In an article for ChurchLeaders.com, Tim Peters writes that 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.” Among the 10 common reasons pastors quit too soon:
Discouragement: 50 percent of pastors report feeling so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could. 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.
Loneliness: 70 percent of pastors do not have someone they consider a close friend. 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.
Burnout: 90 percent of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. Pastors are put on a treadmill. They go from the ministry to a hospital visit to writing a sermon to meeting with congregation members. They just keep running until there’s no passion or energy left. They become exhausted and depleted. Vacations and sabbaticals can provide perspective. Another key is empowering other leaders so all the weight is not on the pastor’s shoulders. (Click here to read the full article.)