I accepted God’s call into ministry nearly 20 years ago. At that time, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that God was calling me to be a pastor and I said YES. It didn’t take very long to understand why so many pastors leave the ministry way too early. Studies reveal that at least 1700 pastors leave the ministry every month. There are many reasons for these statistics, but I would like to share with you at least five ways you might cause your pastor to quit.
#1: Don’t Pray For Him.
Several times in my life I’ve been asked, “Sir, are you in the military?” To that I’ve often responded, “No, but I’m in the ministry.” Pastors aren’t physically shot at like those who fight so bravely for our country. However, a pastor is exposed to daily crisis, daily criticism, and is engaged in daily spiritual warfare. Satan relentlessly attacks pastors in hopes of ruining their integrity and discouraging them in every way imaginable.
#2: Don’t Worry About His Family
I know without a doubt that my wife and my children should be my first priority. However, ministry can easily become so consuming that you rarely talk with your spouse and barely see your children. If you want to get rid of your pastor make sure he never has time to spend with his family. Ignore the fact that his wife seems completely unhappy. Make sure your pastors feels forced to play super hero to everyone else and I promise his family will fall apart. Right behind that will be his ministry credibility.
#3: Don’t Support His Leadership
Many pastors in your typical southeastern, rural church start out without a chance. The leadership boards are full of people with their own agendas and the church is full of people who are determined to do things their way. A pastor must be allowed to lead with the vision God has given him. That vision must be supported by the members, otherwise his time at that church will be limited. There are many reasons why pastors are in and out of churches so quick. One for sure, is the fact that few are willing to follow leadership.
#4: Don’t Give Him a Break
Being a pastor is a 24/7 job that never feels complete. A pastor rarely feels he can rest because there is always something or someone calling his name. Many pastors aren’t great about taking necessary breaks away from the ministry, but breaks are more than necessary. If you love your pastor, I suggest that you make sure he has time away from the ministry. Send him and his spouse on at least one annual retreat where they can be encouraged, inspired, and re-energized. Make sure he does not work seven days a week. And, don’t make your pastor feel that he has to do all the work.
#5: Don’t See Your Pastor as Human
Before he answered God’s call into ministry, he was just a man. After he answered God’s call into ministry, he is just a man. Respect his calling, but don’t expect him to superhuman. Pastors don’t have all the answers, don’t have unlimited strength, and can get overwhelmed by unhealthy expectations. A great way to get rid of your pastor is to make him feel like he can’t ever measure up to what is expected. Yes, the pastorate is a high calling, but in the end he is still a man.
Now, here is what you might do with these words. One, understand that being a pastor is not easy. Otherwise 1700 pastors per month would not be leaving the ministry. Secondly, consider how you might encourage your pastor with a call, a letter, or an unexpected surprise of appreciation. Finally, take care of your pastor as he does his God-given best to take care of you and so many others.