I have sat on Pastoral Search Committees and now as a pastor I am not sure I would have chosen me! But imagine hearing about this pastoral candidate. This pastor had very serious health concerns. He has had chronic health problems for many years. He also has been in prison several times. From a background check we discovered that he was even involved in a few riots and was thrown out of a few cities he tried to preach in during revivals. And he also had the experience of being one of the worst Christian persecutors in history. Even worse, He was adding to the Word of God while only preaching out of the Old Testament. Would the Pastoral Search Committee consider this man?
The Committee wholeheartedly said “NO!” “Not a chance.” They would have to look elsewhere.
I said, “fine, because the man’s been dead for 2,000 years…he was the apostle Paul.”
Today we tend to look at the exterior and we judge before we even hear a man preach. Some are judged because they are too young (I Tim. 4:12). Other’s are deemed to be too old or even judged because they can not speak very well or eloquently (Exodus 4:10). But thankfully, God looks at the heart. The church I used to attend has lost another pastor. Here are some startling statistics about pastors today and the reasons that you should be praying for them. I am selfish I suppose for I am a pastor.
- The average pastor stays at one church for about 5 years.
- On average it takes about 18 months to find a new pastor.
- Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
- Four thousand new churches begin each year, but over seven thousand churches close.
- Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
- Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
- Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
- Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years. Ninety percent of pastors said their seminary or Bible school training did only a fair to poor job preparing them for ministry.
- Eighty-five percent of pastors said their greatest problem is they are sick and tired of dealing with problem people, such as disgruntled elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.
- Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.
- Seventy percent of pastors feel grossly underpaid.
- Ninety percent said the ministry was completely different than what they thought it would be before they entered the ministry.
- Seventy percent felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only fifty percent still felt called.
Again, I suppose I am being selfish but I am a bi-vocational pastor so I work, go to seminary, have a pastorate and a family too. So we covet your prayers in a big way.
For more on the connection between church membership and the pastor please read “What Does the Bible Say About Membership and Attendance?“