Here are some statistics about pastors and ministries.
The Alban Institute in Washington D.C. estimates that 17% of pastors have stress or burnout.
Fourteen hundred pastors a year call the Southern Baptist hotline for troubled pastors. One of the men on the staff of the LeaderCare (the SBC program) estimates that 100 SBC pastors leave the ministry every month.
Another ministry for troubled pastors (out of Colorado) estimates that 1600 pastors leave the ministry (or are teminated) every month.
Websites such as the Church of Refuge or Woundedsheperds.com have been designed to help displaced pastors.
I remember when Ken and I were preparing to leave one of our churches (which, since we only “left” two churches, shouldn’t be too hard to figure out), some out-of-town friends came to stay with us a few days. I was in the midst of painting, scrubbing and cleaning.
“Hmmm,” my friend said to me. “None of our pastor’s wives ever cared whether the parsonage was clean before she left.”
Knowing this friend well and also knowing her church situation, I responded, “That’s because none of your pastors ever left the church by their own volition. You kicked them out the door.”
She smiled sheepishly because I had (as the cliche goes) hit the nail on the head.
I continued. “We like these people. They are and always will be our friends. I’m not going to leave the house a mess.”
But let’s face it. Life is tough and being a pastor can be tough.
With these kinds of statistics, every pastor knows he isn’t immune to problems.
So tomorrow – some types of problems …