The Secret Pain of Pastors
Philip Wagner offers insight into the six major struggles pastors face in the ministry and how to overcome them.
Peter Drucker, the late leadership guru, said that the four hardest jobs in America (and not necessarily in order, he added) are:
- The President of the United States
- A university president
- A CEO of a hospital and
- A pastor
Is that true? Pastors love God and love people. They get to pray for people, lead people to a faith in Jesus Christ, and teach the Word about God.
That’s the dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf and preach. I want to do that!
Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for wimps.
This is the reality—the job of a pastor can be 24/7 and carry unique challenges.
Some pastors wear themselves out trying to help people. Some wound their families because they are so involved in ministry. Others flourish in their ministry and personal life.
Approximately 85 percent of churches in America have less than 200 people. Sixty percent of churches are under 100 people. The average size congregation in the U.S. is 89 people, according to The Barna Group. Staffs are small, and needs are great. In many situations, the pastor needs to be a Bible teacher, accountant, strategist, visionary, computer tech, counselor, public speaker, worship director, prayer warrior, mentor, leadership trainer and fundraiser.
Who can be all of that?
- Ninety percent of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they
thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
- Seventy percent say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
Personally, I love being a pastor. I have a great staff. We have great people in our church. I am content whether going through good times or difficult seasons. Of course, it’s a lot easier to be “content” when things are good. I have great friends who are pastors. My marriage is strong. I am a better man because of my time in ministry.
Some of the unique problems that pastors face are: