May 30, 2006

Why Do Pastors Leave the Ministry?

Here is blog posting by a pastor. MMIblog picked it up. This is great insight into SOME of the things your pastor might be feeling.

If you are feeling really daring, read through the comments at the bottom of the page on the link. When there is blood in the water...

Monday Morning Insight Weblog: Why Do Pastors Leave the Ministry?: "many people have asked me why i am stepping out of pastoring, at least for a while. there has been a great deal of conjecture on my behalf. some think it has a subversive twist to it. others imagine that i am absolutely distraught with life and cannot cope anymore. neither extreme really addresses the central issues i have faced. here are a few of the reasons why some of us tend to fade away:

we are tired of pretending that we cannot be hurt. people assume ministers are available for their criticism 24/7. people say things to clergy they would not say to their worst enemies. for some reason they feel at liberty to delve into every aspect of clergy life. they have an opinion about everything we do. they believe it is their god-given right to critique your personal life, your professional life, your emotional state, the way you dress, your use of colloquialisms, your kids, your personality, how much you spend on a car, your friendships, how you drive, how much you fart, the list goes on and on. pastors live their life in the limelight. they, therefore, constantly disappoint people. it is hard to disappoint people all the time. as a pastor, and maybe it is just me, i seem to let people down all the time. recently i was at a small group where several complained that i was not their close friend. besides the obvious fact that i do not have enough hours in the day nor the emotional energy to be friends with everyone, let alone friendly, how can you assume i would would want to be your close friend? ministers spend their entire life pretending to like a portion of the population that they really cannot stand…

pastors tend to build up that insecurity the longer they work. they feel the pressure to put numbers on the role, they also realize that people leave the church because of them. that is a heady responsibility to bear. they understand that people don't like them but it still hurts when they have people they have invested in leave the church because of them. this life can be an exercise in guilty and humility. everything that happens which is good is 'to god be the glory' ...they know who is to blame if things go bad. add to this that for some reason many churches rise and fall on the health and exuberance of their pastor. after a while pastors tend to jump from one quick fix solution to another in a desperate bid to patch holes that are systemic and often metaphysical. they attend conferences and clinics designed to point out their flaws and obvious solutions. they quickly conclude that they are the problem, the issue, and the solution. they develop a messiah complex. they develop an insecurity complex…

ministers are normal people who struggle with laziness and workaholism at the same time. no one knows what they do during the week so they tend to strive too hard to be noticed or duck out when they can get away with it. they realize that some volunteers do more than they do and it drives them crazy. they vassalate between the drive to do everything and the need to let others do the work of the church. they are control freaks, often out of necessity. sometimes out of ego need.

oh ya, and we love to be compared. compared to huge churches with massive budgets and incredible bands. compared to tv evangelists who spend more on dog food than we will see in a year. compared to amazing speakers, incredible entrepeneurs, and holy monkish nerds who can pray more than we can. that kind of stuff makes us very content.

ya this is a whine but it's my blog and you don't have to read it. perhaps, though, there may be a grain of truth in what you have read. take a look at your pastor if you have one. listen to his or her brokenness strewn in amongst the exterior confidence. let them know you don't need anything from them. shut up about them when others encourage you to spill. tell someone else to shut up occasionally. don't phone them on mondays. don't critique the way they dress when they go to the bank on their day off. don't act amazed when they stumble. we all stumble.

but for God's sake, don't feel sorry for them. they chose this life and it has incredible rewards. just pay them more.

and oh ya, they won't believe you when you praise them but they will obsess when you criticize them. sounds like quite a great life huh? makes you want to join right up i bet...

as for me, i'm just taking a break to get out of the fishbowl for a while. it's a calling - a blessing and a curse. of course now i have to get a real job where people have to get up every morning and put in 8 hours and pretend to care about stuff i never imagined caring about before."

1 comment:

  1. AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seriously... I look at people like Scott and how high strung he can be at times... and I see the other side of him too... and I pray... I see Doug hide and step back at times... and I thank God he does. I pray daily for the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health of every person on staff and I ask God daily to remind them that they can't please everyone... and it's not their job to anyways.

    I love all you guys and I pray that you never have to step away from the fishbowl... I pray grace over you... that you can't see those on the other side of the glass... like an opaque fishbbowl.... you can only see up.