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
Some of you may think that it's a dream job. You can read the Bible all day, pray, play a little golf and preach.
Here is the secret. Being a pastor is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart.
The reality is - 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 family because they are so involved in ministry. Others flourish in their ministry and personal life. Here are a couple of statistics about pastors.
- 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.
- 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started.
- 40% report a conflict with a church member at least once a month.
- 85% of pastors said their greatest problem is they are tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.
- The #1 reason pastors leave the ministry is that church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.
- 40% of pastors say they have considered leaving their pastorates in the last three months.
- 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend.
- 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
- 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only 50% still felt called.
- 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
- Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
- Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.
- 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- 45.5 % of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
This is a most dangerous and difficult calling - not to be entered into lightly - and it is a calling that is in dire need of the prayers and support of those in the church, family and of close, personal confidants. That begs the question, are you praying for your pastor? Pastor, do you have someone in your life who is safe? Someone you would consider a friend?
We can't just set aside one month as Pastor Appreciation Month, all the while relegating the other remaining 11 months as critique, criticize and combat the Pastor Months. Pastors need our support and prayers.
The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc. provide the statistics I have used in this blog.