny play. Even being a pastor you have to learn to balance life and learn how to accept help from your assistant ministers and deacon board that is why you have them!!!!! I am sorry you felt you had to resign but if you had a good personal assistant this would not have been the case. UNLESS you were instructed by God to resign which I doubt unless you were never called to be a pastor, that’s a whole different rant I can go into but won’t at this time.

    But ask yourselves this: WERE YOU CALLED TO PREACH? WERE YOU CALLED TO PASTOR? They are different!

    Reply
  132. Janet Haase
    October 7, 2016

    I would ‘think’ that every pastor needs trusted friends that he can simply be himself with, outside of his ‘role’ as pastor. Even his 2nd very best friend, his wife, (Jesus his FIRST) I’m sure would say “Yes, please take him fishing or golfing” These good, trusted friends need to let their pastor know (and vice versa) that they are equals (brothers) and confidential things spoken will never be repeated. I think it would be interesting to try insisting that (occasionally anyway) 2 subjects will NOT be allowed (while fishing or golfing) politics and religion. Someone who loves God with all their heart, has the call of God on their life, and is filled with His Holy Spirit can not leave Jesus on the shore while out fishing on the lake (or out on the fairway). Jesus in the conversation will be as natural as breathing when He is the center of a life. Religion and Relationship are totally different. Jesus enjoyed His close friends. John, whom He loved and Peter and James (He loved them too, of course). Very important for a pastor to have close friends too. Then I feel the greatest thing these men could do, to end this time together on this outing, is to let their pastor know they will be praying for him. Better yet, if they PRAY RIGHT THEN FOR HIM. As a single woman I can’t be my pastors close friend and most of us will not be, BUT WE CAN PRAY. Uphold your Pastor, his wife, and family in your prayers. The enemy is working overtime to discourage and defeat them. James 5:16b The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. P.S. Don’t neglect part ‘a’ of that verse guys…the righteous man does ‘a’ first!!

    Reply
  133. Shannon Bible
    October 8, 2016

    Thank you for sharing. From a congregational side I thank you for reminding us of the importance of seriously praying daily for our Pastor(s). You’ve reminded me that they are not perfect, that we all are on this imperfect journey, and will only fully arrive when we meet Jesus face to face.
    I’ve heard some of the comments you have referred to…I.e. “They are on vacation again? How can they afford that. We must be paying them too much money”, hearing these types of comments always angered me. Many times I remind them that they don’t work for free, or are they questioned how they can afford vacation. People have a sense of entitlement in regards to having a say in a Pastor and his families life. I’d hate to see what would be found in their lives if they were placed under a microscope.
    I’ve also experienced seeing division in a few churches because of dissagreements, and it saddened me to think that people forget that we are serving God not man. As Paul stated in the Gospel “….isn’t due to the arguing amongst yourselves that there is division” (paraphrased). When do we get to the point of remembering this journey we are on is a journey we all take together therefore we need to lift each other up, and yes, even more so, our Pastors and church leaders.
    Because of this article I am going to make a commitment to daily pray for, not only, my Pastor, but all Pastors. They are called by God to help guide all of us on the same journey, and we (the congregation) know how difficult this journey is, how much more for our Pastors.
    Thank you again, and may God bless you with every spiritual blessing of strength, peace, wisdom, knowledge, comfort and joy.

    Reply
  134. Gary
    October 11, 2016

    I’ve been a worship pastor for 35 years and have experienced much love, much grace, much evil and much judgement. I, too, am tired and worn. But practically there is no place for us. Churches don’t want us because we don’t look or sound like Chris Tomlin. We are not marketable to the young demographic. Instead of wanting Paul everyone wants Timothy. Both are called but in our church subculture only Tim is a smart hire.
    So where do we go? This is all we know! Do we sell cars or welcome people to Wal-mart? Is this really God’s will for how the church should treat those of us with so much wisdom to offer?
    We have been forgotten by most except for our loving Savior, praise his holy name.

    Reply
  135. DJ
    October 27, 2016

    My dad is a pastor and I am currently studying to pursue a career in ministry. I hear stories occasionally about crazy things that happen in church, but I am thankful that at the present time God is using our church, and my dad, to further His ultimate plans. This post was a great reminder that even I, a 22 year old college student and the son of a pastor, that I need to thank God for him. Not just for being the best dad I could have ever been given, but also one of the greatest pastors I’ve ever seen. Thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
  136. Joe Glass
    November 23, 2016

    I am a graduate of Liberty University, with a dual major in Psychology and Christian Counseling. I have served as a youth leader for years, as I have a real heart for youth.
    I trained with the goal of serving once again, with the intent of applying an incredible training experience, to serve wherever the local body saw fit.
    Most pastors are not really trained to do extensive counseling. A majority of seminaries really only touch on it briefly.
    Unfortunately, I was looked at with suspicion, or confusion. No local church that I approached really took he time to consider what I may be able to contribute to the body/leadership/community. I burned out before I began. I have gone back to school to pursue my MSW, and have concluded that the local church is mostly about performance and popularity.
    I see inadequately trained youth leaders leading the youth, primarily because they are “cool” or “hip”.
    I know the Lord will continue to use me, but it is sad that the churches I approached lack a vision or understanding of what could be an opportunity to further serve the needs of the people.

    Reply
  137. Matthew F.
    December 17, 2016

    I suspect that churches and church leaders are notoriously lacking in solid intercesory teams who’s number one priority as the “watchmen on the wall”; and as such keep the Church leaders, elders, and boardmembers consistently spiritually guarded and shielded in and through prayer and spiritual warfare.

    Reply
  138. Eric Freeman
    January 31, 2017

    Great article Rob and I agree. Thanks for the reminder. As an elder of a small church I often (I at least try) am reminded of just these sort of things. When you’re a pastor that has an amazing relationship with God and you’re not seeing others in the same relationship so many of these things you talked about become a burden to the Pastor and I know my Pastor has at times wondered if he’s somewhat of a failure.

    Thanks for sharing. Will look up your book. It’s very saddening that Pete stepped down. I would ask for your prayers as I try to find God’s path for me in the years to come as I recently lost the love of my life, my wife.

