Approximately 85% of churches in America have less than 200 people. 60% of churches are under 100 people in attendance. The average size congregation in US is 89 people, according to The Barna Group. Staffs are small and needs are great.
Pastors can sometimes take on the roles of being a bible teacher, an accountant, strategist, computer tech, public speaker, mentor, prayer warrior, leadership director and fundraiser.
Being a pastor is no easy task. In many situations pastors wear themselves out by trying to help people, wound their family by being so involved with ministry, and others flourish in their ministry and personal life.
Pastor Phillip Wagner quoted, “Personally, I love being a pastor. We have inspiring leaders, a culturally diverse church, full of great people; I love it, good times or bad times. Of course, it’s a lot easier to be ‘content’ when things are good. I have great friends who are pastors. I am a better man because of my time in ministry. But it’s important to present some of the unique challenges of ministry.”
Some of the unique problems pastors face are:
- Pastors face criticism from an abundance of things such as
- “ The music is too loud. Worship is not long enough.”
- “Sermon is not deep enough. You talk too much about money”
Pastors need to find a way to not take criticism so personally and learn from some truth that could be hidden in that criticism.
- Pastors face members, leaders and friends who leave for an array of reasons. Whether it’s relocating for their work, being closer to family, going to college or getting back to what God wanted them to do before they arrived, that is life and rarely will everyone stick around.
Pastors need to be ok with that. They need to be supportive of seeing people advance and move forward in their lives.
One of the hardest things to accomplish as a pastor is to have “tough skin, and a soft heart.” By holding people lightly and not taking their personal decisions personally, you are showing them Christ’s love and that is one of the best things you can do as a pastor.
The toughest part about betrayal is it rarely comes from your enemies. Trusting church members with personal challenges can backfire. They might end up sharing your personal issues with others.
- 40% of pastors report a conflict with a church member at least once a month
Here’s the good news. God is big enough and gracious enough to provide healing for both sides of betrayal. Pastors have to find a way through God’s grace to love those as if they have never been hurt before.
- 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
- 70% felt God called them to pastoral ministry before their ministry began, but after three years of ministry, only 50% still felt called.
Keeping personally fueled and refreshed is crucial. Fatigue can cause faith to weaken and change your interpretations of things.
Figure out what refreshes you, what makes you feel connected with your family and friends, and make sure to mark those things in your calendar consistently.
How Christians and church attenders can help the pastor
- Pray for your pastor- Pray for guidance, protection, healthy friends, their marriage and family.
- Protect your pastor- Try not to allow you or your fellow friends to participate in gossip and criticism. Protect his reputation. Protect his time. Think about how can you help lift the load they could be carrying and try not to be more of a burden.
- Encourage your pastor- Thank him for his or her work and ministry. Thank them for their sacrifice. Tell them a specific time in which you or a friend’s life was changed. Let your pastors know you are praying for them.
The Barna Group reported – the profession of “Pastor” is near the bottom of a survey of the most-respected professions, just above “car salesman”. This is why it’s important to pray, protect and encourage your pastors and their families.
Helpful Resources for Pastors
Rescue Lab Workshop– Rescue Lab is our exclusive 2-day training event designed to equip and certify you in our most powerful skills and strategies to help hurting people.
Freeway: Not-So Perfect Guide to Freedom– a small group curriculum and weekend sermon series that helps people find freedom from their hurts and hang-ups in a fun and simple way.
Pastors, you truly are heroes
**This blog was written by Bekah Adcock of People of the Second Chance**