Jun 11, 2009

The Life of a Pastor Can Be Tough

I've been thinking, lately, about the life of a pastor. It can be a hectic one, very stressful, full of surprises, and full of dangers. It is not uncommon for pastors to suffer "burnout," where they are so stressed out and emotionally drained, that something within just shuts down, and they become listless, their energy declines, and sometimes, they are transformed from an energetic, zealous man of God, into a zombie-like robot, without feelings.

I'm about to give a lecture to some professionals and students, and one of the things that I intend to mention is something that I became acutely aware of some years ago, to wit, the demands on a pastor, and the roles he must play. Today's pastor must be multi-talented, be a multi-tasker, and must have skill sets that are beyond his calling and training. It used to be that a pastor needed only to have a heart for the people, be a good preacher, and that was sufficient. Today, he's got to wear the hat of a counselor, be a psychologist, a part-time gad-fly, going about to this function and that party, a politician, and, gasp! a lawyer. These are in addition to being a theologian, a full time student, and a speech maker.

I was reminded of these things today when I read an excellent article by a friend, Dan Burrell. Dan has worn all those hats, and more. He's a professional, having seen life from behind the pulpit and in front of it. He's still in ministry, serving the Lord and doing a good job. And, he's a fabulous writer, one of the best I know.

You would gain much by reading his articles on this subject. It's entitled What Your Pastor Wishes You Knew About Him. Here's the first paragraph. Do click below and read the entire set.

"In the last week, I’ve spent time talking with three pastors who are about ready to throw in the proverbial towel. Each case is different and no two pastors, churches, boards or any other “part” of church leadership is exactly the same, but what is common among them is a sense of deep despair. Sadly, in the last week, I’ve also heard of two colleagues in the ministry who ended their ministry with a catastrophic failure — one of them a rising evangelical leader who admitted to an affair. Not in every case, but in some cases, I’ve noticed a correlation to the thought processes between those who burnout in ministry and those who “flame out” due to sin. But whether you burnout, flame out, drop out or rust out — out is still out." -- Read all of: What Your Pastor Wishes You Knew About Him.

No comments: