Every once in a while I will talk to someone who will say, “I would never want your job – so much pressure.” For every conversation I have like that, I have another where someone says (only half-joking), “It must be nice to only work one day a week!” Being a paid minister is an amazing job and calling – the chance to use your job to make a difference in people’s lives and see them grow closer to Christ. It is also a very tough job – lots of on call hours, and everyone has their own idea about what a minister is “supposed” to be doing.
I love my job. Ministry on one hand is an easy job – really! No crazy hard manual labor and we get the chance to spend time with people and talk about God. (And yes, we work more than one day a week; but our goal is not to win the “I work the most hours” contest – the winner of that contest winds up losing in life.) But it is also a crazy hard job – trying to see people’s lives changed, and hurting with them, and being hurt by them, and making mistakes that others won’t forgive or forget, and watching people walk away from God.
These words are not to gripe – being a minister is amazing, but it is also hard. We need to be praying for our ministers! Let me share some sad stats with you (from Leadership Journal, Spring 2014, p.24):
- 80% of pastors are discouraged in their role as pastors.
- 45% of pastors say they have experience depression or burnout to the extent that they have to take a leave of absence.
- 70% of pastors say they do not have a single close friend.
- 70% say they have lower self-esteem than when they entered the ministry.
- For every 20 pastors who goes into ministry, only ONE will retire from ministry as a profession.
Our ministry leaders are struggling. Is it any wonder that our churches are struggling, too? This last week I was able to participate in the Covenant Church’s (our larger church family) Conference Celebration – it was a great time of seeing new church plants started and hearing the amazing things God is doing in our region. It was also a sad time talking with friends in ministry and churches that are falling apart. These stats are not just numbers – they are people whose lives are hurting, and churches that are hurting. Ministry is tough – we need to be praying a lot!
Will you join me in praying for our ministers? Pray every day! Pray like crazy for their personal lives, for friendships, for encouragement, for people to come alongside and help in the work, for more encouragement – yes pray for encouragement twice! Pray for your ministers as together we follow Jesus and do great things for His Kingdom!