10 Real Reasons Pastors Quit Too Soon

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More than 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month. To prevent the continued flight of our pastors, we need to understand the cause of the problem.

More than 1,700 pastors leave the ministry every month.

This staggering number includes some of the brightest, most inspiring pastors in the country. To prevent the continued flight of our pastors, we need to understand the cause of the problem. Though every situation is unique, the reasons pastors leave are often similar.

Here are 10 common reasons pastors quit too soon.

1. Discouragement.

Complaints speak louder than compliments. You can receive 15 compliments and one complaint, and the complaint will stick.

When you hear criticism and look out to see empty pews, it can be difficult to recognize the positive impact you’re making. The key is to remember: No matter how much negative you hear, you’re always doing 10 times more good.

2. Failure.

Many pastors have difficulty recognizing success. They compare themselves to other pastors and other ministries. Comparisons produce only two outcomes:

(1) You think you’re better, which results in excessive pride,

or (2) you feel like you don’t measure up, which creates a sense of failure.

The key is not to compare, but to celebrate your successes.

3. Loneliness.

With so many people looking to pastors for guidance, it can be difficult for pastors to let their guards down. They don’t want to come across as less than perfect. They feel they can’t be transparent and vulnerable. That creates a sense of isolation.

It’s important for pastors to find people they can open up and share their struggles with, instead of absorbing and isolating.

Tim Peters Tim is creator of Sayge and a ten year church communications veteran. Sayge is an intentional, all-in-one, church marketing and communications monthly training resource that is designed to help Church Leaders master the basics of church marketing and communications.

More from Tim Peters or visit Tim at http://timpeters.org/

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  • Sons life

    Quite a good observation and some practical solutions. Pastors are human too. God help us all. F

  • David Bolton

    Thanks for this post. Reading this list makes you wonder how any survive. The real problem, as I see it, is that we have inherited a system that is actually unbiblical in nature which places a whole slew of demands and expectations on a single person that God never intended. The result is exactly what you have laid out here. Instead of continually trying to remedy the fruit of the problem, maybe its time we took a really good hard look at the root of the problem.

    As I read the Scripture, I see the church as a fully functioning body, with every member doing “the work of the ministry” , and with a plurality of leaders, each with differing gifts, functioning together to “equip the saints” and oversee the flock (Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Pet. 5:1-3). No one man stands out as being the “omni-competent” one with all the weight and responsibility on his shoulders. That model is from the second-century on, with the unbiblical rise of the monepiscopate. Tragically it has shaped the course of the Church ever since, and its disastrous fruit is evident for anyone to see.

    The Reformation restored the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, but not the true practice of it. It also merely gave the bishop/priest role a makeover, and made him the pastor/preacher. The principle behind the system never changed though. Traditions die hard, but at what price are we willing to continue propagating them? 1700 pastors a month leaving their positions is a serious wake-up call. It seems like the system is killing our best men (and women). It is time the Reformation finish the work it began, and the Church return to its first century foundations and resultant forms. Then we can go forward from there to the full expression of the Kingdom that God desires in these last days.

    It is time we go to the root!

    • Andy Z

      My sentiments exactly! Can you suggest good reading material on this subject?

      • David Bolton

        There are many good church history books that trace the development of the monepiscopate from the second century on, and also the transition from bishop/priest to pastor/preacher during the Reformation which are helpful to give the overall history.

        Here area few books I have found especially helpful that focus specifically on some of the things I’ve mentioned:

        “The Torch of the Testimony” by John W. Kennedy – A very readable history that especially follows those groups which stood outside of the institutional, hierarchical system in order to hold fast to the New Testament pattern and expression of the church.

        “The Reformers and Their Stepchildren” by Leonard Verduin – A thoroughly researched and eye-opening book concerning the primary reformers and their rejection of the “left-wing” of the Reformation in defense of the magisterial form of Christendom handed down to them from Catholicism.

        “Pagan Christianity?” by Frank Viola and George Barna – A heavily footnoted work tracing the origins of our modern day Protestant church practices to their sources which often came out of the pagan culture that the Church developed in. I know of no other source that so thoroughly gives this history.

        These are very informative and thought-provoking books that are well worth the read in my opinion.

        God bless you.

    • Mounkayla

      Bingo!! That is exactly right! I am an associate in charge of children, youth and young adult/couples ministries and I am fried! Visitation, planning, managing over 40 volunteers, preaching, teaching, research, meetings, and the list goes on. I am a father with 2 small boys and a wife who is expected to show up to almost every function I lead. Nuts and crazy I say! I am looking elsewhere because I don’t believe this is how we are to minister…

    • http://www.facebook.com/rob.adada Rob Adada

      Brothers and sisters in the faith and fellow servants of our Lord I certainly don’t have any place, as it were, commenting on any of the struggles that pastor’s and their families go through. I am simply a believer who cares about the needs of people and their concerns. In a sense the priesthood of all believers I would simply extend a hand of friendship, compassion, and concern for your challenges. I’ll pray for your needs and perhaps offer council to some. Keep the faith brothers and sisters… keep on keeping on. God is still on the throne and he remembers his own. There truly are people who appreciate your sacrifice and service. Many rich blessings to you and yours. (Please the only purpose for this post is to attempt to offer support and encouragement) In His matchless name… Rob

    • Mar Komus

      I echo that bingo. I take it a little further in that I reject joining or forming any church body into a non-profit corporation. I don’t believe the church (in whole or in part) ought ever own land, buildings, etc. That’s just not how the church was formed and there are inherent power structures that almost no minister can resist indulging. I’m not blaming them wholesale, of course–I’ve met VERY few pastors who navigate those waters with skill and a keen eye to the dangers. I hope to see more “churches” die so that His true Bride will be known. My prayer is that the pastors who leave “the ministry” will see their call to non-organizational ministry. Some He called to leave their nets. Others He called to take their leather working tools with them.

  • http://www.mfcministries.net/ministries/wowitness.shtm Rena Perozich

    Amen great truth we need prayer and armorbearers

  • http://www.facebook.com/cjbea Christopher J. Bea

    God shower you. This is a blessing article for ministers

  • MyoungSr

    I agree with David Bolton. The ‘system of church’ that has developed is simply not the biblical design. The devil ‘drives’ people to results, but the Spirit of God LEADS. The competitive and ‘purpose DRIVEN’ church or Christian is headed to trouble. Those LED by the Spirit of God will find rest as Matthew 11:28 says “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

    Think even about the common sense of it all: (our church for ex) 250 people with a $3.5 million debt, $60,000 per month expense! Pastor & staff salary of $300,000 per year. 80% of the budget goes to an building and staff, and the building is largely unused 80% of the week and then is UNDERused.

    HE (Jesus) told us to get ready and stay ready for His return by BEING witnesses of Him, Loving one another, and teaching, healing, baptising, making disciples. (Not building buildings, playing basketball in them, rocking to the beat or anything of those other things)

    • Trevor

      The system only continues the way it is if the leaders don’t change it. Leaders must lead. Yes it will hurt like hell, but the result will be much better.

  • David Buffaloe

    great article. Very insightful, too. Most pastors plow fields previously damaged by poor stewards, and along with their current ministry inherit bo-weevils that plagued the church for years. It is discouraging, and unbiblical, but we must keep on loving and preaching. God didn’t promise us reward now, but in eternity.

  • Pastor Wole Oyekanmi

    The bottom line is to see the work of the ministry as absolutely God’s , we can’t do anything on our own but can do all things through Christ our strength.

  • http://bit.ly/hWr7Cw Rob T

    Good post. thanks.

  • Mike Stafford

    The main reason I left being a full time pastor was that I just got tired of the constant attacks from members and leaders in the churches I pastored. After years of the same type things in different churches God gave me the freedom to quit. The week before I resigned these things happened: 1. A new family to the community how had been visiting the church and whom I had visited and expected to join were aproached between Sunday School and church by a deacon who introduced himself as a deacon, then proceeded to tell them they were not wanted and should go join another church. 2. A young man whom I had led to a personal relationship with Jesus and made public his decision Sunday morning was confronted by 2 deacons at different times Monday morning . They both told him that his family had always been members of another denomination and he needed to go back because he should not be a Baptist. 3. Tuesday a church leader came by to talk to me about my ministry. After an hour of listening to him I said, “This is what I am hearing you say, that I should check with you and a few others about who I visit, who I invite, who I share Jesus with, and what I preach. I that what you are saying.” He said, “That is correct.” 4. Wednesday evening we had Deacons Meeting. I brought all three of these items before the deacon body and asked if this was basically their and the church’s way they wanted things done and wanted to act. The deacons looked around at each other, then looked back at me and said, “Yes”. This was after several years of struggling with this attitude at that particular church. The church had seen more decisions than it had in years and was financially very sound (even though it was not paying me above the poverty level). I told them that if they would give me a 2 month severance package I would resign the next Sunday. They agreed. I did. They still have not given me the severance package and that was years ago.
    On the bright side, I have had more freedom to minister, share Jesus, and disciple people since resigning than I ever did while having to fight church attacks when in the pastorate.

    • Mladen

      Oh brother, I only hope this is a very very very extreme story and that there aren’t any deacons like that anywhere else

      • Norman Prather

        Nope, not extreme.

      • Dan

        Oh, my deacons are like this all over. Many believe that they are the boss to the Pastor and are to run the church. Where in the world did they get this very un-Biblical belief. Sorry, Brother this is shameful and many of us have gone through this but not all churches are like this. I pray that our churches will get back to being what they are meant to be.

        • Trevor

          Are you confronting your deacons in love. Teaching them what their role is, and what their character must be, and telling some to stand down until they qualify?

        • $12241688

          It’s called the “Big Fish In A Little Pond” syndrome. Often whipped at home and ignored at work they find a place within a church where they can finally be “the big man”. But what they really are is a thorn in the flesh.

      • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

        not even close to being an extreme example; all too common. Blessings and grace to those leaders who love their co-shepherd

    • Carlu

      I am sorry to hear what you went through; it is very similar to my first experience in ministry. While reading through your post I felt your pain. Be encouraged that while we will always disappoint each other, Father God never will. He is our strength. He gives us a peace and joy that none else can give or take away from us. Keep sharing Jesus and thank you for serving Him the way you did and do now. Blessings to you bro…

    • Speedberg

      Those Deacons have failed in their responsibilities! The promise of severance package was not fulfilled!!Sometime they feel that the Church belongs to them failing to realize that Its The Body of Christ and The Head is Christ. All Pastors and Workers should clearly know that The Rewards for us is NOT here but in The World to come.All Glory to Him Only!!!

    • Linda Warner

      I have seen that attitude from churches as well – being a musician. I’ve seen people who think they are the Lord of the church and the keepers of the keys. I’m sorry that you were burned by one of Satan’s churches. God really does have some churches out there. They are just hard to find.

    • phatch

      Just think. As they are atacking you they are leaving someone else alone. Also, are we better then Jesus? He was attacked, but He continued on. He is our example in how to follow, how to handle things, and what to do in the midst of a storm.
      I have been in ministry for years. Under attack non stop, but Jesus and His blood keeps me ticking. Do I get tired, yes, but I run to Him. Please read PS 91 today, and then hide in Him. Blessings to you and I shall add you to my prayer list. Remember it is not man who called you, it is Christ Jesus. In the end we will answer to what we did with our calling and gifts. I want to hear words of Well done my good and faithful servant, Enter in. With deacons at churches, fire them, put new ones in their place.

      • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

        @phatch comment: too simplistic; unrealistic

        • Hersh, or is it Harsh

          I don’t care to start a bar fight in here but….. Often the answer is easily, but either it’s very difficult to implement or we want to over complicate things for reason I’ll never understand. I’m a Production Manager. I’m paid the big bucks (ha ha) to maximize profits. When something is slowing down reaching that goal I fix it quickly. I review all possible solutions and then FIX THE PROBLEM. If I have to left someone go (Deacon) they’re gone. If I need to re-communicate something to my people (congregation) I speak.

          The list goes on… my point is this. If you are sincere at addressing issues at your local church “deal with it” if they fired you as the Pastor someone is mostly wrong, God will deal with it then.

          I have found so few are willing to do what needs to be done so it drags on and on and on.

          As a Pew-polisher I just recently spoke with our Pastor about several concern I have noticed. “One” was no Outreach. I brought it to his attention several times over the last year. Another concern was spiritual maturity in the pews. Again, after a heart to heart, me in tears with concerns, him ???? I walked out the door never to return.

          Lead, Follow, or get out of the way of those who do…..

          • Kevin

            Thanks for this perspective. It is easy for pastors to blame the church or the church to blame the pastor. It is the system that is set up wrong. There was conflict in the New Testament that was recorded. We will not always get along. There will often be mismatches between pastor and congregation. When pastors are treated as professional employees we have missed the idea of call and servanthood. There also needs to be a better perspective on how we deal with one another. The church is, after all, the Church of One Another.

          • rodney

            “walked out the door” if you walk by my church, please keep walking. Plus, put your ego need to control on the altar. If it doesn’t help you, it will help everyone else.

          • notaboutus

            My sentiments exactly rodney. Also sounds to me like the person who needed to get out of the way actually did.

          • Hersh, or is it Harsh

            Okay guys… I see you’re not happy about my “ego” problem as you’ve put it. Also, wow… I need to be awake when I post things. My spelling/word usage is horrible when half asleep. Sorry!

            To answer several other posters questions and hopefully clarify my point(s) better I’ll do a longer post. I have always supported my Pastor both in, encouragement and praise, and willingness to help in any way.

            I spoke weekly with him either at church or at his/my home. We are/were friends. He got plenty of “atta boys” but he also knows I’m not a yes man either which he has expressed his thankfulness several times over the last 4-1/2 years.

            Whenever a concern/problem arose, when asked, I would always look for possible solutions and help.

            With my people I tell them since they are on front-line of the problem they also may be on the front-line of a solution. So if they see a problem look for solutions and offer them to me so we can get thing moving along quickly again. I know not everyone sees the beginning to the end so to speak… That’s what Leadership is suppose to understand a little better than a machine operator.

            As I see it, the church is, among other things such as worshiping the Lord, there to grow us up (Bible studies/Sunday school/etc) and to reach the Lost. We are not there to do potlucks and entertain ourselves though it’s not necessarily wrong to have a good time at church which I usually have a great time at church.

            My simple point is, we are there to encourage each other to GET OUT of the church and DO God’s work. Most of us know if it comes from the Top down the results are usually better than when not…. so had my Pastor encouraged us to reach the Lost, had he explained the importance to do what God has clearly called us to do, had he tried to motivate the troops, had he done anything remotely towards reaching out to our community… I would have gladly and wonderfully stayed on.

            As an employer, after working with many types of people over the last 35 years, I can sense who is/can/able to listen/work/understand/think/ self-motivated/ETC more often that not. And I always try to work with each one to fully reach their potential. What I have found is…. not everyone’s “potential” is going to help us/we/me reach my/God’s goal(s).

            About “walking out”… how long one stays in a broken down church is between them and the Lord. Maybe I should have said, “after years and years of deep prayer the Lord told me it was time to go…”

            The truth is, after trying to encourage the troops/leadership even kind-hearted, caring, HUMBLE (that’s there for you two bozo in the faith that are quick on the draw to attack someone you don’t even know) smart, motivated people, know when the troops/leadership are dead.

            So when is the best time to Walk Out…? Whether you’re a Pastor or a Pew-polisher…. you’ll know! God will give you peace even when you are sadden by leaving.

          • notaboutus

            “Bozo in the faith” comment aside, you make some good points. It is a difficult decision for both pastors and lay members to leave a church. Hope things are going better for you in your new church.

          • notaboutus

            Two questions Harsh.

            1) During the last year at your former church when you were raising concerns about the outreach ministry, did you ever offer your personal assistance to the pastor in addressing and fixing the problem?

            2) Do you think you improved the prospects of a more effective outreach ministry at your former church with your departure rather than staying to help your pastor and lay leadership work on solutions to the problem?

          • Hersh, or is it Harsh

            See above post

      • Making Sense

        It is easy to say such a word of encouragement, but to be in the foot of those whose life is different from us is not easy, we can not compare our life to the life of Jesus, some of us have not truly followed him, not because you have went through the years of service doesn’t mean you are strong enough. to be a pastor there is always a string attached. first to consider your family, your salary, your security, your health care, your transportation, your meal everyday, and other extra expenses. do you think you can follow Christ, is this things are not attached, Jesus walked single as a single person, material possession for him is non sense, can you do the same? Mark Chapter 10.

    • Shaboyo Motsamai

      This has touched me deeply,particularly that I have experienced antagonism in the church,a place where you least expect it.I think many times we overlook the fact that many people who are in the church are not necessarily Christian and are in the church for other reasons other than worshipping God first and foremost.If you’ve truly been called to spread the gospel no one can set the perimeters for your activities,and I’m picking that up from your activities after you left the church.Give the whole matter to the Lord and leave it there,he will sort it out the best way he sees fit and focus on Jesus,after all he is the one who called you.

      • Pastor Mickey

        Shaboyo, you are absolutely correct in your statement that many people who are in the church are not necessarily Christian. In 1992 while attending a Billy Graham School of Evangelism we were surprised by the appearance of Brother Graham. In a small breakout session he spoke with a few of us that were pastors and asked where our greatest fields of harvest were located. His answer surprised all of us as he said it is sitting in front of you every Sunday morning. At that time he said that fully 50% of your church members are not born again Christians. I questioned that in my mind for quite awhile but have sense seen the truth of that statement. Since then he and other evangelical leaders have raised the percentage of unsaved members quite a bit. Just having your name on a church role does not make you anymore of a Christian than you standing in a pig sty makes you a pig.

    • Don

      I served as a missionary in AIDS orphan relief work in Africa for 22 years. Came back to the States and pastored a church. I was burned out from burying infants and children who died of AIDS. Thought let me do something with a little more life to it . . .

      I resigned my first church three years in discouragement and disillusionment after accepting the call. Now pastoring my second American church. I see it like this:

      The American Evangelical Pastorate is after countless interviews, questions, paperwork, resumes, references, and voting, a position one walks into where from the get-go he/she will be questioned, doubted, spoke to in ways beyond preparation, fussed with, argued with, belied, betrayed, physically accosted (in my case), and treated in a manner that begs the question, “Why bother calling a pastor in the first place?”

      After being expected to preach like a pop star, visit all the sick in the church, visit every shut-in, attend all 30 committees, put up with every complaint, manage a facility, deal with elders who haven’t clue nor vision, and basically provide pastoral care to those to whom their chief concern is themselves . . .

      It’s a place where many pastors enter their new pastorate with kind words and accolades, and leave as the people he once tried to pastor sneer and frown.
      “Boy, this pastored better be by every bedside of every member who is sick,” but after the long illness of my step-father who died in May, then my mother in June, and a granddaughter three weeks ago, who in the church was there for me?

      “Pastor, what’s you problem?” Well, I could tell you a think or two . . .
      I find the American Church extremely self-centered and in need of a serious challenges to shake it out of it’s lethargy; something that removes everything around us, and just leaves us Jesus.

      He after all is the reason we live and breath and have our existence. :-)
      Just my thoughts,

      • Making Sense

        I can agree with you, culture have a big role in our society, for example a culture that has a strong family connection/ties, they tend to have a strong Christian attitude of caring for each other. If a family has a strong sense of honor they have a strong Christian attitude of respecting each other. if a family does not observe those two type of attitude more likely they tend to ignore the teachings of Christ. because they look at themselves as superior than others and they have the tendency to Challenge the existence of God.

      • Jim

        Don, how long have you been at my church, we should have met by now! LOL

    • ServantHeart2012

      A Baptist church? I would have guessed you were referring to the modern day “Church of the Pharisees” which encompasses not only Baptist, but Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Christian, Church of God, Church of Christ, and many more that behave in the ways you describe. Good for you for getting out!

    • D. Owsely

      I totally understand!! That’s why I wrote The Perfect Pastor? which is supposed to be given to elders, deacons and church members to help them understand. But, I soon discovered most do not care to understand.

    • Hersh, or is it Harsh

      Caution a bad joke alert… Brother you should’ve gotten severance pay deal in writing!!! That’s why God had to write the Bible… okay bad joke!!!

  • OUCH

    “Take actions and precautions to make sure you don’t let any of these 10
    reasons separate you from your passion for the ministry and your
    Since I am experiencing #1,2,3 7,8,9 & 10.
    What actions should I take?
    Please help !

    • http://twitter.com/docrevrob Robert McKinney

      There is help. You need to find someone who can listen to you and what is going on in your life. Hear someone else’s perspective and let them in. Find a Biblical counselor. If I can help recommend one here is my email: drsuperrob@gmail.com
      Email me personally and I can help find you some help. I will be praying for you. God bless.

      • AMOS8

        Yes, emphasis on “Biblical”

    • Rich

      Get a counselor. Preferably someone not connected to your church. If you are part of a denomination they have resources for you. Ashland Seminary does an awesome retreat for pastors that is very healing. Not only do I have a counselor but I tell my congregation about my counseling experience. It’s freeing for our body to know about this relationship. Fight through evey hindrance and seek counseling.

      • no counselor

        a pastor in my district started seeing a counselor & when our Conference Superintendent found out he was fired – for being “weak”.

        • RichardnDianne Hertsel

          Superintendents are human and prone to err.

        • $12241688

          Yep. I wouldn’t dare share my heartaches with my Supe. They themselves are under enormous pressure to have districts that “succeed”. Sharing your weaknesses with them is often the kiss of death. And you likely won’t be recommended for other churches either.

    • donald wong

      Pray to God since he is your father and will help. Pray more and do less. Give all your problems to God and pray with your wife since “where 2 or more are gathered in my name etc.” There is power when 2 or more pray together to do God’s will, and that will force you to talk to your wife. Make sure that what you are doing is really God’s will for you.

      May God Bless you.



      • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

        too simplistic; unrealistic…but the blessing is a nice touch

    • Retlaw

      Stop. Do your part, encourage others to do their part, and never forget that God controls the results. Please stop.

    • Retlaw

      Get a free coaching session with Cal habig, tell him Walter referred you.

  • Max

    I am the senior pastor for the last seven years. Since the start God supernaturally connected me to a man filled wisdom on this topic. He has a passion for Pastor’s and has quit everything to ensure we stay in our call..

    I pray you connect with him – Dr.Dean Radtke CEO and founder of The Ministry Institute.

    Please check it out and connect with him.

    It has saved my marriage and ministry and we doing greater things in our city because we have applied his methods for ministry.

    Much love

  • Carlu

    Obviously this post is going too resonate with many. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak the truth on love as we work through these challenges so we can continue to be and give the very best that we are to the Lord in service and devotion. To all the pastors out there…thank you for your sacrifice. I appreciate you…

  • Dave

    Good article.

    I do not agree that the problem is organizational. It doesn’t matter who is beating you up and behaving badly – deacons or elders or little old ladies. Trying to live by Ephesians 4:11-16 helps – train others for ministry duties rather than try to do everything yourself, but in small churches there are only so many people to work. The real problem is that we try to live by American cultural values that emphasize action, responsibility (credit or blame), problem solving, technology, etc. The idea that “you can solve this if only you will implement the right program” sells books and kills pastors.

    The main thing for me has been to concentrate on being a man of God rather than on accomplishing goals or running programs. Give yourself to your pursuit of God and to being what you ought to be as a man, husband and father before anything else.

    Realize that you cannot do anything in the spiritual realm – you are completely dependent on God. There is no program, no technique, no routine, no gimmick that will do anything except wear you out. Concentrate on relationships and don’t get too freaked out by the fact that you cannot make spiritual change happen in people’s lives. You can be a godly man who faithfully feeds the flock – even the problem children in the flock.

    God does all the ultimate work. Rest in Him. He (and only He) can change people’s hearts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

      Dave: evidently you have never served others

      • Trevor

        Bryan, listen to Dave he knows what he’s talking about. Too easy for pastors not to walk with God because life hurts and is busy. Abiding in Christ is what makes us sufficient. ‘Guard your heart with all dilligence for out of it flow the issues of life’. Then lead and gracefully discipline and confront while lovingly serving. Pastors aren’t victims we just have a cross to carry like our master, and we choose to carry it.

  • kingdomgurl

    If it be of God, it will stand.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw


  • Andrew

    I believe the main reason for me experiencing all these symptoms listed above is…I don’t walk with God in intimate relationship ALL the time. Not many of us actually KNOW God on an intimate level. How do I know this? How much time do I actually separate myself just to speak & listen to God, just to be alone with Him? We know a lot about Him, but we don’t meet & experience Him on a daily basis. If we knew and seek God more than any other human being on the planet, how would that affect our lives and ministries? If our spirit was receptive to His Spirit for the majority of the day, would the words we hear from others and ourselves overtake what the Spirit is speaking to our hearts in the moment, in His Word?

    Imagine if we fellowship with our Heavenly Father every moment like Jesus did, and we are led by His voice in all circumstances, He will sustain us through our weaknesses and trials. Perhaps we can cultivate this relationship with His help, praying without ceasing, & remaining in constant communion with Him. Is it possible to set our eyes on Jesus 24/7 in this lifetime? Probably not, but we can certainly grow more everyday. His grace is sufficient.

  • Patti

    This article is not my story, although it is the story of some of my friends in ministry. I plan to use this article this Sunday to wholeheartedly thank the very wonderful group of people that I get to pastor.

  • Jonah Yonjan

    Thank you for posting this topics which is more relevents today.

  • PHatch

    In viewing all 10 reasons Pastors Quit, there are several reasons why this happens to them.
    First and foremost, when God called the disciples to preach, they left their jobs and followed Jesus. They trusted Him 100%. He told them what not to take. He said the workman is worthy of his hire.
    If anyone thinks preaching is a pud job, then I say you go try it. Every demon from hell comes at you. Does not matter whatever of life it is in.
    To survive and remain standing for God, one must be secured in obedience in prayer. The power of God comes through prayer and the word. That will substain you and get you through it all. God says He will provide and He does, if you can just trust Him too.
    It is not about God, it is about what you are willing to do and apply for God. When you make up your mind, then all else will fall into place.
    As far as your marriage, sometimes you are required to stand, fast, pray, and stand some more. God will restore and reconcile back. If He does not, maybe that was not the mate He had in store for you.
    Anyway, after you have done all, STAND!
    I hold each pastor who has walked away in prayer today. You can get up go forth again and grab hold of the life line, Jesus Christ and His blood.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

      PHatch: you may mean well but again (as I posted above), your posts/comments come from a sincere and gracious heart are NOT realistic. I can “be” and even “do” the right things (your implication) and there is still sin nature, suffering for Jesus’ name. there is still crisis and pain and loss and grief…

  • Jason Von Der Lage

    This is for you, Jason Von Der Lage .

  • Anon

    I wonder how many leave because they stop believing the gospel entirely?

  • Kuya

    This article warn me to be firm in my new plant church. I get nothing from my mother church (meaning I did’nt receive even a single coin as allowance for food and transpo, my mother church has no money ), My small salary from my secular job is my only source of income. I need to feed dozens of street children every sunday morning and buy some snakcs after sunday afternoon worship service , my church collection is 10 dollars a week. My church is at the middle of many different kinds of people with many different kinds of vices. I have no plan to quit, not in my CHRISTIAN MIND…I am the pastor, I am the Praise Leader, I am the guitarist, and I cook the food for their lost souls, now tell me.. will I quit? I tell you, N O W A Y !!!

  • Todd

    The financial side of this is huge. Many of us today are as educated as a general physician, but our compensation doesn’t “honor” us as one who is “worthy” of double honor because we work hard at preaching and teaching. I had to learn that part of this is our fault for not being proactive before we go to a church. Get you salary in writing and if your family cannot be supported by the ministry consider not going or be up front and tell the church that they can not support your family on that salary. When pastors accept, unacceptable compensation we enable churches to continue in that pattern.

    Also, you must get equipped on how to communicate your salary to a personnel team or whoever. Most committees will attempt to low ball your salary even though they are more than capable to pay you well. It’s an unfortunately reality. My practice is to do all the stressful talking about a salary early on. Get the cat out of the bag and don’t let the church low ball you. It is better to get your salary needs met upfront than to get in a position and have to ask or worse beg for an increase once the reality of your needs not being met sets in. That always leads to resentment. You also need to get professionals who understand ministers compensation/church finances in and do financial seminars every 2 years or so. Keep in mind – You need a position, but they need a pastor. Sometimes you need to hold out and if they refuse to meet your needs that you clearly communicate it may be an indicator of how they will treat you overall.

