As I was writing my previous post regarding having a weakened spirit, I decided to look up the statistics on pastor burnout (since, in that previous post, I mention there being a high burnout rate). What I found was staggering. I have known for quite some time that there is a high burnout rate in that profession, but was surprised and a bit upset to find out just to what extent that rate occurs.
- 25% don't know where to turn when they have a family or personal conflict or issue.
- 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
- 56% of pastors' wives say that they have no close friends.
- 70% [of pastors] don't have any close friends.
- 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.
- 94% feel under pressure to have a perfect family.
- 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.
One would assume with a pastor being one called by God, they'd be less prone to stress. And yet the opposite is often the case, and it's rather understandable. How often do we try to actually be friends with the pastor or the pastor's spouse? I mean... it's the pastor. How often to do take into consideration our pastor's time, or the fact that we're taking time away from his/her family when we have issues?
Even when we do try to do something nice - perhaps, we invite them over for dinner - we don't realize that we are still taking his time away from quality (and very necessary) family time. And, we usually just end up talking about church stuff anyway, so he's really not getting away from work.
How often do we honestly pray for our pastor and his family? And let them know that we're praying? How often do we let him know we appreciate all his hard work? How often do we try to alleviate some of the stress by taking on more responsibilities within the church, and spending less time complaining about things within the church?
Today's Lenten sacrifice:
Stop seeing your pastor as the only source of ministry.
Pastor's need to be ministered to, too. They cannot be expected to do it all. And they definitely need to be able to have time to worship (not just lead worship), and need to have people praying with and for them. And they most definitely need time with family and with friends.
When I read those statistics, and then found the image I have at the top of the page, it got me thinking about how little many of us do for our pastors and their families. Even just little things. How many times have we heard a pastor give the benediction/blessing shown in the image at the top of the page... or as was said to us Sunday "Almighty God, Father, +Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever."
How many times have we said that back to him?
Take time to say "Pastor - the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace"?
Or, just a simple... "May the Lord bless you now and forever."
Take time to minister to your pastor today, to give him the strength to continue ministering to others.