    Reply
  139. February 1, 2017

    A good friend who is a pastor chose to stay in his marriage after his wife had an affair. Ten years later, he too had an affair and she divorced him. During that time he had to balance the dance between being a witness of grace, and dealing with the deep betrayal. He wound up getting emotional strokes from a staff member of the church and they wound up in bed. He was defrocked from his post, and divorced, while the adulteress, by the grace of God, has become re-embraced by her husband. But for him it didn’t turn out that way. When you look at a pastor you’re hard pressed to see or understand the level of loneliness, pain, etc., because Jesus is supposed to be fun, uplifting, and exciting. But my friend will tell you, having come out from it all (some six years later), he is closer to God now than ever. Not because of the events that happened, but because of God’s severe mercy that draws near to a heart of brokenness and humility. Some don’t understand and he will forever be labeled. But he tells me he has never been closer to God, more authentic in God, and more honest in his needs and transparent before the Lord (and others, too). Crazy how that works.

    Reply
  140. February 1, 2017

    Man a lot in that article rang true. My exception: “The pressure is unreal once a pastor realizes every relationship is one decision away from ending.” If that relational volatility is typical, that may be signal that a church that is a mile wide and an inch deep.
    I didn’t find that kind of volatility to be the case. Many of the members in my previous two churches were able to ultimately respectfully disagree and even submit once an unpopular decision for them has been reached. The relationship volatility seems to rest with those members who were struggling with the purpose of the church. Otherwise, members seem to generally (underline generally) be able to peacefully disagree as long as the ultimate purpose is agreed upon. I will confess that the foreign mission field where I serve now has been a lot less pressure overall than pastoring. A huge huge sanity keeper for me as a pastor last in Huntsville, Alabama was a tight-nit group of pastors who were genuinely friends – we were actually organized around prayer. I’m still in relationship with many of those guys now twelve years later.

    Reply
  141. February 2, 2017

    It sounds like these pastors need support. I don’t know what their Ministry Helps system is like, or if they even have one. I have only recently come to experience a Ministry Helps system in place. This is a system where the members of the body (oh yes, member of the church accepting the fact that they have a role to play as part of the body) assume roles throughout the church to assist the 5-fold ministry. This of course would be serving the Head of the church as well. I will be in prayer for these pastors. I pray that they lean on the Holy Spirit who brings comfort. I pray that they serve God first and then people–gaining their strength from the one who called them to ministry. I do realize there are cases when pastors get hurt. I highly suggest their wives check out this ministry. It is specifically created for instances like this. It will enable the wife to be ministered to by another who has been in the same situation, and God taught her how to support her husband in trying times, and in helping when he returned to ministry. Her name is Lorna Burch. She is incredible. She has a FB page online. I will list the website here and below. Please pass it along, so the wives of these hurting pastors can be ministered to and taught how to overcome. https://www.facebook.com/BurchLeadingLadies/

    Reply
  142. Joel Boggess
    February 2, 2017

    While a lot of this is True… We have to learn self maintenance… In Celebrate Recovery Ministry I have a place to connect and be real about my struggles. My only complaint for a long time was why isn’t church more like a Celebrate Recovery Meetings… But I learn through the 12 Steps based off the Beatitudes the reality about life and truly how to live the blessed balanced life where it is OK to be poor in Spirit realizing when I am God is all I need. Also realizing that hurt people, hurt people and healed people heal people. People can be saved with being healed. Just cause people know the truth about the Gospel, doesn’t mean they know anything about the healing hands of Jesus… That is sad to me that in the proclaiming of truth, the healing hands of Jesus is left out. Jesus preached, teached and healed people. We preach and teach and then wonder why people only know how to preach and teach. I am not even getting into miraculous healing, although I believe it is real . I am talking about James 5:16. Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you might be healed. This is 2 part whoever ask for prayer is healed and whoever prays is healed because next time the other one who is struggling knows they can confess to someone else and be healed also. We preachers have to stop playing the church game so much even if we get fired or walk away or lose friends. We can find true community, it is something we know is real. I appreciate this article

    Reply
  143. David
    February 2, 2017

    It is nice that we can write about this, talk about this and kick the reasons around. He had no life outside the church, no privacy and there is no reason he should be afforded any dignity or privacy at this moment in his life. The church was happy to use his gifts and graces for the building of the kingdom and now we can use his brokenness in other ways in our lives.

    Reply
  144. Richard T. Bosshardt
    February 2, 2017

    Sounds like he needs to look up Care For Pastors, a ministry for pastors in exactly his situation. It was founded and is headed by Ron Cook, a Southern Baptist Pastor, and his wife, Rodetta. They are based in Clermont, FL and from what little I know this is exactly the type of thing they are there for.

    Reply
  145. February 2, 2017

    The WhyCollective addresses many of these things. It offers consulting for church leadership as well as groups that pastors can join to have a safe and supportive community. Check out their website and podcasts!

    Reply
  146. Lisa
    February 2, 2017

    So very sorry to hear of this. My prayers for this Pastor and the church. Pastors live a very “observed” position. When they falter, they are considered hypocrites by those outside the church (and some in the church), but honestly they are human, and tempted, and get worn down & tired, and they are in desperate need of our prayers. I do realize just how blessed I am by our Pastor and church leadership. It can’t be easy preaching the Truth when you know it may hurt or offend others. Our pastor holds us members accountable as Church “Owners”. As an Owner, we have a responsibility to our church to serve in some capacity which makes the work much easier when distributed among many and eases the daily/weekly burden for Pastor and staff. This year we were given a book “I Am a Church Member” by Thom Rainer. I’m still working through it, but it hits on these very issues: To be unifying, not to let it be about my preferences & desires, to pray for our church leaders and their families, to lead my family to be healthy church members, to be a functioning member, and to treasure my membership as a gift. Again we as the church “own” it. It’s not about a building or just gathering together, it’s about living it daily, putting self last, taking responsibility, sharing the work, serving others in the church and our community and sharing Jesus daily with those we come in contact with. That’s what Jesus did, and what He expects us to do also.