    Finally, it’s necessary to help the church understand that your salary and your benefits are separate. They cannot and should not include your insurance, retirement, etc. on the same line on the budget. People also need to understand how much they are costing their employer. In other words, your insurance may be costing the church x amount of dollars, but they are costing their employers about $30,000 that they don’t ever see.

  • christoph

    I read this as a former Pastor and an active member of a church. some responses reflect unsolved anger. The issue of lack of finances is NOT an issue in our church. Some Pastors would get failing marks for their preaching today. But they get away with below average. I taught Homiletics at a College overseas

    • Earl C. Wallace

      Christoph, I 100% agree with your assessment. Many pastors are gifted in “mercy,” not administration (leadership), nor preaching-teaching. Churches believe that all seminary/Bible school graduates have these gifts, which as you have noticed, definitely is not true.

      • Making sense

        both of you Chris and Earl; I will agree with you at this time and Bryan over ruled (lol), but Chris and Earl, we can not ignore the fact that members or deacons of the Church sometimes become all knowing and this is also common among us pastors specially seminary graduates and teachers. Pride and power is our enemy which is inside of us.

        How many pastors had passed through your church, how many Sunday school that your 80-90 years old member had attended, how many sermons that your old and young members had heard but still they never learned. because they don’t want to learn.

        One of the common Phrase from the bible that probably misunderstood by many, is 1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young,” which most young people love to use this text to escape from the teachings of the wise. the mistake of other teacher/preachers they skip more than the Half of that teaching and members in the Church have their own way of interpreting the bible verses.

        another common problems in the Church is this:

        1st scenario: Pastor Bob came in as pastor to preach about loving others even they are different from us, for Jesus teach us to love others, as we love ourselves.

        2nd scenario; after a four years of ministry, nurturing the people to love, here comes Pastor Nat, probably from a family of politicians, proclaiming that he was send to cast the demons away from the land, and he will guarantee you of verses from the bible the he just picked randomly to serve as proof (spoof) to convince other.

        after 4 years of poisoning minds of the members with hatred and anger against people who are different with them, here comes another pastor who is different from them. “what do you think will happen next?”

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

      both christoph and Earl: you are perpetuating the problem…thanks for the lecture and demeaning comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.wright13 Brian Wright

    good and life giving article. just to put names to the battles pastors face is helpful.

    i believe that many of these battles are bigger than they should be because we, as pastors, violate God’s “6 and 1″ rhythm of work and rest. how many of these battles would shrink in regular periods of sabbath space?

    our church is generous and encouraging. and demonstrates it many ways including regular sabbatical times of rest and reset. the lead pastor can take up to 80 days away (in addition to vacation) every 4 years. and the rest of the pastor staff can take 40 days away every 4 years. with pay and benefits.
    “man was not meant to keep the sabbath, but sabbath to keep the man.”-abraham heschel (from Jewish proverb)
    maybe we should refuse the salary increase and increase the sabbath space. keeping the sabbath is on the top ten list-remember and keep the sabbath-exodus 20.

    our key pastoral staff are beating the longevity odds.

    if interested in developing a sabbath space plan, we can share ours and other churches written plans.

    praying with and for all my Christ following pastors brothers-“pastor long and prosper”.

    spiritual janitor

    • Pastor Mickey

      Brian, your church is one in a million. Most churches are not like this.

  • slmiller

    Tim does not indicate where he is getting his statistics from, nor how he defines his terms. In the absence of clearer data, I would take his findings with a grain of salt.

  • Casey

    This is why I appreciate being part of a “connectional” church polity like the United Methodist Church. Despite our many foibles and failings, the inherent connection of clergy in the UMC makes it possible to build good relationships with colleagues who share most of my values and share my challenges. And because the local church cannot simply fire a pastor at the first sign of disagreement, we stay at the table longer to resolve conflict.

    I grew up Southern Baptist and I’ve seen how a free church polity (independent deacon/elder board) can destroy pastors.

    Pastors should find a covenant group of other clergy to meet with at least monthly. Pastors should take all the time off that is available to them.
    Pastors should take at least one (two, if possible) retreats each year with clergy friends.

  • Samuel

    Great post. Where did you come up with the statistics in #6? I’m curious because that is a staggering statistic.

  • Dr. Mark

    I left the pastorate because we merged our church with someone I thought was a friend. He was not. Details not necessary, but suffice it to say I will not go into church ministry again. I misread this “pastor” so badly that I cannot trust myself to trust anyone again regarding church ministry. I left the church and the city where I planted it and grew it for 12 years in an area of town known as a graveyard to ministry. The lack of integrity, honesty, and decency on the part of many church leaders makes it difficult for the rest. I pray to forgive and heal. God bless all of you decent and faithful pastors. Please remain so.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

      I fell a parallel pain; I served 11 years at a church and was asked to leave because I couldn’t lead and couldn’t preach. I couldn’t agree more with your post – all of it

      • Trevor

        Bryan, perhaps you weren’t called to the ministry. Nothing wrong with not being called. If a man can do something else he should.

    • RichardnDianne Hertsel

      If God has released you, you won’t pastor again. If not…God will come knocking and you’ll be faithful to the call…before or after you become fish vomit!! :)

  • revm

    I was paying attention until he said that ministers should manage their money better. All of a sudden I realized that he is faulting the minster for every negative feeling/reality/response. Don’t be angry, you should forgive. Don’t feel bad, you shuold realize you are doing good.You should have friends and take better care of your body. Don’t worry be happy! This is not to say he is wrong, only that he should add a #11: Everyone telling them how they should do their job and live their life.

    • http://www.facebook.com/BLatchaw Bryan Latchaw

      well said

    • Trevor

      At the end of the day the only person we can control is ourselves, and how we respond. Lets not buy too much into the ‘victim’ mentality. Its tough being a soldier, thats what we signed up for. Follow Christ and lead others, don’t follow others.

  • rick brand

    A minister does have to be a very strong self-starter. He has to discipline himself/herself to do the things are her/his list each day. There is a strong ego needed to take charge and stick to the minister’s choice. We try too hard to please too many people. Try to offend everybody in the church sometime.

  • Brian L Nichols

    Here are some others to add to the list:
    1. Not called to the pastoral ministry in the first place, 2. Refusal to allow others that are serving to function fully within their call/election/predestination, 3. The full weight of ministry was never ordained of God to rest fully and squarely on the shoulders of 1 of 5 ministerial graces, 4. God did not set pastors in the Church firstly, secondly, or thirdly; in this order, He did set in the church, firstly, apostles, secondly, prophets, and thirdly, teachers, after that…, 5. The government of the Church was never ordained of God to be hierarchical with the “pastor” set atop the “chain of command”, but lateral, with parity among ALL of the members of the Body. It is because of these 5 reasons, that the list of 10 reasons exists. If you have the courage, The NEW GENUS Initiative can help; the.new.genus.initiative@q.com. Let us HELP, before another ministry is victimized by this “list”.

  • http://takefiveanytime.blogspot.com Tom Eggebeen

    While this article offers some helpful insights, it has the feel of condemnation – once again, pastor, it’s your fault. If you would only take better care of yourself, manage your time more effectively, find a support group and ask for help. We live in a culture of displaced blame: the mentally ill are routinely blamed for there struggles; folks with cancer are chided for their poor diets or lack of exercise, and while there’s some truth to all of that, perhaps, it misses a major point: other factors over which the person has no control. What I find missing from this article is a simple reality: lots of congregations are deeply dysfunctional, full of power-brokers, folks in love with pew cushions and curtains, an expectation of the pastor to fix everything and be everywhere, challenging the pastor again and again. Pastors can do much, but there is a cruelty afoot in many a congregation that is nothing but malevolent. Where it comes from is another story, but to put the burden of proof on the pastor, without considering the rest of the story, just doesn’t help anyone. And in the hands of the self-righteous parishioner who just got done bashing her/his pastor, this article would be used for more ammunition – “Come one pastor, get your act together.”

    • Trevor

      I understand what you mean, but can’t really agree. The pastor is the leader, and leader’s are to lead when its popular and not popular. Confronting and disciplining unbiblical and cruel attitudes is the role of the pastor, ultimately. Better to lose half your church by gracefully not accepting bad behaviour than to to have a full church thats canablistic. Pastor’s have gracious authority and must exercise it. Yes its a battle, and will never be a walk in the part, thats because its important.

  • Trevor

    I’m a pastor but I am not sure how sympathetic I am to this article. I fully acknowledge that all of these things are a problem. However, I would suggest that the causes of this are three fold.

    1. Unrealistic expectations of what ministry would be like. How would Paul answer these complaints? The history of God’s servants is pain. Being a pastor is not the same as being an accountant. Its a spiritual war. Soldiers with no rights, not an employee with a benefits package. I am overstating that to make a point. There is a balance. Part of this is bad training. When I was at Seminary one of my lectureres put his arm around me when walking out of class and said “Trevor your going to die a thousand times in ministry” – I didn’t realise he meant in the first couple of years! It did set my expectations though. I know another guy who is out of the ministry now whose seminary told him “your going to have a huge ministry” – build him up for a fall.

    2. Not walking with God. Guys, our strength to cope and continue come from sticking to the Lord like glue on our knees and in worship. Easy for pastors to get busy and stop walking with God. If you do that, your going to die in ministry. And be ineffective. If your whining about self esteem then your not finding your confidence and security in God. What self esteem? Your a child of God and a chosen servant, you don’t have a right to have a’self esteem’ view of yourself.

    3. Following instead of leading. If the demands on you are unrealistic, teach the church what the role of the pastor is and then stick to it. Others can do it, or it doesn’t get done. God is our boss, not a church committee. Ultimately we will stand before Him. Don’t start new ministries unless God has given you the people to run them. Fear God not man. Your the pace setter, your the teacher, your the model. If you burn out its your fault. (I dont mean that harshly or unsympathetically but your ultimately in charge of how you spend your time).

    4. Confront bad attitudes and criticism and model gospel vulnerability. I came to a church that was canablisitic and soon turned on me. I side stepped every issue and complaint (though prayerfully considered it) and confronted unloving, ungospel attitutdes and called the church to repentance. Half the church left. Best thing that ever happened. (And the church was already quite small).

    Don’t protect and defend yourself. Show that humanly your weak but God’s grace is sufficient. Show your sinful but the gospel has it covered. Show that your self righteous but that your learning to lean on Christ’s righteousness instead. Get grace in there.

    • Unschooled and ordinary

      Good words. My husband and I made a decision to leave the ministry last fall. Our initial feeling was one of exhilaration! We compared it to an eagle soaring. It wasn’t long, though, before God began to speak to us the same words you have written here. One Scripture in particular hit hard: “You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.” We pastor a church that has endured for 175 years, a rich history of ministry. It had been through years of splits and hard times. We were seeing some success, but we allowed discouragement to set in. We had to ask ourselves if we wanted to drop the ball on our watch. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there are times to walk away — it just wasn’t the time for us. God showed us that the church needed a new pastor and wife and that new pastor was us! We got on our faces and asked for the strength and courage it takes to lead in the society of brokenness that we live in. Not an easy task, but we are grateful for grace to remain in His grip.

      • Hersh, or is it Harsh

        WOW… I’m glad I scrolled down and read this post. What I didn’t share with my other post above was the willingness to stay on if I saw any glimmering of hope. I had prayed for a second wind and a third and a fourth… but finally there was no more coming from Above. It was then I realized I had done all I could and was free to leave…. You have been a breathe of fresh air my friend in the faith. May the Lord super bless you with a lot of godly changes both within yourselves but also withing your church body!!! Thanks “Unschooled and ordinary” for your post!

      • http://www.facebook.com/bsuchman Ben Suchman

        Unschooled what a wonderful testimony. As ministry couples we need to remember that many of the greatest times of growth and of increased influence within the church family that we minister to immediately follow very difficult times.

  • Donald Minshew

    Many who abandon the ministry should never have been there in the first place. They choose ministry as a profession or see it is an altruistic way to make a difference. God’s ministers are those who sense that they have been chosen (woe unto me if I preach not the gospel). They are not novices who become disappointed when the ideals of the faith are not practiced by those who call themselves believers. There will always be Alexander Coppersmiths who actively plot harm. There will be the occasional Demas who abandons us after care and mentoring. The question is whether we will press on for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. Success in ministry is not what will often appear in the pages of Outreach and other ministry magazines. Too often we look at the outward apparent results and label it. Success in ministry is locking down and serving Christ where He leads…even if it is among people who don’t get it. He is the Lord; it is His Church and His Body. He has the right to place His servants where He wants, even if it hurts.

    • Gene

      Perfect!!! Too few are actually call of God to the ministry. While some of this stuff has happened to me, I know I’m exactly where God wants me and where He has called me. How can I quit that??

    • K.P.

      Donald, that is by far the most spot on comment I have read.

  • John Daly

    I wonder how many of these could be prevented with an elder led church?

  • Bob

    Just a restatement of the obvious

  • Jan Arthur Lee

    Of those 1,700, how many leave simply due to retirement? When giving numbers like this, please clarify what that number consists of. Your article could be misleading and end of depressing us pastors instead of helping us.

  • Daniel

    I think a big part of the problem is that “professional” pastor training schools give students an overly glamorized view of themselves …then crash! Our pastors are looked upon as Holy men in royal robes, the spokesman for God, instead of just regular guys who struggle like everyone else, but whose strength is in Jesus. We need to start viewing ourselves as less then those we serve instead of above them. These people are not yours, you are there’s. You are the shepherd, but the sheep aren’t going to lay down there lives for you, You are called to lay down your life for them (John 10:11). Its hard to crash very far if you’re already at the bottom. Don’t get proud when your church tells you “you are the man” and don’t listen to the accuser who tells you “you are no good”. Does your church seem bi-polar? Preach the word, demonstrate love, take a nap, share your struggles and victories, and put on your Michael Jordon shoes (that’s a metaphor).

    • K.P.

      Terrific response Daniel.

