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9Marks Explained : A Letter From Mark Dever

Don't Make Your Pastor a Statistic?


This past Lord's Day, I had the privilege of preaching 1 Timothy 5:17-20.  "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.  For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.'  Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.  Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning."

It was an honor to preach this passage to a congregation that has been full of love, support, and encouragement to me and my family these past five years.  There was great liberty in unfolding text without fear of being misunderstood, without need of rebuking the people, and withut having to fight against an impulse to complain or to pander because we've been treated with "double honor" since arriving.  What a blessing!

But if I am to believe some of the survey statistics published on pastors and their view towards the ministry, the vast majority of my fellow pastors do not feel this way and are not receiving proper care from their people.  Consider these figures compiled by the Schaeffer Institute:

Hours and Pay

  • 90% of the pastors report working between 55 to 75 hours per week.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the demands of the job.
  • 70% of pastors feel grossly underpaid.

Training and Preparedness

  • 90% feel they are inadequately trained to cope with the ministry demands.
  • 90% of pastors said the ministry was completely different than what they 
    thought it would be like before they entered the ministry.

Health and Well-Being

  • 70% of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if 
    they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Marriage and Family

  • 80% believe pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families.
  • 80% of spouses feel the pastor is overworked.
  • 80% spouses feel left out and under-appreciated by church members.

Church Relationships

  • 70% do not have someone they consider a close friend.
  • 40% report serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month.
  • #1 reason pastors leave the ministry — Church people 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.


  • 50% of the ministers starting out will not last 5 years.
  • out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister in some form.
  • 4,000 new churches begin each year and 7,000 churches close.
  • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
  • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
  • Over 3,500 people a day left the church last year.

That’s a sad and alarming picture, isn’t it?  Work long hours in a job with too many demands for too little pay. Many have the wrong skills and the wrong expectations. Families being pressured and battered.  Pastors are discouraged and depressed. No friends, serious conflict once a month, and people who will not follow.  Is it no wonder so many quit so soon?  

According to one survey, only 23% of pastors report being happy and content in their identity in Christ, in their church, and in their home. 

I suspect, however, that men in these situations might be crippled all the more were they to faithfully preach a text like 1 Tim. 5:17-20.  They would be seen as self-serving and courting with more hostility and dissatisfaction from a people already running afoul of God's call to churches to honor faithful servants.

So, I'm hopeful at least some of God's people would consider these statistics, reflect upon their church's treatment of their pastors, and perhaps lead a conspiracy to make sure faithful elders receive "double honor" from those they teach and lead.  Let's face it: we can't get survey statistics like these unless it has become an unchecked commonplace among congregations to gossip and gripe rather than to breathe grace toward church leaders.  These statistics indicate a pandemic culture of disregard and dishonor aimed at pastors.  That's to the church's shame.

I'm praying that Hebrews 13:17--rather than rejected as giving too much authority to leaders--might be embraced by individual members and congregations as one means to growth in Christ and deeper joy as the family of God.  "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you."

Topics: The Basics

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So as a struggling pastor how do we get this information to the people who are actually in charge rather than just those who are in the ministry?

This article reflects the reality I and many other pastors have shared with each other. If not for the call of God, there are some times when the many dangers, toils, and snares would do their job. In response to "how do we get this information to the people who are actually in charge..." that is the first mountain a pastor needs to climb, win the battle of leadership. Our pastor-board relationship is not perfect, but the tension of board vs pastor was there at first, until we studied Scripture together and agreed (even against a couple opinions) that an elder managed, pastor led situation is the most biblical. There, pot has been stirred. Having that documented has saved some of the grief (not all). Planning for time off, benefits, etc has more fruit if this battle is won, but in the end, it is the Lord Jesus Christ who builds the church. Thanks for reading my "blah blah blah 2 cents." Ironically I was very stressed and somewhat discouraged (any guesses why, pastors?) before writing this, but feel better now. Whew! Good for another week!

Nate, Can you contact me through email as soon as possible. I'm a struggling pastor and I would like to get your feedback about the difficulties you went through with your elder board.