    Reply
  147. Misty Walker
    February 3, 2017

    I don’t want to wish my life away, so, for now, I will just continue to pray for our ministers. We’re only in our 40s but when we got married 20 years ago my husband told me his unusual retirement plan. I said okay, becauseI could live with it, but now I can’t wait for it. When we retire, we plan to move to the mountains and buy a large tract of land and build our retirement log cabin. We also plan to scatter 3-5 one bedroom log cabins around the property, complete with a fully stocked kitchen. The cabins are only for pastors like this – they’re for pastors that get worn down and weary. We will not charge for these cabins. Hopefully the pastor can just read, rest, and hike and fish and rejuvenate during his free (literally) stay. There are people God has called specifically to minister to stressed out pastors.

    Reply
  148. Misty Walker
    February 3, 2017

    I don’t want to wish my life away, so, for now, I will just continue to pray for our ministers. We’re only in our 40s but when we got married 20 years ago my husband told me his unusual retirement plan. I said okay, becauseI could live with it, but now I can’t wait for it. When we retire, we plan to move to the mountains and buy a large tract of land and build our retirement log cabin. We also plan to scatter 3-5 one bedroom log cabins around the property, complete with a fully stocked kitchen. The cabins are only for pastors like this – they’re for pastors that get worn down and weary. We will not charge for these cabins. Hopefully the pastor can just read, rest, and hike and fish and rejuvenate during his free (literally) stay. There are people God has called specifically to minister to stressed out pastors.

    Reply
  149. Dale
    February 3, 2017

    This particular situation you point to had much to do with pride and removing accountability in his life.
    many of us watched, voiced concerns to the revolving door of hip and sometimes ineffective leaders.
    He left a trail of destruction, in his family and his church, mostly young seekers.

    He has walked away from all accountability and community he held close, and traded it for temporary pleasure.

    It’s been incredibly sad to watch.
    He accepted the pedestal people pushed him up on and started believing it.
    He created this in so many ways and those who know him are still shaking their head at this horrible ending and his lack of integrity.

    Reply
    • Pete Baker
      February 6, 2017

      Yep!

      Reply
  150. Annette
    February 3, 2017

    I am a pastor’s wife, and your post has been so encouraging to me. My husband has gone through a great deal over the years as a pastor. In a recent season of spiritual dryness, he discovered “praying the hours” through a book by Scot McKnight. He now uses a lot of resources to do this on a daily basis; he likes the Celtic Book of Prayer, the Divine Hours, the Common Book of Prayer, and others. He also listens to podcasts by other pastors and ministry leaders and meets weekly with another group of pastors. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Pete Scazarro is a book our whole church went through a couple of years ago, and it’s excellent. He also attended a retreat for ministry leaders at The Transforming Center, where they learned that the greatest resource they bring to their ministries is their own “transformed selves.” These have all been nourishing practices that help keep him from burnout, and I hope that these are an encouragement to another pastor out there who may be struggling!

    Reply
  151. Akase Akpenpuun
    February 3, 2017

    Am a missionary in Ghana(west Africa) for over 21 years now. Your write up is touchy to me. Missionaries undergo quite some devastating loneliness, usually being reaped majorly by our kids and wives. Mails and phone calls too get little attention (I mean para church mission agencies). Labouring honestly hard, but suffering such loneliness; could you pls help me? Thank you.

    Reply
  152. February 3, 2017

    Well said Rob this is an issue that must be addressed if our Pastors and churches want to remain healthy for the long haul!!

    Reply
  153. February 3, 2017

    Thanks for your insightful post. As a pastor myself for nearly 28 years I have seen a great deal of the emotional, spiritual and physical toll that ministry can take on men and women of God.

    I think a great deal of this modern burn out and struggle is indicative of the unraveling of western civilization as a whole. I don’t think the average person has any idea of the amount of change that this world has experienced in the past few hundred years.

    Apart from this, I also contribute a great deal of this to the business model approach to ministry that has become the model for the modern church. While we certainly want to be people of excellence, this has driven far too many pastors to lead their churches into an area that becomes unsustainable.

    Perhaps it’s time to stop asking the culture what church should be and seek the Lord as to how He wants us to build His church. I don’t say this in a spirit of judgment, but as one who humbly seeks to assure that the church in America and the rest of the western world does not wake up one day and not even recognize who we are. Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Donna
      March 15, 2017

      The Unsustainable Church….That will preach !

      PK ~ PW

      Reply
  154. Todd
    February 3, 2017

    I am not a pastor, but I worked in a profession that put me in contact with pastors for several years, and I can tell you, pastors are lonely, they are hurting, and they are deeply affected by what goes on in their congregations, including (and especially) those things that are directed at the pastor.
    I am not saying you have to align yourselves with a church body to be a Christian – there are other ways to fellowship and “not forsake” fellow believers, for that is what we are called to do. But, if you’re going to join a church, don’t just sign your name on a roll – roll up your sleeves. A pastor can handle “no” when it comes from someone who is saying “yes” often. Let the pastor know that you want to be a source of positivity for him. The pastor may not become your best friend, because they have learned over time to only trust so much. But they will respond well to your being a source of peace. Showing them you are on their side (and you can still disagree with someone for whom you have their back) and proving it will do more to strengthen a pastor than you could possibly know. Be a source of reconciliation rather than division (because the “church split” is like death to a pastor’s soul).
    Pastor’s fall, but if our enemies deserve our prayers, then the person we entrust to leading us, our families and our friends spiritually certainly deserve them.
    Remember they are just human beings. Do not exalt them. Rather, respect them. show compassion to them. Give warmth to them. Remove as much pressure from them as possible to “do it all”, because every pastor that cares feels this. A pastor at peace is an effective one. A pastor in discord can be a disastrous one.

    Reply
    • Donna
      March 15, 2017

      Todd, you have been very observent while you served close to pastors. Pastors are drawn to people who sow peace. And we don’t expect everyone to always say yes, but we hope they say yes some of the time. Kingdom building is not for wimps. Great insight!

      Reply
  155. February 3, 2017

    This article certainly resonates with me. I have been a pastor for 37 years. I recently resigned a church after my character and integrity were assassinated (the murder of (an important person) in a surprise attack for political or religious reasons). I’m unable to find a country or a people of my own. It was an attack by religious folk. I forgive, forgave, will continue to do so. But now I’m just hurting. I live in a body that has been prematurely aged from things like this. I can’t stop, I can’t retire. Please pray for me & my wife.