    • Thomas C Dietz

      AMEN AND AMEN! one of the biggest problems is that pastors regard themselves to highly or too lowly. Being a highly trained and blessed “layperson” is the very best mental position that a teacher can take so that they can do the work and let God bring the result.

  • dewisant

    I find the article refreshing and frank. Surely we need to ask why such sad circumstances arise where the church’s life and pressures are modelling the pressures we find in the secular world. God calls and is ready to equip His Church to be different, but do we want it?

  • Jim Luder

    This is an interesting article. I was a pastor for 4 years and left when I saw that it was having a negative influence on my children. One evening I had church members over for ice cream after church and at the next board meeting it came up that my 3 year old had petted the dog and then ate his ice cream without washing his hands. I wanted to move out of the parsonage and buy my own house and I was told “you’re our pastor and you’ll live where we tell you.” Now 20 plus years after I left vocational ministry I look back with no regrets. My children grew up to love the Lord and his church and still don’t wash their hands after they eat ice cream. My wife and I put two nails in the living room in the house we bought because it’s our house and we can put a nail wherever we please. And I’m in the process of interviewing former male pastors for my doctoral dissertation on pastors who leave the ministry. So if you’re a former pastor and read this, drop me a line at chaplainluder@gmail.com.

  • Bob

    Where do you get your statistics from? This is not to question your premises, but to be able to locate the exact facts.

    • BruceWoodford

      All ten reasons are simply symptoms of a huge problem with the whole modern pastorate system! I was a pastor until I found that my position was absolutely foreign to the Bible and the clergy-laity distinction a fable! Every believer has been equipped for ministry and is responsible before God to minister what God has given to them for the benefit of the Body. So the modern pastorate and clergy-laity distinction is tragically toxic to shepherds and sheep!
      God’s agenda when His people gather together is reciprocal one anothering ministry among the members of the body. See Hebrews 10:24,25. But the modern “church service” centered around a monologue “sermon” is a denial of that scripture and makes oits practice an impossibility! THis is why I left the pastorate. Whenever I stood in the pulpit, I realizerd that I was a definite hindrance to what God wanted to do through all His people who were gathered!
      The idea that that “homiletics” is the art of sermon preparation and delivery is another anti-biblical myth! Every time the NT greek word “HOMILEO” is found in the Bible (Luke 24:14,15; Acts 20:11, and 24:26) it is used of a conversation among a number of people and never of a monologue!!!
      The title “Reverend” which I assumed when I wasd “ordained” is reserved in scripture for GHod alone! ( Psalm 111:9)
      I would encourage every pastor who is a salaried clergyman to quit the job today for your own benefit and that of the congregation! Teach them to minister one to another as the Bible commands (see over 50 one another commands in the NT) and work with your own hands as the apostle Paul commands too (Acts 20:33-35).

      There is much more I could write but will stop for now. If any current pastor wants to contact me or desires encouragement to follow the Bible, I can be contacted at bwood4d@gmail.com.
      Bruce Woodford (Norwich Ontario)

  • Bermudo Mahinay

    Most of these ministers didn’t understand the true Gospel that Jesus Christ preached.

    • http://pastoretteponderings.blgospot.com Dorcas George

      Wow….sweeping, judgemental statement. How nice for you to be above “most.”

  • Henry Willey

    Read my comments on my group on Facebook called: The voice of the elder for truth.
    One man “clergy” was never the new testament plan. Ephesians 4:11 tells us there are 5 offices in the church.
    1st Corinthians 12 tells us about 9 gifts. No pastor has all 9 gifts. The clergy/laity system is flawed. When the people of God meet and each exercises their gifts, you will have found the structural pattern.

    Protestants learned the hierarchy from Rome. I know it sounds radical but those are the guides along with a plurality of elders, not only one. Research the doctrine of the “Nicolaitans”. Nicor in Greek is to conquer
    and in this usage, it is “to conquer the laity”. Christ said in Revelation “which thing, I hate.

    er and in this case: to conquer the laity. Revelation says “Which thing I hate”.

  • Jim

    I keep asking God, “So where is the fruit? we have been planting and watering for YEARS! where is the fruit, the God given increase?”

  • Brian P.

    Um, excuse me but aren’t these three in the center of kenosis, servant leadership, and deep aspects of the Nature of Christ? Yoke is easy and burden is light, bear the cross and man up!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AF3JNGU3M5Q7DSJ2K6JYHQX7VY Spurs

    The focus is lost…..is it ego for ones self….or is it pride.
    I have seen many Pastors have I known fall from grace or leave or stuck in a position.
    its starts with the church itself….thats why Paul wrote his letters to keep belivers head on because the churches were out of control!!! WE lose focus on GOD and the bible more than anything!!!!!!!! We lose our 1st love and that is to GOD!!!!!!
    That is why we have so many “Judas” in the church….we forget that Pastors jobs are to minister and save souls…because that is thier calling….and if the congo….deacons, assiant pastors…..arent in with flint THEY are gonna be held accountable…as well….Its a shame that Pastors are not supported….you have to many kilks….too many egos….and to muuch PRIDE!!!!!….that is the bottom line….Decaons and Asst. Pastors if you are reading this SUPPORT YOU PASTOR !!!!!!

  • Rev. Juanita Thomas

    Very good article. I’m not a Pastor but I am a preach with a ministry and I can identify with a lot of this.

  • Dave

    Good article. Suggestion. The business world is overflowing with breakthrough ideas and research in organizational design. The Church is made up of people whose behavior is consistent across their secular and sacred lives. Expecting different is a mistake. Got a people problem at church-work? Call an MBA., not an MDiv.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheChristianRestorationMinistry Minister Speed

    I was moved with understanding regarding these minsters and pastors. This article speaks to the heart and even those obviously filled with the Holy Spirit are affected. The attack from the enemy can be devastating and can even affect the faith of the most ardent minister.

    I know what it’s like to stand alone and have unhealthy expectation placed upon you. To be disregarded because of a past life. To be scorn because of the true Word of God. To have non believing Christians fight with you over the Gospel given by Christ wanting to hold on to religion.

    Personally I am not moved. I will stand me on my watch and wait to see what the Lord shall do. If I have to stand alone. If I never receive a Christian post or comment, acknowledgement, or friend, then I will stand alone.

    The church is entering fearsome and exciting times and I thank God for allowing me to worship Him in this the land of the living.

    Take the time to encourage your Pastor, minister, friend in Christ.

    • K.P.

      Good reply.

  • $12241688

    I’ve been pastoring for 25 years, and I’m ready to step out for almost all of the above reasons. I’m tired of the pettiness, the politics, and the pressure. I feel crushed, exhausted, and bitter. I’ve taken a sabbatical. It helped. For a little while. But you just come back to all the same old problems. I’m tired of being judged, analyzed, criticized, and forsaken. I’m tired of the revolving door of ministry. I’m tired of half-committed Christians. I’m tired of well-meaning Christians who hurt others with their opinions. I’m tired of self-righteous spirits. I’m more encouraged by my secular friends than I am my brothers in Christ. The Body of Christ is horribly sick in North America, and doesn’t even seem to know it. Instead of being a healing centre for struggling people too often we’re the last stop on death row. My adult children long ago abandoned the church. They were frustrated with the hypocrisy. Tired of the old mantra “not perfect, just forgiven” (wahoo!!), as if that gives people permission to beat each other up or ignore obvious needs. Every day I hope to find something else to do with the rest of my life. I’d quit pastoring tomorrow if I could afford to. But I can’t. So I’m stuck. You’ve nailed the problems on the head with this article, but short of the usual platitudes I don’t see any real answers. Too bad. Lots of pastors out there are just like me. Sick of it all. Privately crying. Desperate to do something else with their lives. Ready to leave the church and never come back. And fed up with condescending analyses that suggest we’re mentally unstable because we experience these things.

    • http://c-mog.blogspot.com/ Drae

      Wow I am sooo sorry to hear this. It’s cries like this that help remind me to pray for those who have rule over you. Pray for the Elders and Bishops cause they really need it. This is a scary truth that I see just only as a minister. This is why I never understood why someone would approach Pastoring as a job and not a calling for the simple fact it requires much of yourself and much of your relationship with God. We are held doubly responsible for this office and frankly if I wasn’t called to it then I’d rather not even try for the simple fact souls are at stake. Praying for you and others like you.

    • Thomas C Dietz

      Please don’t give up during this Elijah moment. He isnt remembered for that, but instead for being the man of God. Forgive me for being presumptuous brother, but do you have several insightful pastors that you can depend on? Also, do you have people pray for you when you preach? Smith Wigglesworth had a large group of people interceding in praying from the boiler room when he taught and it worked there. Have you had a honest discussion with the church about the condition and direction OF the church? Many times a session/s will identify the ROOTS of the problems and also those that are driven and gifted to work/serve/lead/guide/counsel. There may folks that can solve many things before it becomes an issue. Remember that working and wishing harder doesn’t change anything. Change changes things. Assess your groups ability to adapt and send the appropriate ones on a mission. Lastly, a corporately broken and contrite spirit of the church can be Gods intended result of this time of struggle. The lord be gracious unto you and his face shine upon you. His goodness and mercy be upon you. Amen Brother.

      • $12241688

        Thanks for the insight. No one prays for me when I preach, they don’t see the need (I should be doing all the praying, apparently). I had an honest discussion with my church when I came back from my sabbatical. My chairman was furious and roundly scolded me for bringing the church down and dumping my “problems” on them. A few were slightly broken, but only slightly, and rather quickly went back to default within a month. And no, I’ve had a few other pastors in my life, but it’s such a revolving door that you can hardly build a decent relationship with them. And most of them are in the same place that I am anyway. I’m a Canadian, and we don’t have the same depth and breadth of pastoral ministries up here as Americans do down there. Only about 6% of Canadians identify themselves as evangelical, so many of the churches and pastors in this country are either United Church (read very liberal) or Catholic/Anglican. The pastoral pool around here is pretty shallow and empty.

        • Thomas C Dietz

          Be encouraged my friend. Even if you can’t see it now, you are blessed beyond measure my Brother. Your success isn’t dependant upon pleasing men’s ears, but exhaulting and extolling the Almighty God and leading the flock.unfortunately you can’t control their hearts, only they can. If you think you’re in a fix, think of how Moses must have felt for 40 years! Or Elijah in the cave, or Jesus Himself when He wept for His holy city. You are in VERY good company. I will seek good messages and leave them here for you. If there is a way to private message, we could exchange contacts

          • $12241688

            Thanks Thomas….you’re an encouragement….more of an encouragement than I’ve received for several years

        • Vinnie MacIsaac


          Email me and I will be on of your supports. And know I am praying for you when you preach.

          You are not alone.

        • Kelly Keith Dunn

          I wish we could meet up for Monday Morning Coffee and “Debrief” I know full well when NOBODY can relate!

    • Sam O’Donnell

      I agree. You have very eloquently articulated the feelings of many in vocational ministry. Now, before some of you folks get upset and fire off blistering replies consider this: What are you doing to come along side of a pastor? Step back and consider what so many are saying. It is a plea for help. These are men and women that have given everything to the cause of Christ and the very mission they pledged themselves to has become the thing that wears them out. The reality is that many are simply tired. Yes, they’ve made mistakes (we all have) but please, set aside the judgement and teach the people in your churches to love and honor your pastor and his/her family. Find tangible ways to help. Little things. A car wash, daycare for a night out, a two night stay in a nice hotel, a good book (that isn’t about a pet doctrine), the lust is as endless as your imagination. Those of you with leadership training can gently instruct your pastor in leadership strategies to enhance skills. Whatever you do, do it in love as into Christ. I guarantee most pastors will give more than the simple , humble tokens of love you give. Lets love each other deeply as God has loved us. The world will know that we are His because we love each other. Blessings. Sam

    • Trish

      You know, Frances Chan left the helm of a powerful Ministry. Sometimes it time to step out and be renewed in a ministry that God gives you control of. Not the board. The church in America is pitiful. If i can use myself as an example, I am just a member of a church and I have experienced most of what you listed. I made a decision just to obey God and not be moved however it hurts. I am in a place where people understand not to come to me with stuff, nor speak it around me, the conversations is short, because my topic is the Lord, however Holy they think I am trying to be I could care less. It was Jesus who saved, kept, loved me and He directs my path. Its a lonely yet not alone walk and I have JOY, PEACE, and the ability to speak to the haters with seasoned word. God is good! What can man do to you? You must stop allowing your flesh to dictate to you. Do your first works over and seek the face of God as when you first got saved. Indeed if you are truly saved. Examine your own self before God and ask Him to direct your path. He did not make a mistake. Past the test and God will open new realms of revelation in Him for your life…. God bless you…

      p.s. I cannot speak like this most times in my fellowship because of the haters. The famous envy line is ” Who does she think she is” The holy one.. lol I laugh, but understand that they are shallow and need deliverance.

      • pjsr

        Not to discount some good sentiments, but Francis Chan had the ability to walk away and do what he is doing because he has a very high income with book sales and speaking engagements. I’m not criticizing him for that. I’m merely saying that the average pastor would quickly out his family in immediate poverty if he did the same thing.

    • Vinnie MacIsaac

      Be of good cheer Shneevels, I have overcome already in you and for you says Jesus to you and all who are hurting like you.

      Remember, you are not alone. A servant is not above His master. The church, yes the church killed Jesus and he was the greatest Pastor of all. If they are killing you then it is only because you are like Him. Be more worried if they did not attack you but understand you are being faithful and the attacks are not against you but the Jesus who is in you. Many who now attack you are sealing their eternal fate so don’t be hurt but rather greatly weep for them.

      Lastly, CS Lewis once said, “nothing that does not die can ever be resurrected.” Jesus is your resurrection as as certain as His Father called Him out of the tomb on that 3rd day, today He calls you to newness of life. Not any new life but John 10:10 new life.

      The day is coming He tells us in Revelation 3:9 that those who claim to be the church but are really the church of Satan will bow at your feet and know that He has loved you. So hold fast to what you have and He will give you more. He is your Lion of Judah, and His might calls you forward to better days. Don’t give up. Don’t go through the motions. His power is there. Only Believe.

    • Kelly Keith Dunn

      WOW! I could have written this post my self! However the I am blessed because I am a Shepherd of Cast Off Men in a Rescue Mission. I use my gifting to help these men so I am being faithful to my calling. My wife loves this because at 5:00 pm I LEAVE and go home!

