Surveys show that a majority of pastors have few or no close friends, and the result can be deep loneliness. In a recent post at his website, Thom Rainer talks about reasons for such loneliness, then he comments on the potential impact and offers suggested actions to improve the situation:
“Here are the three most common negative consequences of loneliness straight from the mouths of pastors:
“Burnout. Healthy relationships energize people. Loneliness depletes people of energy. The lonely pastor is more likely to experience burnout than those pastors who have developed mutually healthy relationships.
“Moral failure. Unfortunately, some pastors seek to fill the voids created by loneliness by entering inappropriate relationships. Ministries are destroyed and families are torn apart.
“Depression. Some level of depression is inevitable with the lonely pastor. Some of it can be very serious.
“Three Solutions. I plead with pastors to who are experiencing loneliness to take one or all of the following steps:
“Find a confidant. Be intentional about developing a healthy relationship with someone. That person may be a pastor in another town, but don’t stop until you have found such a person.
“Involve your spouse. Many pastors are reluctant to involve their spouses in the messy details of church life. I would hope that you view your spouse as your best friend with whom you can share the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Get professional help. Pastors are among the last to seek professional help. Unfortunately, their loneliness can degenerate into depression, causing them to leave the ministry and even have suicidal thoughts. Please get help before it’s too late.” (Click here to read the full article.)