100% of Pastors...
Over the past several months of counseling and conversations with men and women in ministry, there is a very common theme that continues to surface, a particular statement that seems to be voiced in almost ever conversations…”I’m tired.”
Aren’t we all?
To not be tired in a season like this would almost be, un-human.
Tired of wearing a mask. Tired of people not wearing masks. Tired of protests and riots and looting. Tired of injustice. Tired of the political polarization plaguing all media outlets. Tired of online schooling. Tired of homeschooling for the first time. Tired of all the people over crowding your secret outdoor vacation getaway. Tired of Zooming. Tired of technology failures. Tired of bouncing between work, parenting, work, parenting, work, marriaging (made up word), sleep (kind of), and do it all over again. Tired of not knowing when all this will end.
In the midst of all this, pastors have been faced with another struggle. One that has been there all along but is actually being forced out of the mouths of church members from the weariness of their own souls. The struggle of not being able to please everyone.
In my conversation with a pastor this morning I could hear the disappointment and discouragement in his voice as he shared with me some of the things people have said to him and his wife over the past month. Things that should have been voiced months ago. Things that placed demands, weights, and pressure upon him that are not his to carry. Things that ate away at his genuine love for these people, inflicted deep wounds to his soul, and placed a temptation in front of him to question his calling and consider walking away from ministry.
At one point he expressed the feeling, as a pastor, of being a product for people to consume. When they’re dissatisfied, they treat him like any other product by voicing their disappointment then moving on to a better product.
Being a pastor is not a profession. It’s a calling. An authority. A particular gifting placed upon our lives by God for the glory of God and the good of people. It’s driven by love. Love for God and love for people. To be treated as a product, consumed for pleasure then tossed out when dissatisfied, cuts deep.
We could almost say it’s dehumanizing.
In some ways it’s telling the pastor they should be more than human. Or at least something other than human. Some of the things being said to pastors by church members during this season are not only cutting and dehumanizing, they’re just flat out vindictive and mean. Blaming them for things that are beyond their control. And this from people who are called by God themselves to walk in love, forgiveness, empathy, and grace.
Over the next month we will be running a series on social media called 100% of pastors….
When reading the stats on pastors and minsters who have left the ministry or struggled in their call, it can be a bit discouraging. At the very least it’s a bit sobering. They are a good reminder to pray for our brothers and sisters serving in ministry. Stats like 52%
of pastors report feeling lonely and isolated from others. Or 2/3 of pastors are at a medium to high risk of struggling spiritually. Or 76% of pastors know at least one other pastor who left ministry due to burnout.
Our hope in the “100% of pastors…” series is to remind the world of the humanity of pastor. To remind us all that even though ministry leaders cary a unique spiritual weight in the church and are gifted by God with a unique spiritual office, they are still people who have feelings and face struggles just like everyone else.
All of these stats are 100% accurate and are pulled from the great survey of the human experience that started in Genesis chapter 3. As you read them, we hope you are reminded to pray for, to love, and to be kind to those who have been called to “keep watch over your soul.” (Heb. 13:17)