  • CB

    Apathy. Betrayal. Abandonment. Criticism. How I hate being in parish leadership.

  • Andrew

    I thinkthat the major reason church leaders burn out is that church congregations don’t understand what ittakes to grow a church and they want the pastor to do it all coz he/she knows what they are doing. Or they just don’t care about their pastor enough to actually do anything constructive. Turn up Sunday, nice sermon pastor, will be at the working bee. Pray, fast, weep, care, hurt.That will encourage a pastor, not nice words or emails.And with point 1, if I got 10 compliments and 1 complaint, I could live with that, but that’s not what u get, its the other way round. And that burns you out quick.

  • Robert

    Please do not take this the wrong way whatsoever. I am a minister who is between serving congregations. I have to ask…Have you ever worked as a minister in a congregation? Yes, these situations do take place quite often, however you seem to have missed a couple of points that have occurred in a number of congregations here locally. 1) What happens when members of the church seek to drive out a minister simply because they feel he isn’t the proper fit? 2) What about boards of leaders (not deacons, or elders, just a BOARD) that decide on what’s more important, excluding the minister from any discussion? 3) What happens when a minister is faced with a direct personal attack from the congregation with no evidence other than hearsay? These are problems that have caused division, splits, and yes, ministers quitting too early from their calling. I know of at least 7 ministers that will be glad to share their stories with you. Good article for the most part, but why is it always on the minister?

    • http://pastoretteponderings.blgospot.com Dorcas George

      Amen! What is a pastor to do when he/she is faced with a totally dysfunctional board (or even a flat-out mean one)? I could share my own story, and those of many others that are pretty horrific. And where people apparently felt they were doing God’s work while actually being hateful, gossiping, accusing….and on it goes. Somehow leaders in the church must be accountable too. Not just pastors.

    • Adam Puma Borsay

      I would contend that this is one of the reasons we have seen a growth in the Church plant movement. Many churches are beholden to “non-spiritual” authority structures with personal power/control as an indirect goal/desire.

      There is a wonderful church in my area that in the last 10 years made a dramatic shift in leadership structure. For decades they were lay led and had developed literally dozens of committees and subcommittees that bogged down everything and were always contending over resources and authority. Over the course of 2 years the Elder/Pastoral leadership did an indepth biblical study on the Church and leadership. They were convinced that what they were doing was not the model of the Church in Scripture.

      They proceeded to remove power from the committees and place it with the Elder/Pastors. This was a seismic shift that shattered the Church. So many people were so used to being in control(regardless of spiritual qualifications) that they refused to accept the leadership of the Elders. In 2 years they had lost 75% of their membership. But, 2 years after that, it was nearly back to where it had been.

      And the big difference today is that instead of just existing they are regularly baptizing new believers, discipling people, seeing relationships and marriages saved….which were things that previously were few and far between. Also, when the spiritual leadership has a leading from the Spirit to move in a particular direction it doesn’t take 6-12 months of committee meetings to make it happen.

      So in summation, to address the problems that you indicate requires biblically training the spiritual leadership of the Church to lead the way they are called to lead and be willing to not back down when people get mad about losing their pockets of influence.

      • Pastor David

        As a new pastor of an old church, which was once at 2,000+ members and was down to 6 when I got there (praise God, we’ve almost doubled in 5 months), I’m fighting this battle and will preach on this topic soon. Please pray for me, as I might be out of a “job” soon because of it!

  • John Naude

    I am thankful for this article and I would echo many of the observations. However, I would also say that amidst the hardships there is also a wonderful privilege of seeing God at work in the lives of people – and in yourself!

  • Gary

    Surely the answer to this is right there in the first paragaph? “This staggering number includes some of the brightest, most inspiring pastors in the country”

  • A Lay Person

    Two big things jump out at me here.
    1: Success in the church of Jesus Christ is not measured in numbers of butts and bucks. It’s about discipleship. Is the pastor a disciple of Christ? Are those in the congregation discipled? Do they even know what a disciple is?
    2: The pastor’s main job is to teach the laity to be ministers, and then allow them to minister within and without of the congregation. Then the pastor is to advise and help them where needed. The “church” is the people of God. They need to be empowered to do the work of God.

    • Me

      The view to teach the laity to be ministers assumes there is no priesthood or office of ministry. But there is a separate office. “He gave some to be pastors, etc.” The pastor does not merely replicate himself in many lay ministers. There are men who are a poor excuse of a pastor, but many congregations who have unreasonable time, ability, and financial expectations.

    • P.S.

      This all very true. And as a young Pastor that has told my church multiple times “I would rather have more Disciples than numbers than more Numbers than disciples” my church still wanted the numbes tho. It is one of the reasons i left the. Growth Spiritually should be more important than growth in Numbers anyday as it was since the beggining in Acts. Why as the body have we forgoten some of the most important things in leading and shepperding His people


        Discipleship is, in large part, teaching Christ-followers how to reach and disciple the lost. Numbers are therefore one way of evaluating if discipleship is happening. If no-one is being saved, no is being discipled.

    • farmgirlatheart

      Too many lay people don’t want to be empowered.

  • Billy Mitchell

    What does “leave ministry” mean? Stop getting paid? That’s a bad thing? Does it mean something else?

    • drthmik

      it means that they quit. They stop being a pastor and go do something else like work in a factory or become a teacher or something. so yes, they stop getting payed because they have left, they are gone and not doing ministry. and Yes it is a bad thing.

  • David

    So many leaving, yet I can’t find a church to pastor.

    • Danny

      I too am in the same boat! Since leaving a church two years ago under duress, I’ve only had one church show any interest. I am willing, trained, equipped and available…but I have to believe that God is bigger than my circumstances and has a better plan!

      • Steve

        What happened with the church that was interested?

    • revjkramer

      I am in the same boat brother…I know God has called…

    • Lewis

      I was going to post the same comment! I often read about how pastors are quitting left and right but I’ve been actively seeking a pastoral position for over two years now and nothing to show for my search! I’m beginning to think that the people who write these articles probably see one pastor quit and jump to the conclusion that the sky is falling. I tell you, pastors are happily employed where I am.

    • Adam Puma Borsay

      That is in part due to the statistic stated in the article; 7,000 churches closing, only 4,000 starting. That means there is a net loss of a minimum of 3k churches. Not to mention that those Church plants are rarely looking to hire from “outside” since they generally start with a core team that will be the main staff for quite a while. It would therefore be fair to say that approximately 7000 pastoral positions are being eliminated annually from the labor pool. This also does not take into account the job shrinkage that has occurred with Church shrinkage. There are many churches who have moved from 3-5 pastoral positions to 1-3. Ultimately in the US I am willing to guess that we are seeing upwards of 10,000+ pastoral positions being eliminated annually. As someone who entered full time ministry 10 years ago, that means in my short tenure we may have seen 100,000 full time jobs go away.

  • Carl Robinson

    It would be nice if this article said anything about Jesus.

  • I left too

    Another blame the pastor article. The real reason pastors leave is a severely dysfunctional church at all levels that blames pastors for systemic problems.

  • K.P.

    Those who just hang in there because they can’t get employment elsewhere, seem to have forgotten the call of God. Others were never called by God to be Pastors but entered into unfruitful ministry due to pride, or the mistaken belief that they have what it takes to Pastor a congregation. Some of the comments below, are very sad. It seems There Pastors/ex Pastors who have bitterness and hurt due to their treatment by either congregations or boards. To those I say, If you are certain about your calling, fix your eyes on Jesus and imagine how rejected and un-wanted He could have felt as He went about His Fathers business, only to be murdered by those He came to teach and to set free. If you are not able to Pastor sacrificially out of love, ask God for His love to reign in and through you. Ask the Father to help you to love as He loves. To give you a Shepherds heart. If you are still unable to Pastor due to circumstances, or if you just feel trapped in ‘the job,’ then ask Him to lead you to where He wants you to go. Even if that means no job for a time. If we are not in God’s will, we are wasting precious time.
    To those precious Brothers and Sisters who have suffered ‘burn out,’ for whatever reason, may God’s peace, His joy and restoring grace be poured into you like a river as you read these words, and allow Him to refresh you, heal you and prepare you for the next phase in your walk with Him.

  • Joseph Eniowoi

    All these could be facts but if Pastor’s life is hidden indeed in Christ Jesus who calls and commissions then the matter of staying or quiting the ministry is ultimately for Him to decide,but l know He can’t contradict Himself.

  • http://c-mog.blogspot.com/ Drae

    You know I read all these comments and one main theme seems to be at large. If the Pastor treated this as a call and not a job then his desire to serve and please the Lord would be paramount. Now in part I do agree, but somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that we are HUMAN. And somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten that we once lived a very sinful life, one that was probably habitual. My reason for saying this is this. These tips are not to blame anyone but to shed some light on some human issues that some of us struggle with. It may be all of these it may only be one but somewhere along the line a human frailty that we thought was taken care of within us resurfaces. Please Please remember that Jesus is all God, but he most definitely was all man. And he had struggles of his own that he had to face. That narrow road is not easily seen and requires guidance. This post is just that, simple guidance. Thank you for this post it will help me in future ministry. – Be blessed and a blessing

  • Keith

    Are you blind? Or is it that you just can’t see! The inability to buy good Health Insurance is the number one reason preachers are leaving the full time, paid Christian Ministry!

  • unclejb

    I am a bi-vocational pastor, as are many today. Take these issues plus the comments below and multiply by 2,3,4 or 5. It sometimes seems that the bi-vocational pastors are overlooked in the realm of ‘Real Preachers and Churches’. Not griping, just observing. There is no such thing as part-time ministry.

  • KJS

    As a pastor for 26+ years I have seen lots of men go into the ministry and seen many leave for one of the reasons here or even others. The number one issue I have seen is that somewhere along the line, their relationship with God has suffered. Ministry in our own strength or for the wrong motives will never last. It is neither a job or a position, it is a vocation and a calling from God. If you are called then you will find the grace of God for your place, those that want a 9 to 5 job – find something else (anything else) to do and do it with all your heart. My family is blessed, both of my children are serving God, in other countries then my wife and myself and different from each other, yet we remain close. The key is your relationship with God – take time in prayer, the Bible (not just for sermons) and even in a time of fasting, this is with where the strength comes from. Just a thought….

    • RevLuckett

      Great answer KJS. We must remember it’s a calling. i’m a bivocational pastor and I do chuckle at the fact when I speak to other Pastors or organizations on the phone, they assume that i’m at the church and do not work a job. The article has some strong points and using the measuring stick with other churches is something we must not do. I believe those 2 souls are important as 2000. We are a new church plant, i’ve had as many as 35 in service and as a few as 4. But I preached to them in the same manner. And 1 told me that she thanks God that she has a church home because she needs it. And to be honest, that did wonders of encouragement for me.

      • KJS

        I am ‘pioneering’ a church as well right now, as well. The numbers are all over the place, but what keeps me focused is that God has called me here (which is a long story) and that there are many lost and needy people in this city. Wanting to quit is normal (even the Apostle Paul wanted to – and he was a bi-vocational pastor) but there is the reward – lose sight of that and you will quit (either in spirit or in actuality – or worse open yourself to sin). This is why Jesus ask Peter “Do you love ME (not preaching – or ministry – or even the people) then feed my sheep..
        Thanks for the nice words RevLuckett

  • Barry Nall

    I edit my previously negative statement. I am concerned about the dropout rate of pastors in our culture. Many of the colleagues I started with have stepped away. Pastors bear a certain amount of responsibility, but I believe the degradation of our culture and general lack of respect for leadership is primary.

    • Thomas C Dietz

      Barry, I would be grateful if you would (gently) share your experience so that we can use your wisdom in His service.

      • Barry Nall

        Thomas, I was in a great deal of pain the day I responded to this article. To say I was highly discouraged would be an apt description. In rereading this article, I agree with it in every respect. However, I do think the 80-10-10 is not realistic, at least for me. I do not want to come off as sounding self pitying. I am not unhappy, not backslidden, not quitting pastoral ministry. I am blessed and honored to serve God, and I will as faithfully as I can, as long as my health holds out, I leave for heaven, or Jesus returns. I really am sorry for sounding bitter and complaining. I regret it.

        • Thomas C Dietz

          Barry, thanks for being honest, true, and vulnerable. That takes a strong person. To be sure, what you say is true. I have an aunt & uncle who were missionaries & teaching pastors abt 20 years who are now in the same position as you & I’m on my way as well. The Levitical priests served 20 yrs, retired @ 50, & were cared for by the nation. God Himself established a retirement package. This is our model, but established system’s like a spoiled adult child. I’m type 1 diabetic & no insurance either.

    • Bonnie

      I think this article just addressed every issue you stated that you have a problem with, did you really read the article with an understanding? Perhaps you were too worn out.

      • Barry Nall

        You are correct, Bonnie. I’m sorry.

  • Danny

    I was in a situation where the “Delta Culture” would not accept us city folks. My wife was never embraced by the other ladies in our church. In fact one of my deacons told me to be sure I kept my moving boxes. Like some I probably left to soon…but I was about to lose my wife (emotionally) I hope God gives me another opportunity…but until then I will bloom where I am planted!

  • Oluwaseun Olotu-oke

    Thank you for this. Well said and packaged.God bless you.

  • KelliD

    I wish other church leaders..elders / deacons…or whomever would be appropriate to address the church body, would speak frankly to the constituency on behalf of pastors about how important it is to support and encourage our leaders. We need to create a safe environment for pastors to be able to express their needs…without fear of judgment.

    • Tee

      This is absolutely vital, yes! We must understand the enemy’s tactics is to attack the leaders first, since he knows the flock can more easily scatter that way. Deacons, elders and pastors need to be brothers arm in arm and declare victory in Christ’s love and name against the enemy!

  • Emilia Sabonket

    Thank God for this opportunity to conect to your ministry today.

  • Rev Eric Afenyi Kwesi

    Thank you for the actilc God blessed you

  • Old Swabbie

    Number 11 will be the fact that most non-profits, including churches, are bad about paperwork and that paperwork can get the church sued, the pastor jailed, etc. There are so many regulations that require tons of paperwork that a non-profit has a hard time keeping up with it and if the people responsible for getting that paperwork done make a mistake or fail to file they come after the pastor. He has to be a CEO and either control all of that stuff adding to the burnout or have great trust in the people it is delegated to and hope they are perfect, which they are not.

