“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:58, KJV
It’s been said that pastors die a death of a million paper cuts. Statistics regarding longevity of pastorates are grim. Consider the following…
Statistics · 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week. · 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families. Many pastor's children do not attend church now because of what the church has done to their parents. · 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses. · 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family. · 75% report significant stress-related crisis at least once in their ministry. · 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands. · 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged as role of pastors. · 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be like before they entered the ministry. · 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job. · 70% of pastors constantly fight depression. · 70% say they have a lower self-image now than when they first started. · 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend. · 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month. · 33% confess having involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with someone in the church. · 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. · 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid. · 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years. · 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form. · 94% of clergy families feel the pressures of the pastor's ministry. · 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked. · 80% spouses feel left out and underappreciated by church members. · 80% of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose a different profession. · 66% of church members expect a minister and family to live at a higher moral standard than themselves. · Moral values of a Christian is no different than those who consider themselves as non-Christians. · The average American will tell 23 lies a day. · The profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”. · 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close. · Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year. · Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month , many without cause. · Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year. · Many denominations report an “empty pulpit crisis”. They cannot find ministers willing to fill positions.
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastor's believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.
Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna, and Pastoral Care Inc.
Do you see yourself or someone you love reflected in the above statistics? Many of the prophets of old could identify with the aforementioned emotions – Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, John the Baptist, Paul and even Jesus!
You are not alone. If you are wading through the deep waters of depression and discouragement due to the pressures of ministry, remember…
Jesus said, “In this world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Difficulties and challenges are sure to come – but by the grace of God – YOU CAN OVERCOME!
Your life is not your own, you were brought here for God’s plan and God’s purpose… “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16 Remembering that God is using us to be a light, an example, a witness, a blessing will help us when the temptation to become self absorbed and entrenched by our personal struggles looms large.
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 When we “delight” ourselves in the Lord, we begin to desire the things that the Lord desires for our lives. Daily seeking the Lord’s face, pursuing the Lord’s heart in prayer and submitting/surrendering our desires to the Lord’s will prepares our hearts to receive the blessings He has prepared for us all along.
Jesus reminds us, “I am with you…” Matthew 28:20 Knowing that the Lord is always by our side is important during seasons of loneliness and feelings of abandonment.
Remember to always trust and reverence the Lord, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3; “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Psalm 111:10. Trusting the Lord in all situations and circumstances will keep us stable and moving forward. A healthy dose of “reverence” or “fear” of the Lord will keep us walking in a spirit of humility and obedience.
Remember, your “due season,” will come – don’t faint now!
Get to know God, not just be a casual acquaintance, but get to know God – In Philippians 3:10 Paul said, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
How was Jesus in His death – death on the cross? He was obedient to His Father, He was submitted to the will of His Father. When we submit to the will of the Father, God will exalt us in due season.
Keep on pressing toward your mark. Keep on runnin your race – don’t worry about somebody else’s race, just run your race – looking unto Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith – look to Jesus who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you become weary and faint in your mind!
Your living is not in vain!
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
The “Empowering and Encouraging Women in Ministry” Conference is only two weeks away! There is still time to register. Visit www.wtimofgreatercleveland.org and click on “donate n register” to download the conference registration brochure.
Until next Wednesday, In faith, hope and perseverance, Pastor Chris