    Reply
  156. February 3, 2017

    I’m not a pastor, but I’ve been a member of two churches where pastors have had to step down. It’s never an easy thing to experience. From my point of view being a pastor is like being a therapist to a borderline personality patient. They either love or they hate you, nothing in between. When they love you , they really love you and when they “hate” they really “hate” you. What a number of therapists have decided to do is do co-therapy where there is more than one therapist is involved with the therapy of the patient. What also helps is therapists have support groups, yeah, its that tough counseling this type of patient. I say this to give what it might take to help pastors. First, it helps to have a strong leadership team of elders and deacons. Elders who can help take up some of the ministerial duties of the congregation. Strong men of God who pray with and for the pastor(s). Secondly, any pastor should have a few other pastors which they can get together with, kind of like a support group, where they can counsel one another. A group where they can come together and be able to “vent”, yeah, sometimes pastors just need to vent without judgement, and I think its best done with other pastors. I know this is probably difficult with a church plant, but I hope a new pastor would make it a point to meet other pastors in the new area. That’s my two cents worth.

    Reply
  157. February 3, 2017

    Sorry to hear about another pastor resigning. For the past 17 years Oasis Ministries has been coming alongside pastors, missionaries, leaders and spouses working through personal and ministry challenges. If you are aware, please encourage ministry leaders to reach out for help. If you are not aware, be proactive in checking in on their spiritual, emotional and relational health. Oasis provides a safe, confidential environment to share the realities of life and ministry. http://www.oasisretreatscanada.com

    Reply
  158. Steve
    February 3, 2017

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

    Not that I do this very well myself but I have always found it to be an encouragement…as is…For the joy that lay before Him, he endured the cross.

    Reply
  159. February 3, 2017

    “I don’t think church people are responsible for a pastor’s struggle.”
    Really, have you ever been in a church? (I know you have.) If they’re not, they do have the capability and resources to help a pastor deal with a struggle. It’s just hard for us (laypeople) to force the issue when we see signs of the struggle.

    Reply
  160. Cynthia Parker Thornton
    February 3, 2017

    This is what happens when you begin a mega church and lose all intimacy of a small loving family. New churches now are just urging people to come to church and not be a member. Churches are becoming cliques, like “where do you go to church”. “Oh, I go to that new church where everyone is happy and saved and don’t have to commit to anything or anyone”. In trying to make religion accessible to everyone, ministers have lost touch with all. There seems to be a small group who started the church that are the core. Then you have hundreds that just come and go. Until we start preaching about what the New Testament church was about more of this will happen. They lived and died for each other. Now we don’t know who is sitting next us.

    Reply
  161. Paula Rice
    February 4, 2017

    I Pastured a church briefly and as a prophet the Holy Spirit spoke a Word to me, His word was “you may not be able to please people But you can please Me.” I realized at that moment thats all that matters, That I give my all and make sure I work to please God so that when my time comes I will hear Good and faithful servant!

    Reply
  162. February 4, 2017

    Hi Rob,
    I really appreciate this post. I relate personally in many ways. God has been gracious and restored me to ministry. Without negating anything you said, I want all of us pastor’s to consider something. Is what we are doing what Christ REALLY wants us to do? I think it was said best by Francis Chan, “If you locked yourself in a room with only a Bible, would you come out and do things the way you do them?”
    Again, been there done that, but are we as pastor’s more obsessed with bigger crowds and brighter lights than we are going into the highways and hedges and compelling them to come in? I understand contextualization, we swim in a particular pond. Again let me refer to another smarter man than me. Are we more missional or attractional? Keeping “the show” going requires more energy and is less well spent than truly ministering to the needs of people.
    Let me be clear once again, I am not throwing stones at ANY pastor. These are questions I struggle with in myself. Another wise man in my life said,”There are three levels of ministry, Professional, devotional, and spiritual. The Devil ignores the professional, he laughes at the devotional, and he trembles at the spiritual.”
    My heart breaks for any pastor that has to step aside for any reason. I pray for their health and restoration. I encourage all my pastoral brothers to be a help to struggling pastors. I also recommend the book, “Preventing Ministry Failure”. It is a great study in setting priorities and parameters in our life.
    God bless you Rob. God bless the men on the front lines. God bless our wounded. Under God may we be a help to everyone of them.

    Reply
  163. Dave R
    February 4, 2017

    Every pastor I have associated with was what I needed at the time, not what I wanted. My quote to them always is, “this church was perfect until we let all these people in” I cannot quote chapter and verse, I do not suppose what Christ would say, I DO KNOW that Christ Left for 40 days, -at least twice?- Can’t you just see Christ saying ” Peter I love ya, but I need some ME time! ” Having experienced a church that allowed a pastor a 6 week sabbatical, it can happen still. It was like watching God working through the members, session, ( choir director & organist !) That church is vibrant today. Many churches function as God intended -to serve others- God Bless You all. As for me, I pray I listen to God today.

    Reply
  164. Al Trucano
    February 4, 2017

    I have been a Pastor now for nearly 63 years. I can count the number of Churches I have had to leave on one hand. The reason I have been able to continue is because the Churches I served ministered to me. They never expected perfection, nor did I ever offer it, except through Jesus Christ. The secret is not drawing people to me, but to the Savior. Taking plenty of rest, learning to say no and mean it. In all this, I did not seek “bigger and better,” but accepted people’s imperfections the same as they accepted mine. In all this, I have been able to continue in service, well beyond retirement, as I helped small Churches to survive. Prayer is the key here, both for the people and the people for their Pastor.

    Reply
  165. Jason
    February 4, 2017

    Rob,

    I wrote a book about my experience as a pastor… I discovered that not all of us are made for the stage and bright lights (but some of us are). The idea is simple: be who you are, nothing more and nothing less. Would you be interested in receiving a copy? The title is: NOT A Rock Star Pastor. It’s on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01BOPEVU4/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1486228781&sr=8-2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=hanselman&dpPl=1&dpID=51PlfVZz5vL&ref=plSrch

    I’d love to have a conversation with you about it.

    Kind Regards,

    Jason

    Reply
  166. February 4, 2017

    This is why my LORD said…”those who persevere to the end the same shall be saved” I will not say i have the answer…but i do believe in my heart that for many of us who said they were called into Pastoral position came in with high expectations…somewhere a long the road some forgot that this journey was meant to be a struggle every step of the way and not a glamorous event …A Pastor’s ministry is that much different from a Preacher or an evangelist ministry…FOR! One he has to be anointed with a Shepard’s heart;too many of us are called to preach but hate the travel and rather have a church for a steady flow of income…Which clearly tells me they are not being led by the HOLY SPIRIT…this situation remains me of a story i once heard of a missionary who was struggling with ministry in the jungle…he came to the LORD and asked to be released of his duties…to which our LORD told that missionary that he can go…but our LORD let him know HE CHRIST was required to stay there for the people needed to be saved…”There are many scripture passages i could use here to make a Spiritual point of the eternal consequence of breaking a divine vow…i can only pray that this will not be setting a trend for others to follow unto their own condemnation “for anyone who picks up the plow and then look back is not worthy to be called JESUS’ Disciple

    Reply
  167. Margaret Inmon
    February 4, 2017

    I will never understand how church members and boards expect ministers to live off of nothing. They don’t so why do they expect a pastor and his family to do so. They get paid for their jobs and being a pastor is a job. One remark was about pastor having a new car…guess how many miles and how much gas is used for church business, visiting sick, funerals, marriages, traveling to hospitals when some member needs them…..no car none of this takes place. If a pastor was paid a reasonable hourly rate for what he provides for church members no one could afford to have a one. Most pastors spend an excessive amount of hours working at the church because it doesn’t just consist of a sermon on
    Sunday or Wednesday nights. Think of the hours they put in on counseling alone much less all the rest of the responsibilities they have to preform in a weeks time. God provides but he expects you to get off your duff and do your part also. Pay your pastor well, treat them well, don’t try to get your personal agendas catered to and when it doesn’t go your way, take it out on the pastor. You are in church to worship God not have your personal agendas met. If some of your agendas are met count your blessing and still be really good and generous with your pastor.

    Reply
  168. Billy banks
    February 4, 2017

    The biggest problem with church members are they believe pastors don’t feel, or hurt, or have their battles but the reality is pastor carry not just the weight of their family but all the families the Shepherd. Even moses became week and tired during the battle but he had men who heald his arms up and supported him in the mist of the battle. Church love and respect and most of all honor your pastors with love and prayer. God bless this young pastor there is a time for everything and this is his time to be refreshed. God bless

    Reply
  169. Brian B
    February 4, 2017

    Classic that so many responding to Rob’s excellent article asking for concern for pastors instead chose to criticize pastors. Nice.

    Reply
  170. Name Withheld
    February 4, 2017

    I hate it when this happens, but it happens all the time. It’s happening en masse in almost all the caring professions – pastoring, education, nursing, etc. At one time a few years ago, ALL of the members of my family were either pastors or educators. Now the remaining pastors are leaving the profession (they are easing out by going from full-time on staff at large churches 10K+ to part time so they can pursue other avenues) and ALL the teachers are leaving or have left the profession. My mother stopped teaching to go into counseling. I had a stroke while teaching 7th grade in 2013. My nephew’s wife taught for one year and decided no more teaching for her. My son is just finishing his doctoral degree and this will be his last year teaching, my niece is in her second year of teaching and has decided not to return next year, so our family will have gone from 5 pastors and 5 teachers to 2 half time pastors and no teachers within the next 3 months. It is horrible. We feel disrespected, marginalized, attacked, and litigated to death. I could have lost my life when I had my stroke while teaching, and my dad nearly died from a bleeding ulcer (7 pints of blood and 9 days in ICU).

    Reply
  171. Rebecca, Marriage and Family Therapist
    February 4, 2017

    Tim Keller’s “Finding God” is so good for those in spiritual burnout, but Tim also talks about a season where every Sunday he was dry because he was physically beyond exhausted even though he had thought he just wasn’t praying enough. Also understanding personalities in your leadership, making everyone understand and own both their gifts and liabilities, where each will have shortsight (gaining the humility that comes from wisdom both to “know thyself” and know the other) is huge for long-term cohesiveness. Finally living under grace, with each person constantly being reminded that all our sinners, but the key is to rest daily/hourly in His grace as you own every deficit while being open to criticism….that type of spirit leads to both unity and compassion (I am dust and so is everyone around me) that can help prevent burnout.

    Reply
  172. Carla Clinton
    February 5, 2017

    I pray for many pastors every night. I know they’re often unerring attack by the enemy. The enemy Satan & that enemy is frequently the church.. All our pastors need our prayers for protection and guidance. God bless them.

    Reply
  173. Pete
    February 5, 2017

    I run a smallish church plant in Western Sydney… a few things…
    1. I tried being bi-vocational (working part time for church/secular work). The financial pressures were enormous and the church had no conception of their effect on our family. P.s. paying pastors properly is scriptural.
    2. We tried to have the whole church involved in the mission as we planted. Mostly, we encountered the 20/80 rule. A few keen beans + lots of people watching from the periphery. Some accused my wife and I of, “doing too much” or “not letting other help”, while not helping when we specifically asked for help.
    3. We try hard to we accountable and open. A number of people in leadership have behaved very badly and hurt my wife and I. A few Christians who should know better continue to throw tantrums from time to time.
    I took 2 months burnout leave a few years back. From time to time I still feel like quitting. It is lonely and I feel isolated. But then so did Jesus, Paul, John and every other servant of God. My feelings are not reality and our fight is not only against flesh and blood. I keep reminding myself…
    “If God wants out church to be here, He will sustain it”. 1Cor1:7, we have every spiritual gift we need. Part of being a pastor is learning the spiritual gift of “rest”.

    Reply
  174. Chris Nelson
    February 5, 2017

    This article points out the total bankruptcy of modern evangellyfishism, no Christ, no mention of any member of the Trinity, totally man centered and lacking any true power. May Christ open the eyes of the modern evangelicals and His Spirit turn them to Him according to the word of the Father.