  • Grady Walton

    Wow! Judging by this article, and many of the comments, there are a lot of unhappy (to say the least) members of the clergy out there. I wonder if MD’s, lawyers, or psychiatrists encounter some of the same career killers. Anyhow, I’m a little skeptical about number 7. From my observations, some pastors tend to include a lot of daily life activities in the category of “ministry” hours worked. For instance, if my pastor helps me build a shed in my backyard because he likes to work with his hands and I need the help, is it really time on the clock for the pastor? Here’s another example: the pastor who puts in 20 hours a month working for free in a ministry unrelated to his church . . . does that 20 hours count as time on the clock? I’ve no doubt many pators put in long hours, but the line between work and personal life can get blurry for pastors.

  • David

    As a former pastor who spent 38 years in the ministry I can identify with all the above except for number four I think God I never had a moral failure of any kind even though there were many temptations. Unless you wear the shoe you will not know where it rubs. So many church members completely misunderstand what a pastor goes through. I am presently teaching at a Christian University and enjoying every minute of it. I tried to share this perspective with my students both leaders and members of their respective churches

  • Kelly Muncy Ferguson


  • Monua Cary

    I’m going to make some suggestions here. Being in a position of authority and responsibility means being in a position of total Personal Accountability and Responsibility. Living your life with balance and understanding WHO you are as a person, who you’re created to be, and WHO you are in Christ.
    If God called you to the ministry, He knows how to fix things, and He knows how to fix your situations. You cannot control the people in your congregation, you cannot control anyone really. However, the only person you can control is you. As for certain things like morality…dude, pull it together. Doesn’t matter how dark the room is, God still sees. It’s when we lose our Fear of The Lord, and our Christianity is more routine than relationship is when we get into a lot of trouble. It happens, people make mistakes, but you gotta remember WHO you represent…24/7. People are watching your life, and not just Christians. If you can’t handle the responsibility, go do something else. Surrounding yourself with good leaders and close people who are accountable in authority will help…a lot. You might even have to go out and get a job that will sustain you. It is not a failure to do so. Paul was a tent maker, he worked during his ministry. Ministry is serving. Plain and simple. Family relationships are tricky, but the Lord can work it out. Remember, balance balance balance. And Personal Accountability and Responsibility is moment by moment for a lifetime. As the days draw to a close, being a Christian is very unpopular and we will eventually have to sacrifice our very life for our beliefs. Jesus said the world will HATE you. Which means the devil has a big target on your back….It is what it is. Just a thought. :)

    • jerdags

      Amen to that…truly if you really a called pastor by our God, then these obstacles are easy to overcome by God’s grace….

      • jerdags

        And why the pastor quit , rest and pray if you must but don’t quit…..

  • dsm

    Some of the comments here are clearly from persons who are not in ministry. Just keep your eyes on Jesus….yes…that’s correct for 2hundred Alex while I take this knife out of my back. I am blessed to have walk away from pastoral ministry, found restoration as a staff pastor and now pastor full time again. Persons who give answers like that probably give the ministry a dollar, use the ministry when they need something and quote scripture selectively.

  • Pastor Paul Evans

    thank you brother for sharing those 10 points they have been very helpful God bless you

  • Sam O’Donnell

    Tim, thank you for the article. I found it both timely and informative. May I have permission to develop a checklist for new pastors from it? There are great, practical, suggestions in it that would be a great starting point.

    • Tee

      Found it useful, too.

  • Serogole Dioka

    I have quit Ministry and I see 6 points mentioned here as reasons why I have quiet.I have no peace, no joy and my life is directionless.

    • Sam O’Donnell

      My friend I pray that you find peace and rest. May The Lord comfort and console you and may you feel His deep love for you. May He give you the direction you need and may you find hope, help, peace, joy, rest, rejuvenation and restoration in the God that has loved you with an immeasurable love before the foundation of the world. If you need a friend to help you walk through this time send me an email.

      • Serogole Dioka


        • stanley

          Dear Guest,
          My own wife thru an unnamed source brought charges against me for being unfaithful. I was 100% innocent yet my wife did not believe me. The church leadership after many meetings found this to be a false accusation, but it left me a broken person. I could have withstood any attack from any one, except from my very own wife. I eventually closed the church – but my wife continued the accusations daily at home.
          I have questioned the Lord many times about this, yet there has not been an answer. I did however learn an aspect of Christ’s suffering – when he was reviled and falsely accused, he did revile in return.
          It has been 1 year since all this has happened. Even with all the helpful encouragement from friends nobody knows the pain of a servant of God – only the Master does, and he has promised never to leave or forsake us.
          I month after I closed that church, a new ministry opened up where a group of people needing a pastor requested us to come and shepherd them. The only reason I took the post was that I love Jesus more than myself, my wife, my children or any other thing. My wife still accuses me, but I say nothing.
          One day I will stand before Him and I want to hear the words ‘Well done my good and faithful servant”
          I say to all servants of God – Endure till the End, pay the price, no matter what – in the end it will be worth it.
          I am not defined by the ministry, but by what God says.

    • Pastor CSL

      My Dear Brother in Christ, My heart breaks for you that your experiences have left you so wounded. I have just lifted you in prayer. May I share what has comforted me in hard times? Isaiah 43:1-2 assures me that Christ walks with me through the fires and floods of life. Just as the Israelites faced the Red Sea and saw only death ahead of them, God opened a way which they could never have thought could happen. Isaiah 40:27-31 assures me that God sees our troubles and gives us strength when we have none left. 2 Corinthians 11 and 12 shows us that often we will face trials not only from non-Christians, but from those who claim to be Christians as well. 2 Cor. 12:9 assures me that I have Christ’s power when I am attacked by these people. Remember that Christ was deserted by His own disciples when He needed them most. The life of a pastor is difficult because we fight not against flesh and blood, but against Satan and his demons. It is no shame to be war-weary! But don’t lose courage! Ask the Lord to show you where He wants you to work. Don’t give up your calling unless you are 100% sure that God is calling you to serve Him in some other way. Ask God to help you to forgive those who have deeply wounded you. Take some time to pray and to earnestly seek God’s will. Fast and pray. Don’t allow Satan to set your decisions and life’s course. Allow God to heal you and to put you where you can best serve him. I’ll be praying for you thia week.

    • Trish

      This is a dry season for you. You are burnt out because you did not use balance in your own personal life. God called you to give direction not to be pressured by those who you should direct. Its a dry season and God loves you dearly. He understands but God called you and you simply have to allow this season of rest, study, fellowship with the Lord. He is the Lord that heals…And He will heal you and refresh you as never before. Just enjoy your life and wait on the Lord. Keep people out of the intimate space that should only be for you with the Lord…He is going to heal you…Wait on Him and do not put a time frame on it. Nor let others suggest what you should be doing in the Lord. God knows you better than any earthly man. Hes got you back…..

      Keep talking to Him, be happy, sad, cry, hurt, rejoice just be with Him. He knows how to heal you and bring you into a greater place in Him…..

      His Mercies are New Every Morning……

    • Simon

      In a road you will get tired,bored, angry, disappointed, feel rejected, confused you will doubt whether you heard God’s voice in the first place. Always remember that God is looking for workers in His Kingdom not a “kingdom” in our perspective, you can still join in. Talk to God and be patient like Habakkuk for His timing. Sometimes the Lord will give you an interview for patience. It is good to stop if that is the only option in your situation but do not Quit unless God clearly calls you elsewhere to serve Him. Remember God can use you even if you were not a full time pastor to serve in his kingdom. As soon as you are born again you are called to service as a world wide team member of his kingdom, He did not give you a talent that he did not require, the Holy Spirit is our coach, a rough one at times because the war He is preparing us for is brutal, the devil is not ready to let go even one of the ones he has lied to. Take heart brother, l also had packed and was ready to go back to what l regarded home “comfort zone” thank God that He comes at the final hour. I was reprimanded in Joshua 1:9 He reminded me that He had promised He will never leave nor forsake me, my part was to train on Faith in His Word, it is impossible to please God without Faith, that what He has promised/said He will accomplish. May the Lord Jesus Christ appear to you through His Holy Spirit to strengthen you and give you victory by His presence.

  • Bob

    To comment on the contrast between pastors and psychiatrists I have read that one of the highest, if not the highest, suicide rate is among psychiatrists. Steep emotional challenges are not limited to the pastorate. The key is “balance” in your life.

  • disqus_I9J1Z0Cbgm

    To be honest, the above reasons for leaving the Ministry are Symptons that Ministers and Pastors suffer in the ministry! These are not the cause but symptons; please, please, will people wake-up and understand the underlying cause. The Ministry as we know it today and how it is practised by professionals is a far cry from the Biblical mandate. Please read Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola. The ministry was never, never meant to be the Pastor shouldering all the responsibility and the fact is men with their pride and man made institutionalised approach have robbed members of the Church und fulfilling their God given calling to share the Minister and shoulder the load. Also, it must be said that men are willing to pay a so-called professional and this is un-scriptural. We must all minister and work together to fulfill the Great Commission. We need to become the true Church again, no man can shoulder this load, this is why men are falling like flies, simply because they were never meant to do all the work whilst other members sit back and watch. Let’s do the Ministry Scripturally, and let us work together as a team. Read Romans 12 and 1 Cor 12 and realise that we are a body of Believers who minister together. Any other approach is man made and many are too proud to admit this, or, just caught-up in what has become a man managed system with a lot of extras thrown in.
    Please, let us get back to God’s original plan and wake-up God’s people to the truth, that they have their part to do. Stop the endless and meaningless activities and do the ministry…. Together!

    • Brivolbn7q!

      Scripture teaches a plurality of elders leading the church, so that the responsibility does not fall on one man. But it also teaches the financially supporting of men who are doing the work of the Gospel – it teaches it clearly in I Corinthians 9, culminating in verse 13-14: “Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the alter share in what is offered at the alter? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel.”

      As for the body doing the ministry together, yes, definitely yes. But please, please, don’t misuse scripture to push an agenda.

    • farmgirlatheart

      My husband is a pastor of 36 years. He would love to have members help shoulder the burden. In many churches over the years he has tried to encourage members to do this. For the most part they are apathetic. Stop blaming the pastor. It’s not all his/her fault.

      To say that pastors should not be paid isn’t a biblical response. The priest of the Old Testament were cared for. If a pastor isn’t paid for his labor how would he care for his family. The Bible speaks clearly that this is the husband and father’s responsibility. “But if any man does not provide for his own, and
      especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse
      than an unbeliever. ” 1 Timothy 5:8

      Would you work for nothing 60-75 hours per week? Those are the kinds of hours my husband works-meeting the needs of so many. Often this is done without any word of encouragement. Posts like yours only hurt. They do not help. You think pastors do their ministry out of pride? When they are called by God, they know they could do no other work besides ministry. This is who God has made them to be.

      I admire my husband’s stand that this is what God called has called him to do, but I worry about him too. He is faithful and one day he will hear those encouraging words-“Well done, my faithful servant.” Perhaps not on this earth, but by then this earth won’t matter any more.

  • Pastor Gary

    Pastor and Teacher is a spiritual gift from God – Ephesians 4 – I have been pastor and teacher of a Christian church for over 30 years – I’ve experienced all of the “Reasons Pastors Quit”, but by the Grace of God I have been gifted for the work of the ministry, and I would have no peace or joy or direction in my Christian life if I quit. If a person is NOT gifted for the work they will “burn out” eventually. And that’s probably the best thing for that person as well as the Body of Christ.

    • Tee

      I think I’m gifted in teaching, but I was still burnt out. I suppose burning out has nothing to do with whether you should serve, but how you serve, Jonah was frustrated and in a bad mood. But God decided to use him anyways. But I agree that you should take a break when you are burnt out.

  • Josua

    as a church member who no longer attends church I watched Pastors destroyed by the very members who should have supported him or her I live in australia and the standard of the churches have fallen since I became a member in many ways so I guess if the Pastor got the support they deserve and the gossip mongers could be stopped or censored this would be a great help but to often it is left to a few including the Pastor to do everything.

    • Tee

      That’s why people like you should stay and be a support to the pastor and be the change. We go to church for Christ, not specific people. If we do that, there will be a solid group of Christians who will win out the wicked plan of the enemy who wants to discourage through negativity.

  • Barry Nall

    I previously made a negative statement regarding this article, and I regret it. I am not sure exactly what frame of mind I was in when I wrote it, but deeply discouraged and not thinking clearly would be an apt description. The reasons stated in the article are the reasons why many are leaving the ministry today. I think the overall state of the culture degradation, accompanied by a loss of respect or appreciation for leadership is primary as well. Pastors must take responsibility as well, as our expectations may be greater than what is realistic. Unfulfilled, many quit and leave, others are forced out and unsupported even by the groups (denominations) from which they spring. I do ask forgiveness for my negative remark.

    • Thomas C Dietz

      Barry, seeing as how king David, Elijah, Moses and others had similar moments, I’d say you’re in good company. You poured your grievances out to the Lord in public and He cares for you. I’m told in the word to cast our cares upon Him and you have. Now watch Him work for His glory and your blessing!

      • Barry Nall

        Thank you, Thomas

    • Tee

      If you’re in ministry and suffering, take a sabbatical and leave it to God for a year and breathe. Sometimes we worry and grieve and strive. But we just need to rest in His arms and let Him work. Put it in the oven and let the oven bake the cake. Come back when the timer rings. God alone is able. All we need to do sometimes is just take a long vacation and pray. I serve in Asia, but currently I’m considering a long break in Thailand to recoup and spend quality time with God. We are not in control sometimes, and that’s not only okay, it’s maybe a blessing in disguise. After the break, I can come back and make a clear-minded decision about ministry better than I can when I’m discouraged. Let God!

      • Barry Nall

        Tee, I am doing just that, and it has been very good for me in so many ways. I do find myself much more excited about what is to come in my journey. I have no idea what’s next, but I know Whom I have believed in, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day!