What gives us great pleasure is that poelpe never believed that Jesus was the Son of God,even though He did so many great works.If you think about it Jesus could have had a lot of disciples during his preaching and teaching of the gospel,because He is the Son of God.If they refused to believe Him even though they had the luxury of seeing so many of His miracles.So how can poelpe believe us.If you believe that we are not the generation of the Apostles through the gospel that was preached to us,then why dont you even bother to make a research about the whereabouts of their disciples.The reason being that you might have started a church somewhere in the early 1900s and have now about 150 000 members and if i find out that i dont have the authority to preach the gospel because i was not sent to preach the gospel,then i have misled a lot of poelpe.I probably would lose some income and the status of being a leader to being the disciple of church that was started by Christ(remember the church is Christ's body)according to the bible.He is the head of the church.Tell me why do so many poelpe refuse to find out about the origin of their own churches and also finding out about the baptisim with the holy spirit which is truly important to be in the kingdom of God.The are so many things that poelpe are ignoring which i find strange for poelpe who are studying the word,that does not seize to amaze me,because some scriptures are so straight forward.No one knows our church better than us with regards to its origin.People just go and look for the last disciple who died,and with the death the end of the Apostleship.Any person,even non Christians can use their common sense,and see that its not possible for such wise and powerful men of God to just die without having left others to continue to preach the word of God.Just tell where they all killed at ones.

but every once in a while, you see another asepct, which is surprising after a string of insulting one-liners: sensitivity. It's like there's an inner kitten in his roaring lion persona. Take this moving answer on a question about AIDS: Life isn't worth living without sex, but sex isn't worth dying over. Every gay man lives in relationship to this suffocating contradiction. Every new HIV infection is a gong that vibrates through the gay community, reminding us of our awful dilemma. In chapters ranging from cruising ( How to Stalk Your Prey ) to [release] ( The Utter Cream: How to Milk Your Man ) Alvear peppers us with humor-laced facts. Average erect size? 5.1 inches. Unless you're in a chat room, he writes. Then double it. Men are Pigs is a hilarious read, but take cover if you're easily offended. If this book were a radio station the FCC would pull its license for constantly barking out the seven words you're not allowed to say on the air.

Nate, Can you contact me through email as soon as possible. I'm a struggling pastor and I would like to get your feedback about the difficulties you went through with your elder board. jubygracealone@yahoo.com

My wife is the new minister here at a small 55 member church in southern virginia. I see already after 6 months of being here that it is on her very heavy at times. The congregation seems to be mostly kind and corgial. It is the few that make her life a living mess. Those see that her heart is in the right place and they want to rip it out. I support her for everything she does and anything she wants. I am very concerned for her mental health and personal health,and along with mine. Sometimes I feel that it is not worth it, but I know she went to seminary and invested quite a few years educating herself for the ministry. I just cannot see her personal suffering worth it all. Feeling very stuck at times and just wish she would be an associate pastor somewhere or maybe back into children's ministry, I do have the means to support her. A caring husband in south virginia.

For the 90% who feel under trained it would be interesting to hear in what areas they feel under trained in.

As one who desires to be in the ministry, one of my dear mentors recommended that I take formal training in biblical counseling prior to seminary. He commented that this is one area of his ministry he spends most of his time, but received little instruction in seminary on how to do it.

What do you think?

my heart is broken as i read your article why a christian should go to church. especially the final sentence "you might question whether you belong to the body of Christ at all."
i know i am a believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior the Holy Spirit as my Guide & God my Creator in a Divinity of 3. I Pray to God Daily he guides me daily - hourly minute by minute and comforts my soul when i am in need.
i have been to more church establishments that have had false preaches, thieves, slander, and more than i could put here on 1 page that makes you want to not stay in a church and goes everything against God. this has happened in so many churches it's sickening & very sad. and you have the Gaul to tell me because i Praise God from my Home with others I don't believe in Jesus Christ?
Your fellow pastor Hank Hanegraaff put it so much nicer and more Christian than your condescending way. if i chose a church to attend i would go to his far & beyond before i ever read another daily post from you again.