    Reply
  175. DCS
    February 5, 2017

    Those of us who can need to pray for and be encouragers for our pastors and those in service professions. Kindness and grace go a long way. I’ve been on both ends, full of energy and enthusiasm for my job (church/care giving and education) and I’ve been beaten down and burnt out. I’m retired now and see my place as a prayer warrior and encourager. I’ve been offering myself to God to be refilled and renewed- thankfulness and kindness are helping me back. Thanks be to God

    Reply
  176. Jeff
    February 5, 2017

    As I read this, I would have to say that the challenges of his position are of a personal nature. E.M. Bounds stated: The preacher is not a professional man; his ministry is not a profession; it is a devine institution, a devine devotion.”
    As a Pastor searching to be called as a Senior Pastor one day, I believe that GOD will prepare you, but man has a way of wearing you down. It is important to remember that these called, anointed ones are to be held up in prayer and loved.

    Reply
  177. M Vance
    February 5, 2017

    On the *heels* rather than *heals*.

    Reply
  178. A Miller
    February 5, 2017

    I was married to a youth pastor for 23 years. We had a crisis in our marriage and instead of the church loving us through this, as they do people in the congregation, they let us go. We ended up losing everything – our home and our marriage. This happened over 2 years ago and I still struggle with going to church. I felt betrayed by the church, the very organization that claims to love the sinner but not the sin, turned their backs on us at our point of deepest need. Being in ministry was already a very lonely experience, the loneliest thing I have ever experienced in my life, but then to be cast out because we turned out to be humans who struggle just like everyone else? Everything I believed in was put in to question, and those 23 years of serving God in the church were torn apart in mere minutes. I still do not understand how the church, how Christians, could be so vicious to one of their own. Still trying to recover from this.

    Reply
  179. Lisa
    February 6, 2017

    As a pastor’s daughter (now an adult with my own family) I understand the high level of misunderstanding people have with regards to their pastor/pastor’s family. Ministers are just people trying to follow God and do HIS will. They still have to be husbands/wives. They still (mostly) are parents. They are still children who have parents they have to take care of. On top of this, they have criticisms for every little thing they do. Didn’t like sermon? Complain. Don’t like color of carpet? Complain. Don’t like the special song someone sang? Complain. That’s just the congregation. Then you get the phone calls & the drop by people who are constantly looking for handouts. You get constantly bombarded. On top of that, who do you think wants a pastor to fail? Satan. He will attack as often as possible. That’s why people need to be diligent in their prayer and devotional lives. Please remember to pray for your pastor and your pastor’s family. They are not perfect and need help as much as you and I!!!

    Reply
  180. Chad
    February 6, 2017

    As a former pastor I think there are other forces at work too (probably mentioned in the amount of responses you’ve already received): 1) The pressure to grow, be relevant, etc. Pastors are definitely called to reach the lost, that’s clear in scripture. However, I think Eugene Peterson is wise and hit the nail on the head when he said he didn’t want a church bigger than 300 people (I believe that number is correct). In his memoir he spoke about the need to be a Shepherd and even at that number, it’s a duty too big for one person. Being a spiritual leader for that many people is a weighty job. I think real pastors – not just people with spiritual gift of leadership – but the real spiritually gifted pastor, is often lead into temptation (and even astray?) by others with a gift of leadership who push too hard and aim at the wrong target. 2) I think we are seeing a failure at the seminary level to prepare pastors for the emotional weight of their job. Seminaries do a good job teach Greek/Hebrew, sermon prep, Bible study, etc. but a terrible job on dealing with their congregation. That’s left for counselors, but at the end of the day, a pastor needs to be both. AND that’s another reason why congregation size should be limited.

    I too, wanted to be a pastor for life, until I couldn’t find a job. Last year I underwent amazing personal counseling and I’ve realized how unhealthy I was, and how unhealthy the church culture is for pastors. Time for an overhaul in the church. May the Holy Spirit lead boldly with the church leaders in America today, and may they have the courage and strength to follow suit.

    Reply
  181. Preston Venzant
    February 6, 2017

    I judge a matter. How I judge a matter is to try and use scripture as my guide. There are many times throughout scripture that speaks of a person’s low point. Wishing to die, wishing not to be born, cursing the day they were born, asking for people to kill them, hanging themselves are all examples in the Bible of the stress and death of God’s called and anointed.

    When things become so terrible that a final end comes it is with great sorrow that men cut their own throats. It is the leader who is called and remembers to call on the name of the Lord that succeeds. It is to the benefit of the people when a man resigns his calling so as to not destroy the flock.

    May God bless him to learn to stand. And may he call on the name of the Lord as all men should.

    Reply
  182. Pete Baker
    February 6, 2017

    I have another take, especially now that more of the truth has come out. Why do we focus so much on these pastors and not on the wake of destruction they leave behind, especially in their marriages and families? Congregations can get over it, hire someone else, and move on. Congregants can, especially in Nashville, find another worship home if they want to. Wives? If they are believed at all, are rarely supported. I have yet to see a slew of retreats for abused pastors wives, people calling for their support. Remember – when a pastor falls into adultery, he leaves his wife and children income-less, homeless, and often jobless (since they have to move or the wife was employed by the same church and has to go, too). This destruction is immense, deep, and long-lasting. I’d love to hear the church reach out to solve and help this victims more.

    Reply
  183. Beth Van Wieren
    February 6, 2017

    The church is built on the foundation of the APOSTLES and PROPHETS. Pastors were never intended to lead congregations and be the MAIN influence in the assembly. Holy Spirit is main w/Jesus and Worship and WORD. FIVE FOLD MINISTRY. How can we be so backward? Who is the Prophet in your life? The Apostle? How about the Prophets and Apostles running the church and giving the poor Pastor some time out? Anyone can get up and preach a sermon by now!

    Reply
  184. February 7, 2017

    Most pastors i know are basically CEOs of the Non/profit business model. All the meetings and plans for services and sermons and budgets and general operations become the main work every week. As a worship pastor/worship leader. I have seen this first hand serving people and being served as a human being in the church is not the focal point of how most churches operate. We are so intent on functioning operations of the non profit business model that we forget that we are supposed to be a family. Paul calls the church the body of Christ. Just as our human body has organs and nutritional needs or organic human needs the church body has a liver,heart,feet, ears, needs food water, rest etc. When was the last time the church acted like a physical body and less like a business. Though business factors are needed. What would happen if a husband and wife ran their family only for the weekends and their household only saw each other once a week? This is why I love the churches of China, Africa, and the middle east, and when Europe was communist. House churches kept the Billboards, Titles, Nonprofit, Money, Demographics, TV programs, Multiple campuses out of the equation. In the new testament churches were small groups 10-20 people max majoring on relationship, confessing sins, serving, meeting needs, providing food and financial giving/assistance(There was no tithing by the way) Only gifts layed at the Apostles feet. Remember Ananias & Saphira? Peter said “Was it not in your choice what to give” Paul Said every man as he purposes in His heart so let Him give(No tithe or 10th mentioned) Anyway all that to so say its all doomed to fail from the get go. I have watched so many churches go from small group/store front to Mega Campus/multiple campus operations. When in the name of God will we start being organic friendship/family based communities that function more like a potluck and a family reunion and less like a Nonprofit/forprofit machine!!!!