  • disqus_I9J1Z0Cbgm

    To Farm-Girl at heart: Please do not miss-understand me, I was not vouching that Pastors and Ministers do not get paid! What I was referring to, both before and after I made that statement, was, that it is not Scriptural for the congregation to pay a Minister to do all the work! With the emphasis on Minister doing ALL the work. The Scriptural mandate is for all members to do the work together, but, as you have said and noted, that many members are apathetic and lethargic when it comes to doing any work, and my point is, this is because they have a mindset that thinks that the Minister does it all and is being paid to do it all, this is of course very wrong, disheartening and indeed dangerous to any Minister and Family, because of the pressure, stress and consequent bad health it brings. Of course your husband should be paid, (Probably twice or three times the Salary he get’s), but the point I am making is that it is un-scriptural to go on carrying this load even if others are not willing to do the work. In other words, if it takes a complete break down of operations because the Pastor rightly decides that his calling is to preaching and teaching, then, so be it, it is going to take something to waken God’s people up. If then, you say, the Church would fall apart, then, again I say, so be it, because, why should your husband be the be and all to everyone just to prop up the Ministry? He is not called to carry the Church, much less build the Church, for Jesus said, I will build my Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. If in the end the Church does not respond, then sadly, they cannot be truly called a functioning Church, because a true functioning Church will pull together and exercise the Body ministry of 1 Cor 12 and Romans 12. There is a big shift going on at the moment and God is visiting every Church and knocking on the door as in Revelation 3:20 and asking for permission to come in and renew fellowship.When God’s people truly understand fellowship in context of fellowshipping with God and with one-another, (Consider the one-another commands of Scripture) then the Church functions as God intended it to. My advice is, if the Church where you and your husband minister do not rise to their God given Mandate, then, for God’s sake, (And I say that empathetically) get out of there. Your husband can only take so much, Please do not watch him have a break down, because that’s what happened to me after 15 years of Ministry. I would love to share the rest of my story with you if you request, because I believe if you hear what I have to say and take certain precautions that you and your husband may need not be the next statistic of ministry fall-out. I plead with you to hear me on this, I can hear the alarm bells and see the flashing lights, and you need to heed God’s voice above all and then take whatever appropriate action He gives. Please be blessed both you and your husband and don’t burn out over a few people who wouldn’t give a toss if you were gone tomorrow, God has got too much planned for you both, don’t despair, God does have good pockets of people who are willing to be led, pray that God would direct you to them, Colin

  • Ryan Peach

    I’m going to make a post that sounds rather harsh, I hope people aren’t offended. A.) I wish pastors weren’t paid, they should have real jobs just like Paul. They could work less too, all they need to do is a sermon each week, I’ve done weekly lectures before, its a few hours a week job if you do it right. We certainly don’t need any more pastors, I don’t like my tithe going to pay someone’s salary. B.) I wish we could drop that +4,000 -7,000 number to +0 -3000, because we have WAY too many churches in America. We don’t need two on every street-corner, if we want more Christians we should work with what we have (in ENORMOUS supply).

    • Brian Phillips

      Firstly, Paul was NOT a Pastor…he was an Apostle (meaning he started churches and oversaw them)…just an FYI the church at Philppi sent him money see: Philippians 4:15-19

      2nd, a Pastor’s job is supposed to strictly be to shepherd the congregation, not to be working at a convenience store to provide for his family. The biggest reason a lot of pastors work outside of the ministry is because of people that don’t see God’s mandate in supporting their pastor. 1 Corinthians 9:14 In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it. NLT.

      3rd, a Pastor’s job is to do more than just a simple sermon a week. Most pastor’s (if congregants actually showed up, prepares for and delivers 3 sermons a week. A sermon is not a lecture that only takes an hour or two a week to prepare for. A pastor’s job also includes visiting the elderly, visiting the sick, counselling those that need counsel, not to mention the fact that they spend a lot of time in prayer for the members of their church, along with spending countless hours in prayer and meditation on the Word to know how and what to say during those “weekly lectures.”

      And lastly, I’m not a Pastor, but greatly appreciate those that are. …How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things Rom 10:15

      • Tee

        So true! Indeed how beautiful!

      • thinkingman777

        Thanks Brian! Well said!

    • Tee

      Those comments sound like they are from someone who doesn’t believe at all.
      The Bible says the worker should be paid. You said you don’t want to pay. The Bible says to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. You said there are too many churches? By the way, the Bible says tithe also.

      It’s prideful to judge the job of a pastor just because you did a lecture once a week. You obviously don’t understand what shepherding, discipleship, accountability, prayers really mean if you think a pastor only prepares a speech per week. I was leading a youth group and even that saw me running around town, praying, organizing, coordinating, visiting needy members, leading small groups around the clock, not to mention interceding, encouraging, seeking God’s will for tons of people. If one serves God, theirr work is not counted in hours, but tears and sweat, and spiritual input, for it’s love and the Spirit that is hard at work. A pastor’s job would only include a wider scope and greater depth. It is beyond a lie to say a pastor’s job is easy!

      If someone says pastoring it’s easy, then they must be only going through the motions, and are not driven by the Spirit nor seek God’s will. They are not taking God’s work to heart.

      I have to say only when I really started to commit to serving did I realize how much love a true pastor must have for them to make the sacrifice they do! The amount of sorrow they have to swallow for a bunch of people who just know how to complain and take the servant for granted. I now know! We should be humble and grateful. For how we receive God’s servant is done to Christ. Those who treat those who serve them diligently with contempt shows also contempt towards God Himself.

    • Daverc

      Ryan, I’m not sure what your job is, but how would you feel if you did not get paid? I was raised in a pastor’s home and am now a pastor. What a shame to think that a true servant of God is not worthy of a wage. By the way, is it possible that we have way too many churches because there are so many sheep that keep running here and there because they don’t think the pastor is worth a dime or they don’t like what the pastor has to say in one of his “lectures”. You are either misinformed or don’t want to see and believe the truth found in God’s word.

      • PD

        Thank you Daverc. I to am a pastor. I speak to so many pastors across the nation who live below the poverty line. I also watch as Christian and non Christian Dog, Humiliate, hate, Degrate, and despise pastors for getting a salary. All I can say is Lord forgive them for they know not what they do. A pastors job is a difficult job. Those looking from the outside have no idea what that job comprises of. This scripture is for you Mr. Ryan Peach. It’s also for the millions of others like you. I need you to READ YOUR BIBLE!! Get an understanding of what YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO!. Let me leave you and your minnions Mr. Peach with this scripture. There are many more like it in the Bible!! God has always taken care of his servants! Always! And he has always used MEN to do it after the rained manna! Here’s one scripture for you Mr. Peach. I need you to read your bible and find more. 1 Corinthians 9;14 (Paul writes). 1 Corinthians 9;14 Even so hath the lord ordained that they which Preach the gospel should live of the gospel. Translation Mr. Peach because i know you don’t know what that bit of scripture means. It means: The ministers of the Gospel in the New Testament have no less holy vocation than the priest of the Old Testament and have the right to receive remuneration for their work.

    • George

      I assume you meant this post to be a joke, because it is…

    • Unknown Christian.

      I don’t mean to be rude Brian Peach, but…Have you realized the human brain and a peach’s seed look alike? You’re not thinking at all, you have no idea of what you’re discussing…Being a pastor myself, I have put money from my pocket to keep ministry going, just like many of other pastors reading your post…Love you kid!! (Don’t know your age, but you sound childlike).

  • Amy

    All I can say is that pastors do WAY more than just preaching a Sunday morning sermon. From calls in the middle of the night to having to leave your relay job to go visit a sick/dying person to cleaning/fixing up the church or helping people financially or by donating food. . I know I’m dating one!

  • Twinsfan1

    My reason for leaving the pastorate was basically God telling me that the job He had for me at the church I was leading was coming to a close and He had another “post” for me – collegiate ministry. I am now “pastoring” college students through a student ministry located throughout the US and Canada.

    However, in the 12 years I pastored at the one church I led, I felt most of the things on this list.

    Some of the responses given are very simplistic and naive. I’m sure EVERY pastor who has gone through these trials believes they are trusting God to get them through, and that He will make everything work out. It’s simply not true that every situation will be healed by God; and that doesn’t mean He has failed or not been true to His Word. Sometimes a pastor has to leave – either that church or the ministry entirely.

    Yes, some were probably never called in the first place, but they believed they were called and were obedient to that. Stop assuming they were just in it for the job or title. And being “called” to ministry does not always mean they were called to that specific church.

    Ministry is often painful. During my tenure, there was an episode when a few families actively campaigned to have me removed, and involved our District Superintendent in their efforts. I was misunderstood and misquoted, and in the situations where I found out I had hurt someone, I actively sought their forgiveness. But the back-biting continued.

    THANK GOD for a couple board members who saw through the unbiblical approach these people took, and for the DS who recognized it as well and supported me during this very hurtful time.

    I wanted to leave so badly, and I begged God for a phone call from another church offering me a staff position. But I knew that for the time being I needed to stay. I did, and the other parties left. God brought much healing to the church through all of that.

    I was bi-vocational the entire time I pastored. “Trusting God” for Him to pay all of my bills with the small amount from the church would have been foolish faith, not wise or childlike faith. The mortgage company and electric company don’t care if you work for a church that can’t pay you enough for your very modest lifestyle. They want their money! Nothing in Scripture says we are to just take what the church can afford and not work outside the church if necessary. I would have loved to be able to focus on the church full-time. It just wasn’t possible. And so some stuff fell by the wayside. For instance, visitation was reserved for the sick and elderly. I didn’t have the time or energy to simply visit people in the congregation just to fulfill an unscriptural expectation. I visited every home that invited me, but I couldn’t just try to get through the membership/attenders list.

    As for getting help, one thing many pastors have learned is that you will probably have to go outside your congregation (and oftentimes outside of your denomination) to get that help, or you run the risk of having your struggles shared with the entire church.

    And a Sabbatical? Forget it for many pastors of small churches. I was supposed to be allowed to take a paid Sabbatical after 10 years. My board shot it down in a heartbeat after one suggested that many pastors don’t want to return after taking one. Gee, why would that be???? Taking a Sabbatical is great for those who can, but what about for those who can’t? What answer do you have for them?

    I couldn’t even take a 2-week vacation (I was supposed to have 3 or 4 for my length of service), because I worked part-time at my other jobs and didn’t get vacation benefits. I couldn’t afford to lose the pay from my other jobs. We haven’t had a real family vacation in over 15 years. Thankfully my new position will allow that to happen (once I get all my support raised, that is!) and they actively press for vacation and Sabbaticals when necessary.

    In summary: these things are VERY real, and the answers aren’t nearly as neat and simplistic as many that are offered here. My heart bleeds for those who feel they cannot leave – either because they feel like they are trapped, or because they honestly believe God is telling them to stick it out. May God show Himself faithful to all of you, and may He bring healing and hope to you as well.

  • In Pain

    ask for help??? we have no place to go, denominational leaders are about growing churches not gleuing back together broken preachers, we are EXPENDABLE…

    • I am a Rock – I am an Island

      so true – I would NEVER ask for help from anyone within my denomination – or in my own town. I’ve seen too many fellow pastors “left without appointment” because they confessed a prblem – not moral failure – just a problem.

    • Ben

      In Pain have you heard of the comforter whom Jesus sent to us. have you called on His name? I will pray for you if you don’t mind. Father comfort this man who is thinks He is alone remind him of your promes that you will never leave him no never heal his broken heart in Jesus name I pray. Ben

    • RJ

      I have found a group of three other pastors in my city who are facing many of the same challenges I face. We meet for prayer monthly, then pray for one another throughout the month. I can call any of these men at any time, and know that they will be there for me. They are not in my denomination. I would never trust my denominational leadership.

      Find a few pastors who are facing the same struggles you are, and commit to praying with them and for them. The best people to go to when you are broken are those who are willing to admit that they too are broken. Never trust a pastor who says they have it all together.

  • Watcher

    The #1 reason? They’re not good at it.
    I’ve endured too many Saturday Night Special sermons, cringed when they can’t articulate the Son of God and Holy Spirit, and winced when they ignore visitors or make stupid remarks.
    But somehow, competence, leadership, and affability aren’t anywhere in the article’s list.
    There are many who fail because expectations and results are two different things.
    Behind the scenes efforts (which are usually never seen) make the work of the successful appear easy. Ask the actors, singers and entrepreneurs who gave up. Many try to copy what looks effortless only to discover the truth about the endeavor and themselves.

    • Teejey

      Watcher since you seem to have the answer why not start a church and see how you will fair.

      • Carl

        notice his name is “watcher” and not “doer”

        • steve

          Yes Moses was a wonderful speaker. Not. But a leader non tbe less. Men look at the outward to see leaders (Saul) God looks at the heart (David).

  • Ruth Reynard

    Yes to the above but basically, when people pay tythes they believe they own the pastor. As we are all basically selfish, this is a horrible journey of control, manipulation and ungratefulness. In short, people can become mean. Also, if the pastor is trying to hold a marriage together and be a good father while being bossed about by selfish people, he has to make a choice for survival or death.

  • RJ

    One of the roots of many of these problems is a lack of self-differentiation. Pastors are afraid to be accused of being lazy if they are seen in the gym working out during the day. They burn out because they are afraid that the church might not run well if they are gone for two weeks, and even more afraid that the church will get on just fine without them for a few weeks. The criticisms are especially damaging to their egos because they have a need for approval.

    I know this because I have to fight to keep self-differentiated in my parish ministry.

  • Ben

    allow me to ask a question what kind of church are you all going too. if you are not called to be pasture, than you can not be a pasture. the root cause is no faith in Jesus who is our master shepard. yes times are getting harder but the tree is being shaking. the day is close at hand, keep your eye on Jesus not your circumstandes.
    what kind of teaching is going on in your church? are you pasters obeying the cammand
    Jesus gave to Peter feed my sheep what kind of food are you pasters feeding Gods people. If you believe in Jesus Christ than live as you believe. My name is Ben a son of God because of Jesus.s work

    • RJ

      I am called to be a pastor in the parish I am serving. I have no doubt about that. I do my best to keep my eyes on Jesus. I proclaim the gospel and lead the people in the worship of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

      I am also imperfect. I still have struggles. It still hurts when people attack me. My family still struggles when they see people attack me, or when people expect them to be perfect.

      I thank you for your reminder to keep my focus on Jesus. I ask that you would forgive those of us who have not attained perfection, but still struggle with many challenges.

