In a time when churches are shutting down (4,000 in US last year) and pastors are leaving ministry (1,700 every month last year) we need to rethink this thing we call ministry.
“Last year 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause,” Pastoral Care Inc. We find that many denominations cannot find the pastors they need, to fill pulpits of churches. According to Pastoral Care Inc. the number one reason pastors leave the ministry is because the church is not willing to go in the same direction and goal as the pastor.
As a minister and wife of a pastor for twenty-two years I understand these statistics; but something has got to be done to help turn this around.
When ministers first enter ministry they are all excited, they are passionate about the calling God has placed in their heart, and even stick it out for a few years, before they get totally discouraged. It is now said that 50% of all ministers will not last five years in ministry. (That use to be the number youth pastors would move from one ministry to the next.) We also can say that one out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister in one form or another. That number is astonishing.
These next numbers made me totally break down crying when I was reading them to my husband…”80% of pastors believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor’s children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents,” and “33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family,” Pastoral Care Inc. Over the past three years we have had the privilege of sitting under a ministry in Virginia Beach that totally changes this statistic. (If you want more info you can contact me personally at the number or email address below.)
As I look at those statistics, I do realize we are becoming more aware of this, due to the teaching of leaving a legacy and passing leadership on to the generations; but how well are we doing this? I believe that, too often, we mean well and have good intentions, but miss out because we are not willing to do what it takes to move us forward.
God is moving and doing some awesome things in churches that are willing to change their outlook of how they see the pastor and his family. As I did an in depth study on the Book of Acts, studying the early church and how they developed, I took a serious look at how we have developed church. Are we following the example of Peter and Paul? Have we taken what they have shown us and developed the way we think it should look; or are we truly laying aside our desires and really seeking God’s direction?
You see, the early church heard what the apostles were saying and followed their lead. Church, are we looking at our pastor and truly listening to what he/she is saying; and doing and living the way they admonish us? Pastors, are we unreservedly seeking God’s wisdom, not our own, and developing the church of Christ the way He wants? We all need to work together, developing a mighty force that satan cannot reckon with. The only way to do this is by trusting our pastors to lead us, and allowing them the freedom to take us where God desires. If we, as a church, can do this, there is no stopping what God can do.
Pastors are sent to us by God to help us, not hurt us. Instead of being on the low end of respect (statistics show pastors to be near the bottom of most-respected professions, just above car salesman according to Pastoral Care Inc.) we need to respect them, just as we would Moses, David, Deborah, Peter, or Paul. No wonder we are in trouble. Pastors have the total health of the church in mind. They do not want to hurt congregations. Why is it that we have such a hard time truly trusting our leader?
I understand there have been those ministers who have taken advantage of congregations, but they are they the exception, not the norm.
I do not know who might be reading this, but I would like to challenge us to look at our heart. What do we think of our pastor and his/her family? Do we honor them? Do we make it easy for them to lead us, or do we make it hard? Your pastor is there because he/she felt a call of God to lead you, now can you trust them to do it and give them your total support?
Jesus came to give us a “more and better life than we ever dreamed,” Jn 10:10 The Msg. Our pastor is there to help us live out that life. Allow them the freedom to motivate and develop you into spiritual powerhouses transforming the world in which we live.
I pray that something I have written will encourage, motivate, and challenge us in how we do life and ministry. For more information on ways we are helping the pastor and family you can contact me at 757-343-7783 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The statistics in this article are taken from www.pastoralcareinc.com.