    Reply
  185. Jon
    February 7, 2017

    Hey Rob,
    Interesting article. I’m not at all surprised there are insulting comments and holier-than-thou comments posted on here. Very very typical. The “Church” is truly messed up. I can totally understand Pete Wilson’s decision. That said, I don’t know that I entirely agree with your comment that “it’s not a church member’s fault if a pastor struggles.” How many church members really CARE for their pastor? I mean: pray for their pastor, invite him out for lunch, get him a gift for Pastor Appreciation Month, chit chat about the Super Bowl, really take an interest in getting to know the man (or woman). It means investing time. And it also means getting over that natural intimidation that this is a man/woman of the pulpit. It’s a natural tendency to set a pastor up on a pedestal. It’s also unfair. But it’s also an excuse people use to not have to get involved. “He’s a pastor, he’s got a close connection to God, he doesn’t need me.” Anyway… I wish you the best, Rob, in and out of church. Blessings to your family.

    Oh, and what a great title for a book! “Even if you were perfect, someone would crucify you” 🙂

    Reply
    • February 13, 2017

      Jon, thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate the compliment on the book title!!! I think you are on to something. I think we are saying close to the same thing but a different way. At the end of the day I don’t think pastors should blame church members for their struggles. At the end of the day I am responsible for myself. I may get hurt by a church member, but I can’t blame them for the unhealthy eating that I do when I’m stressed, hurt etc.

      Thanks again for your comment!

      Reply
  186. David
    February 7, 2017

    I have served in ministry as a senior pastor and as a youth pastor. I have seen issues on both sides of this issue. Church Boards can be awesome, but they can also be a den of devils. Same with congregations. I’ve seen pastors abuse their authority, and I’ve seen pastors beat down by people. I was called everything but a human being, in a church service, loud enough for EVERYONE to hear. I’ve now left the ministry. I couldn’t put my wife and kids through it anymore. I’ve been out of it now for over 12 years. In that time I got mad at God, tore up my credentials while we were living in a hotel (we came within about two weeks of being homeless), and all but vowed to NEVER be involved in ministry again. Over the past few years, God has done a work in my heart. I’m in a great career, and have a great opportunity to affect young people every day. But my heart has changed and I don’t know what God is doing, but He’s becoming more real to me everyday. The damage caused by our struggle, some my fault and some not my fault, has been long lasting. In Luke 18, Jesus describes two men going to the temple to pray, a Pharisee and a tax collector – the most hated people in the ancient world under Rome’s rule. I can fully identify with the tax collector. He was happy to be in the building, and was so humbled by his own sin and struggle that he couldn’t even look up. In Joel 2 God said told the people to turn to Him and keep on coming…the result was restoration. I’m going through some of that now. I’m turning to Him and continuing to do so, and I believe with all of my heart He is restoring! My marriage has improved, my relationship with my kids has improved…I know God is moving in my family. I may return to ministry someday, but I have no clue what capacity that may be in. I actually spent time in Kenya twice while I was in full-time ministry, and have reconnected with the ministry I worked with there just in the past year. I was going through a devotional recently called “How to Neighbor” on my Bible App. I read this quote – Restoration is not possible without relationship. Relationship takes work! Consider God’s promise in Joel 2 – Restoration is the result of our relationship to him – and doing that together! I am nobody. I do not have a ministry anymore, but I do want to say this – If you’re a pastor, and you’re hurting, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are some wonderful people who will love you in spite of you! Start with your relationship with God – That’s where I went wrong! I got mad at Him! You CAN experience restoration in your life and ministry! God bless.

    Reply
    • Becky
      February 9, 2017

      Thank you for sharing. I would guess, though, that you DO still have a ministry – just not the same as it once was. I worked as an administrative assistant in a church that I was part of from the beginning. After the first pastor left (after 19 years in ministry), we got a new one who didn’t want me serving on staff. I, too, have experienced much of what you are describing. My entire life changed in an instant as the church had been my life – all of my relationships, activity and energy went into it. It is devastating. BUT God….He never changes and continues to walk with us on the journey of recovery and restoration. Even though you were mad at God, it’s part of the process…and the main thing is that you didn’t STAY THERE!! Blessings to you and your family! 🙂

      Reply
      • David
        February 10, 2017

        Thank you. I’m stuck on this restoration thing. I’ve been reconnecting with people I had lost contact with over the years. I was so mad I got rid of EVERYTHING. My books, files, notes, prayer journals, contact lists, EVERYTHING. It’s miraculous that I’ve reconnected with people over the past year and a half. I have a great career right now but I know I’m my heart I’m being drawn back to ministry in some fashion. I have a heart to build men, to encourage families. Trials come to us all but in the end God is faithful! Thank you so much. Although I do not know you your words spoke to my heart. You be encouraged!

        Reply
  187. Timothy
    February 7, 2017

    I think that the problem may be that God never intended ‘a’ pastor to take the place of Christ. When a man steps into a role as shepherd over a group of people, it is a lot to put on himself. This never happened in the first century church since Christ was to be the head of the church. However, through the years of ‘progress’ seminaries and colleges were contructed and the once assembly of beleivers became insitutionalized like a government or corporate entity. Consequently, we have the pastor over an assembly that was never intended to happen in the first place, so much unnecessary stress is created that should not existed in the first place.

    Reply
  188. K
    February 7, 2017

    I think transparency in the church is much needed. Our church’s pastor does not pretend he isn’t susceptible to sin, temptations etc. And we shouldn’t pretend that pastor’s don’t face the same struggles as everyone else, they are human. Our pastor tells us how he avoids temptation and how he has gotten through times where he was discouraged. Yes, a pastor should be disciplined and devoted to God in a way that he leans on God through all struggles & temptations and doesn’t give into the world, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the struggle at all. He reminds us how important it is to have daily prayer, devotion, time spent with God to remain in relationship with God and lead a godly life- not just for us but for him too.. To me that is a way better example than someone who pretends they are perfect and never struggle.

