At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. 1,500 pastors leave their assignments each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention within their local congregations. 70% of pastors do not have a close friend with whom they can openly share their struggles. Nice profession I chose, huh? Well, technically, it (or should I say “He”) chose me, but nonetheless, this is my lot.
I’ve been in the bowels of the Bible now for the past two days trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to preach 1 Peter 3:18-4:6 on Sunday (check it out and see how you’d do it!). All the while asking myself, “Why in God’s good name did you choose to preach 1 Peter anyway?”
I’m tired and somewhat down. It’s been a rough spell the past few months at my church, and I’m pooped – physically, mentally, emotionally, and dare I say spiritually. Admitting this only makes me fear what some well-intentioned church member may think about me – which may lead to them doubting me – which may lead to them talking poorly to others about me – which may lead to an uprising – which may lead to more long meetings where I’m forced to explain myself – which may lead to me becoming even more down – which may lead to my head exploding.
Yes. I’m pooped. But I saw something today that excited me, and hopefully it will help me (and many other pastors) out of the occasional funk of pastordom. I came across a new website for pastors called PoopedPastors.com – another resource from one of my favorite pastors, Steve Brown. The site’s homepage contains these words from him…
I’m no longer a pastor but I haven’t been away from it for so long that I’ve forgotten…
The battles that I sometimes won and sometimes lost,
The hypocrisy I often felt in thinking that my being a pastor was insane,
The times when I didn’t know what I was doing and pretended that I did,
The criticism that often came from those who I thought were friends,
The 24/7 schedule with work that was never done,
The people who left my church because they “weren’t being fed,”
The blank page late Saturday night and my reminding God about the sermon,
The incredible guilt over my family and my ministry,
The fear of discovery,
The neurotics who hated me,
The congregational meetings when I was sure it was coming apart,
The hard road of authenticity when everything I did worked against it,
The efforts at humility when people thought more of me than was justified,
The questions about whether I and what I did even mattered…
Well, you know. It goes on and on.
Just reading this had me hooked. Finally, someone willing to admit how hard it is to be a pastor, and finally someone willing to speak words of encouragement to us. I know where I’ll be spending some of my time in the coming days – which will help answer my critics who ask, “What do you do all week, anyway?”
If you are a pastor, join me there. If you know a pastor, send him there. If you aren’t a pastor but go to a church where there is one, check it out to better understand him. And if you don’t like your pastor, go fly a kite.