      • Michelle

        It’s O.k, because no one is perfect except for Jesus. After all we were born as sinners. As long as we stay in the right direction towards Jesus. We will be O.k. My name is Michelle and I think too many people focus on perfection, we can’t be perfect with sin in our lives. GOD is good.

        • Michelle

          Also to repent.

  • Joe Moleski

    I did not read all of the comments below, but I have often wondered the same thing… But, I had/have a slightly diffrent spin. You see, I went to a small Christian college and never intended to go into the paid/vocational ministry. However, I do beleive that all of us (christians) are called to be IN the ministry. My spin on the topic is: “Why are all/most of our boys/girls (from my college) leaving the ministry”? Is it because of the school, world, person, church, denomination, etc…? Since I figure problems out for a living wih statistics (lean six sigma – google it), I would love to help out with this issue if anyone is interested in helping me… Thanks!

  • Carl

    How old is this article? Some comments are 7 months old..

    • pjsr

      They repost the articles from time to time, particularly if the article was popular enough to solicit numerous comments.

  • Frank

    I often see articles that claim “1700 pastors per month leaving ministry”, or some similar words, but I just don’t believe it. As a person who searches for open pastoral positions weekly, I can attest to the fact that I haven’t seen 1700 different job announcements over the past 3 years of looking, let alone in one month! There is no way this number is acurate. I see maybe 3 new openings a month in my half of the state I live in (not counting worship pastors, those are a dime a dozen; and they don’t preach or worry about whatever the latest doomsday article is about).
    If there are any openings in the Seattle metroplex please let me know, I’d love to come talk with you!

    • thinkingman777

      Hi Frank: The stats vary from 1,500 to 1,700 per month. It wouldn’t surprise me if the numbers go up in the days ahead. Most churches don’t advertise for a new pastor. They have mechanisms in place to find another pastor without running an ad for one.
      I’ve been a pastor for many years now and I assure you, we wouldn’t run an ad for another pastor.
      If you do find a pastoral position in the Seattle area, you better be called, and you better know how to stay built up in the Spirit. Just saying. Blessings!

    • me

      Hi, I think you are forgetting that churches are closing at a rapid pace and those left open are being combined so 1 pastor covers 2 and 3 churches reducing the need for pastors. I knew one pastor whom had 5 churches all 20 miles apart in south hill country. There are what used to be 5 pastor positions now covered by 1 pastor. In the Methodist faith in the 6 yrs I was with them in our district we went from 131 churches and 6 yrs later there was 91 churches which were combined and most pastors had 2 or 3 churches. So 1700 pastors leaving country wide is not far off. Oh and as the Associate Superintendent replied when asked about the 9.7% reduction in churches per…….”I see no reason for concern” Really? Oh well they are smarter then we are.

  • Brother Christopher

    Tim ~ thank you for the perspective… and the encouragement. Sometimes, it is VERY hard to be a pastor. It is nice to have someone to come alongside and give a little understanding. PRAYER and spending time in God’s Word ( particularly the Psalms!) is one of the biggest personal helps that I have found, as well as finding another pastor friend (preferably outside of my denominational world) with whom I can sound off and reflect. Willful Sin and Discouragement are the biggest enemies of any pastor. Please pray for those who serve our Lord’s Church!

  • David Coody

    The church is like an automobile if the car loses its power and the driver has to push it then it will get tiring, the powerful church will carry you and you will not burn out as much.

  • Tell It Again

    I think about the moral failures of our nation and of many of our churches and I’ve concluded a different perspective. For many years we’ve heard it said to “judge not lest you be judged.” We feel superior if we withhold our judgment on others no matter what they are doing. The church has been content to let these pastors do all the calling out on sin while the laity postures itself as innocent bystanders. The truth is in the very next verse Jesus was asking my what measure are you judging. It is wrong to judge others by our own standards or legalistic rules but it is always necessary to use the Word of God as the measuring stick. When the Corinthians wrote Paul about the guy having sex with his step mother, Paul said, “I don’t even have to be there… I’ve judged this matter already. Don’t you know we are going to judge angels? How much more these earthly matters.” Jesus went further and said, “Beware of false prophets.” So it is not only permissible to call out sin, but mandated by the Bible. Yet we’ve left all of this to the pastors. Today, the government calls for hate speech if the pastors speak out of sin or the church may become sued. So now what is left is the shell of a church that looks like any other club and in many places it has lost its influence on the community or its salt. So, the gay agenda runs wild, adultery, gossip, and the most ungodly of music in our worship settings because we’ve been told to judge nor lest you be judged. Guys are holding girls over their heads in our altars and passing them around (body surfing) while non Christian music is played as worship and the world sees no difference in us and them. It has been the greatest trick ever played on the church by the devil and today we wear a muzzle and our pastors are defeated and alone. Sin is not called out today, but instead it has joined the laity.

    • Simon

      I do believe that it is easier starting where we are as individuals and trying as much as possible to do the right thing as an example and as well as stay in prayer for the Lord to help in those areas that are difficult to change on our own.

  • http://poweradvertise.net PASSAGEMAN

    I see in Scripture the “answer” to this profound problem. And it is very nice that God has already given us the answer, a couple of thousand years ago! In 1st Corinthians Chapter 12 we see clearly the teaching of the “gifts of the Holy Spirit.” The ministering of the Church is to be done by the “whole Body of Christ” or the members of the Church. It is not to be done by the Pastor alone. It is often when the pastor tries
    to be the only one to do the “work of ministry” that many of these bad things happen. It is for the “full body of believers” to do the work of ministry. The five fold ministry and the members of the Church (see Eph. 4:11) are the ministers of the Church. The pastor and all of the 5 fold ministers are to “train” the members of the church to do the work of ministry!!! passageman7@yahoo.com

    • Simon

      True, Passageman. Being acquainted with reality of the Holy spirit and learning His communication adds live and sustainability in the equition.

    • David

      Amen Ephesians 4

    • jimmy

      That is our duty as a shepherd, Feed..Train, Commission and repeat. Ive been a pastorfor 9 years…our little church has grown spiritually and in numbers…but im concerned that there doesnt seem to be a desire in our people to heed Gods call to ministry. I want to follow jethros advice but where are the Elders?? Where are the Young men who will choose a life of serving rather than looking for a career to serve themselves? Im not complaining..I want to turn the reigns over to a Pastor that can take this to a new level…ill gladly start another church and repeat the process….

  • christoph

    I think another very important topic would be “10 reasons Pastors stay too long beyond their time.” During my seminary time I was associate part-time Pastor (evangelism/discipleship) at a church around 125-150. Then key leaders left the church. Now that church is down to less than 20. I believe that pastor stayed on too long, or had not the capability move the church beyond that level. I believe these key leaders who moved to other churches lost confidence in him. Another Pastor I know just waits for retirement. He’s in his early 60’s. His sermons would get him in any homiletic class -D or worse.

  • Paul Ntshumayelo

    Help me guys, I am serving a congregation of almost 3000 members in the informal settlement/ squatter camp. I am directly affected by those 10 reasons. I hardly get time to rest, I am always out serving my congregation and my marriage suffers and I have a burn out please help

    • Joseph Perricellia

      Dear Brother,
      It sounds like you need to understand that you are not Superman. Take Jethro’s advice to Moses and pray for God’s help to raise up leaders to aide in ministry. This will help you as well as be a blessing to them. Don’t rob others of the blessing of ministry which we enjoy every day.
      God bless you.
      Pastor Joseph Perricellia

    • yonmie

      Your family comes first! Go on a vacation and enjoy life!

      • R we Cavanaugh

        I agree!
        God, Family and then Ministry. Take care of yourself and your family first. Sheep always think about their needs first. But God is thinking about you!

  • SES

    So pitiful. We are lowering of what a “man of God” is suppose to be. Can you imaging apostle Paul or Peter wanting to quit because of one of this reasons? What we need is real man of God. Is to much to ask in the ministry men like. Moses, Paul, Peter, John Mark, Charles Spurgeon etc. We do not need momy boys.

    • guasabara

      Meaning Moses the one that was too insecure to start God’s mission after the Lord himself ask him to do so, the one that was burned out and his father in law had to tell him to make judges, the one that was so angry that broke the ten comandments stones made by the hands of God. Paul the one that said that what he did not wanted to do were the thing he did. mmmm Paul, I wonder what were those things. Peter the one that after seeing all the miracles before his eyes denies the Master three times and was already warned about it. Master dies and he decides to leave his ministry to go back were Jesus had take him out from which was fishing, and I could go on and on. How pitiful was Elisha inside a cave after murdering hundreds of profets of Bahaal and runing away from one woman. See its people like you that woumd this men of God, with comments like this one, people that think they are so strong spiritualy and so holy, that dont have the same mercy to this wounded men that Jesus had. This pitiful mens of God as long as they are alive their ministerial history is not over. Is people like you that kill the ministry of God by calling this men pitiful but yet were where you when this mens were alone in tears praying you take you time to judge them.

    • Elder Harry L. Jackson

      Don’t worry. Your turn is coming quite soon. As a matter of fact, simply by writing and posting a statement like that, you just opened the door. Trust me, after 20 years in ministry, I’ve been there.
      “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” -2 Corinthians 10:12

  • Frederick Clayton

    I Pastored a church for six (6) toiling & spinning with no results, I finally realized that God was and has called me to be an Evangelist upon obeying his voice I see the blessing better than ever what he is doing and has ordained for my life.

  • “T”

    I am a pastor that is trying to overcome a church hurt. About 3 yrs ago I was put out of a church that the deacon inform the police that the church was in their “name” and they wanted me off their property. The membership was inform that they the deacon had made a decision to get rid of me and there was nothing they (church member) could do/say about it. After about a month of praying and talking to several member from the old church. I decide to start a new ministry, the growth of the new ministry has been slower than I though and the pain of the old ministry will not go away. There are time when I have even question God on “why” and there are time when I feel like quitting the new ministry. But evertime I consider it, the present of the few people gives me hope. The pain of the old church and the slow growth of the new church is those good reasons to quit?

    • Bill

      Dont give up ! Look to God and forgive , God gives the increase not Man !

  • DaleH

    I fed a hungry family that showed up at our VBS some ham sandwiches and potato chips. I offered chocolate cake (donated) to some children. I gave food from our food pantry for needy people to some needy people. I chose some songs for the sermon series I am preaching. I dared to preach on homosexuality when a prominent family has a homosexual in it.
    We increased in one year the attendance from 27 to 80, new members by 12 this year, conversions 15 this year, and baptisms 20. We started Sunday School and youth programs, etc.
    And I am being forced to leave because the Chairman’s wife does not feel we should be feeding anyone, ‘giving food’ to needy people, and she is so angry, she has spread this to the church, and not one soul will do anything.
    I now have to ask permission to run my air conditioner in my office.
    I have worked seven days per week, 12-15 hours per day, every day for a year. No breaks. For $2000/month for a family of 6. If I want to take lunch, I have to get permission. I do hospital visits on non-office hours, and I am required to teach 5 Bible studies per week. My wife has to come by if she wants to see me, but she dare not stay. I no longer turn in my expenses, because they are scrutinized beyond measure, and if I do get paid, it may be months later.

    • me

      I understand entirely what you are going thru. I lived your horror for 6 yrs. What I found was that discrimination does not happen to white males in the denomination world. Without even asking I know you are in liberal denomination. I too was and was treated horribly. I worked 70 hours a week and my pay was for 18 hrs a week. My secretary, a 78 yr old gossip beyond believe destroyed me daily during her hours and hours on the daily and now that I have left ministry she continues to destroy men. The denomination leadership would call me in just to scream at me. It was by far the most discriminatory job I have had or seen. If you were female, gay, or black you had it made.

      • Guest

        Not tire, because Black pastors deal with the same Pastor.

        • me

          I wish there was an edit feature on this site. After I hit enter 5 months ago I saw it did not say what I wanted it to. What I meant to say was that male pastors are being discriminated to the max in the denomination’s I actually tried to apply to the Presbyterian faith and the website would not take my resume if I checked “male”. A young female got the job after it was open for 3 full years. All the while I was trying to apply but the district superintendent(female) acted like either apply on line or not at all but it would not work if I checked “male” . So I sent my resume directly to her and she went crazy because I did not send it thru the website. If it truly was about filling the position with a qualified candidate it would not have mattered how she got my resume. Look at the listing if new hires by the Methodist faith and you will see if is mostly young girls. I tried to apply to the Church of Christ and they replied that “you are not what we are looking for” without even meeting with me only saw a picture.

    • Thomas D. Sands

      It is so crazy how we as Pastors go through hell, just to help those who are in need.

    • Santosh

      Pray and ask God for manifestation of your vision… Ask God if you need to start. Church

  • DaleH

    One more thing….
    I am going to have a meeting in 40 minutes, and at that meeting, I am being asked to apologize to the Board Chairman’s wife because of my moral failure to ask permission to feed hungry people a sandwich and because I failed to schedule someone to specifically cut a cake for children (although there were 10+ people standing around).
    Yes, I am going to accept full responsibility for knowlingly preaching texts that may offend people, for buying a broom to sweep with and thinking that the church should reimburse me, and for selecting two older Christian songs for our sunday service.

  • me

    I left ministry recently totally beat up and destroyed. God called me years back from a very good job in the business to be a pastor ending up in a denominational church in a very tough neighborhood in a severely depressed city. In the business world I was treated with respect and my decisions were honored. In the church world it was quite different. The denominational leadership treated me lke yesterdays garbage actually calling me names behind closed door meetings. Young female pastors were greatly valued and given special perks and as a 60 yr old white male I was not seen as of any value in fact was given an open opportunity at any time to quit. Why they even hired me I will never know. In fact I was placed on probation for no reason at all just because they could. I was given the rougest failing church (6 people) in a very dangerous neighborhood while the “desired” pastors were placed in the growing yuppy neighborhoods in the suburbs and then we were judged based on our successes. Much to their surprise my “bad” church grew to 75 people so how did they respond? By pulling me in and chewing me out because I was doing too much and the next pastor would never be able to compare making them look bad. Really? I was supposed to stop trying so hard, so the next pastor didn’t have to do their job? This sounds really crazy but true. Welcome to the wonderful world of liberal denomination.


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