In a blog post last week, LifeWay President Thom Rainer talks about the eight major struggles pastors face, based on his own contacts through social media, emails and calls. He cites, these, listed in the order of frequency he has seen:
• Criticism and conflict. I do have a few observations about this number one issue. First, it seems to be growing, and pastors seem to be experiencing greater challenges. Second, most of the issues of conflict are not doctrinal issues. Indeed, most are trivial issues. Finally, very few pastors are equipped and trained to deal with the steady stream of critics and crises.
• Family problems. Many pastors struggle with expectations by church members of their spouses or children. Others struggle with finding time for their families. Many pastors’ families struggle with the glass house syndrome.
• Stress. The pastor’s life is one of emotional highs and lows. It includes critics and adoring fans. Expectations from church members can be unreasonable. The very nature of a pastor’s call into ministry can lend itself to seemingly unending stress.
• Depression. Every time I write about this topic, I hear from countless pastors and staff. Depression is pervasive in pastoral ministry. It is often the secret problem.
• Burnout. Local church ministry can attract two broad types of persons: the lazy and the workaholic. Accountability is often low, and it can be easy to get away with little work, or to work 70+ hours a week. I see more of the latter than the former. (Click here to read the full post.)