I’ve read some eye-boggling statistics about Pastors and their families lately and being part of a few online Pastor’s Wives communities, I’ve heard things that would make you shake your head in disgust about how some of those in ministry have been treated by their churches.
It is my strong opinion that all of this, all of this “stuff” and these statistics would be less if leaders were able to lead, the way they were intended! Side note: Churches that equate success to the size of their budget, bums in chairs and buildings are soooo missing the mark! Most Pastors are under such scrutiny and manipulation by those on leadership with the Pastor and/or from those in the pews. Which in my books, is equal with witchcraft.
I believe that if Churches were set up as we see in the New Testament, and if Christians got their acts in gear and stopped being worse than unbelievers at times, when it comes to how they treat their Pastoral family and the ungodly expectations they put upon them… maybe it wouldn’t be the case where (this is a U.S. stat):
* 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.
* 33% state that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family.
* 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.
* 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.
* 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
* 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
In a conversation my hubby and I had with one of our spiritual mentors just a little while ago, he said that the spirit of Absalom is running rampant throughout the church worldwide. I knew that Absalom was King David’s son… but I had not done any serious studying on his character traits. The spirit of Absalom within the Church, can be described as those who think they could do a better job than their Pastor.
Those who criticize and judge the motives of their pastor, where nothing the Pastor does is good enough. An Absalom tells you what you want to hear – tickles your ears with sweet compliments all the while planting doubts about the leadership. Finding faults in the leadership which generally have nothing to do with their spiritual qualifications – where minor things are made major, like what kind of car the Pastor drives, how big their house is, how they spend their money or take their vacations, or how long he takes to receive offerings – are all to bring about division within the Body. I think it’s safe to say at least I hope it would be… that most Christians who are like this… don’t even know that they’re being controlled by the devil. Why are they like this then?! The #1 cause… offense, hatred, bitterness and unforgiveness! Those emotions open a door to be used by the enemy.
One last thought…
Before you wag your finger at your Pastor or think you could do a better job and go start your own church or gathering… you might want to consider that:
* 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.
* Only 1 out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister.
* 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 under-appreciated 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.
My last statistic is this one and I really think it speaks for itself…
#1 reason pastors leave the ministry… Church people who are not willing to go the same direction and goal of the pastor. Pastors believe God wants them to go in one direction but the people are not willing to follow or change.
Our mentor did say some encouraging words though… one of them was this… he said that God is using the issues / the circumstances surrounding Land and Money (which would be finances) to expose the hearts of the people within the church, worldwide. I also think if Pastors understood that it’s OK if God removes some from the church; those who you cannot build with into the future, those who can’t catch the vision of the church or stand with the Pastor… that they need to leave and it’s OK for them to leave, these statistics would decrease big time!
I’ll say it again, Church success is not measured by bums in chairs, or by big budgets or buildings. Success is following what God has told you to do – each church and Pastor has been given a unique mantle and mandate. Success is fulfilling the calling God has on your life.
God said in His Word that He will build His Church! He will do what He needs to do to see His Kingdom expanded!
Statistics provided by The Fuller Institute, George Barna (Barna Grp), and Pastoral Care Inc.