There is a pastor crisis in American churches. It seems that church-work is hazardous to your health. On one hand, you have pastors who tend to serve their churches as if their very lives depend on it. Neglecting their own needs they seem to sacrifice it all for the life of the church. In effect, the church becomes their life.
On the other hand you have churches that seem to take advantage of this fact. Churches tend to heap a huge amount of expectations on their pastors. This can be a volatile and dangerous combination.
A recent article I read had this to say about the office of the pastor:
The pastoral office has a way of chewing up all who come within its pale. Depression, burn-out, stress, and emotional breakdown are terribly high among Pastors.
Consider the following statistics that lay bare the lethal danger of the pastoral office:
* 94% feel pressured to have an ideal family.
* 90% work more than 46 hours a week.
* 81% say they have insufficient time with their spouses.
* 80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their family negatively.
* 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
* 70% have lower self-esteem than when they entered the ministry.
* 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
* 80% are discouraged or deal with depression.
* 40%+ report that they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and unrealistic expectations.
* 33% consider pastoral ministry an outright hazard to the family.
* 33% have seriously considered leaving their position in the past year.
* 40% of pastoral resignations are due to burnout.
* Roughly 30% to 40% of religious leaders eventually drop out of the ministry and about 75% go through a period of stress so great that they seriously consider quitting.
Unfortunately, few Pastors have connected the dots to discover that it is their office that causes this underlying turbulence. Simply put: Jesus Christ never intended any person to sport all the hats the Pastor is expected to wear! He never intended any man to bear such a load.
So here’s some questions. Do you think churches have too many expectations on the pastors that serve them? Do congregations or pastors bear the reponsibility for such dreadful statistics as the ones listed above? Do you agree with the writer that the office of the pastor is the cause for the underlying turbulence in their lives? What are some solutions you see that could remedy this crisis?