    Reply
  189. February 8, 2017

    Great assessment of reality, to the level of truth, it is important that pastors begin to find the true connections God intended. Paul was spiritually fathering Timothy and Titus, Jesus did the same to his 12 Discliples. Moses mentored Joshua. Elijah led Elisha etc. These relationships help to preserve the life and vitality of a pastor so he can remain fervent in the Kingdom.

    Thanks

    Abraham

    Reply
  190. February 8, 2017

    I”d like to speak in churches to HELP Pastors with the problem of hurting people in church, who are hurting so much, they need special attention and help. This would be the abused or raised in dysfunctional homes. They seriously do need special treatment, and if people were trained and assigned to help those with these problems, it would lighten the pastor’s load. My compelling testimonies will help you see that Pastors, you need to distribute the work load. I’ts not a giant day care with you as the only parent! (amen)

    So contact me if you want help. sisterzeal@yahoo.com
    And no I”m not selling anything 🙂

    Reply
  191. G. Joyce Stark
    February 8, 2017

    I have a very sincere question. And God knows, I am NOT being heartless or factious, I want to know if we’re missing something. The pastors and apostles of the first church in the Book of Acts and beyond went through some of the worst hell one can image for their faith and leadership, many put to death, yet those we read about, never caved or wearied in well doing. Now my genuine loving question is what’s the difference in their perseverance then and the pastors, leaders now? Is there something different going on that we’re missing?

    Reply
    • Ricky Aldridge
      February 9, 2017

      I am going to be just as sincere and just as sweet . I am afraid that many of the pastors/leaders today are part of a culture , and not really part of God’s Church. Everything that labels itself as Christian is not, and many of these individuals never had a true relationship(according to the Word) and time just brought things to the surface for all to see. Now that does not deal with all… We can go to the scriptures to help us understand that… The LOVE OF MANY SHALL WAX COLD…. and “There is a shaking time coming that will reveal what is true and what is not”….. The last part is the lack of commitment of so many shallow Christians in this age….. Without the total laying down of self, dying out, and picking up the cross….You can not know the Joy the Apostles knew in walking that last mile.

      Reply
  192. Debbie Burgett
    February 8, 2017

    We have attended a few churches where the same pastor has been there for between 20 and 30 years. That’s phenomenal compared to the average ( I think it’s something ridiculous like 2 years) that a pastor stays at a church now-a-days. It would be so amazing to interview pastors around the country (and their congregations) who have been at a church for 20 years or longer and find out WHY and HOW those relationships have worked, since, as we know, no one is perfect. Why have they been able to stay that long? I think it might be very eye-opening and interesting what we could learn.

    Reply
  193. Debbie Burgett
    February 8, 2017

    We have been at several churches where the pastor has been there between 20 and 30 years. That is phenomenal given the average a pastor stays at a church now-a-days. I believe it’s something ridiculous like two years. I think it would be amazing for someone to interview pastors around the country (and their congregations) who have been at their church for 20 years or longer and find out how and why those relationships work. I think it could be truly eye-opening.

    Reply
  194. Ricky Aldridge
    February 9, 2017

    Fellow Pastor here
    I send my prayers. I have been a Pastor for 30 years. In my estimation we are in the last days spoken of in the Word. The pressure each Man of God is feeling is very intense as we are being put through the wringer. The spirit of the antichrist is alive and well. Also the trying spirit of God is shaking…to see who is real and who is not. I encourage, …No i beseech my Brothers in Christ to stay on their knees before God and ENDURE..Looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith…and allow Him to FINISH THE WORK OF THE CHURCH THROUGH YOU AND BY YOU. YOU ARE HIS, AND LIKE CALEB AND JOSHUA, YOU ARE WELL ABLE TO TAKE THAT THAT HAS BEEN PROMISED TO US…. God Bless

    Reply
  195. Jimmy Tan
    February 14, 2017

    What every pastor needs is a fellow pastor(s) or elder to walk with. Blessed to have several friendships like this since I went full time. We need to be secure enough to be vulnerable. We cannot be competitive and isolated in the Body.

    Reply
  196. Chris Dee
    February 18, 2017

    People can be so mean to Pastors. For some reason a number of critical people feel safe being rude and ignorant to Pastors and their wives seemingly because they can’t retort or say anything rude back, they just have to take it. A Pastor’s wife who is a friend of mine told me that a woman came up to her and said, “I hope you’re going to do something with that mop” (meaning her hair). Those same people expect the Pastor to drop his dinner fork and fly out to the hospital or funeral home without so much as a thankyou or a few dollars for gas.

    Reply
  197. Brian
    March 9, 2017

    This happens to quite a few pastors. Youth pastors on the avg. stay in a church only 18 months to 2 years. This is sad! All because people don’t really become the hands and feet of Jesus. Therefore they are. It real with the pastors. I hate the sin of people destroying pastor’s because they are human and sometimes need help. Also no one is willing to help them because they think pastors shouldn’t need help. Just because someone is called by God doesn’t mean they are indestructible. I wish and pray people would learn to be real! – “Youth Pastor Betrayed”

    Reply
  198. Chas P.
    March 10, 2017

    As a former Youth Pastor, I can truly speak to this. The problem, at least in my case, was that “The Job” kept me so busy that my prayer life, daily devotions and Bible Study were often ignored or were, at best, an after-thought.
    I flourished when I was on my knees and I struggled when I forgot to spend time there. In retrospect it was obvious that the enemy was “distracting” me. I fell for it and eventually suffered from burn-out. I blamed God at the time but the reality was that it was my own fault.
    Fortunately we serve a God who loves us and who gives us second chances…..

    Isaiah 30:18-21 – “Therefore the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you,
    And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice;
    Blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them].
    O people in Zion, inhabitant in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. He will most certainly be gracious to you at the sound of your cry for help; when He hears it, He will answer you. Though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of oppression, yet your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will [constantly] see your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left”.

    Reply
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