Dear Friend,
I'm sorry that you've been hurt reading something on this site. However, I can't find that sentence in either this blog post or my article on helping people to join a church. Might you have the wrong post, article or website? Again, I'm sorry to hear of your experience. Grace be with you,

Dear brother look in your heart. Consider the callous way you spoke to this Pastor. Would Jesus be pleased with it? My Church is not a "Church establishment". It is fully of sincere, loving, caring, prayerful believers who encourage and lift up one another. You speak of being "nicer". It would do well for you to do the same. I speak as a third party observer. This is meant to help you in love not to condemn you. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit. "Be ye kind tenderhearted forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." God bless. C

We are still visiting a Community chrcuh, and they are really pro-active about getting into the community. We have a ton out outreach programs (tutoring, childcare, recovery programs, divorce programs and more). We also try to get involved in other chrcuhes. We have a kingdom prayer every Sunday where we pray for a need of a local chrcuh, and then for an area of mission work.

youch. as a pastor i relate to a lot of this.
and it's really hard to communicate these things to those who don't "get it" (e.g. elders). which exacerbates the problem.
Lord help us!

Feel like the little cat just hanging from the branch on many occasions. Lord help us!

Thank you for this article! I shared a link on both twitter and facebook, where I am friends with at least 50 people from my church. People need to speak up and encourage each other to take care of our pastors and their families. This is the second article i've posted dealing with pastors/pastor's wives that are under-appreciated and under-supported. Laypeople need to step up and stop thinking about themselves and start pouring out some love into the lives of our overworked pastors.

Unfortunately, my efforts will probably be seen as me trying to earn the favor of my pastor and nothing more. But its just not right to sit silently and see your pastor being overworked, gossiped about, and ridiculed for not being able to live up to the demands placed on him..where is the grace, patience and love?

I very much appreciate this article and pray that it either wakes people up to the problem or stirs them to repentence as they read it. We ask for so much from him and rarely give back. Lord, change our hearts!

Thank you for posting this. I will pass it along. I am not a pastor but a missionary. I grew up in a Christian family and so spent my whole life in church. Of all the places I have lived and all the churches of various denominations I have gone to I have seen this as a problem too often. Another additional point I think it would be interesting to somehow teach church members is the pressure put on the pastors family, particularly the kids to "be perfect" is antithetical to the gospel. Now if you have really good theology you'll know this isn't possible, but I have seen SO many pastors kids burnt and left bitter towards God or with a practical performance based understanding of the gospel rather than grace based because of the phrase "but you're the preachers kid, we expect more from you."

If only the children and the parishioners knew how to rebuke these people with "Yeah I have messed up, sinned, screwed up, not been a good example etc. Exactly. And THAT is why I/we need the gospel."

Hey is there any statistics on church members?
Maybe comparing both will help mend the

I meant to say some cases it is monotoring what is being tahugt in sunday school as well as teaching your children at home both in word and ESPECIALLY by your actions, your actions will either confirm or deny what your lips are telling them, there is no middle ground.

Now I'm a bit confused fsitrly let me start of with this,I'm anglican and my girlfriend is old apostolic and we have A 3 month old baby who is baptized in the old apostolic church and we are planning on getting married in the near future,I see christianity as a universal religion so all the different types of churches and christian faiths I see as one but I'm bothered by what my girlfriend's dad told me one day(he is a priest)he said that he only believes in the apostolic way of practicing christianity and its the only way to salvation,meaning all other christian faiths is false or incorrect,I took offense,I don't attend church as much as I used to but I know my bible,I grew up in my church although I strayed off that path but I'm a christian but strangely,the apostolic church as a whole is less than 200 years old,I say this cause fsitrly the catholic apostolic church was founded in the 1800 s and the old apostolic church in the 1900 s,it doesn't make sense to say that the only way to salvation is to be a apostolic.the romans started the christian religion,they put the books of the bible together a apostolic whether they be new or old really should think before they speak,need I say more.

I'm sorry, but I have to question any pastor who claims to "work" 55 to 75 hours a week. I was a pastor for 15 years, and was once told I was the "hardest working pastor" the church ever had, yet I never put in those hours. What a pastor claims as "work" is questionable to me... I know this is going to rile a lot of people out there, but I'd love to see a "work log" and I'll show you how half the time a pastor spends "working" isn't really work at all!

Your comment doesn't "rile" me it makes me sad. I wish I could send you a work log for my husband or the other pastors at our church. They are easily working 50 plus hours - and it is work. They are ministering to people in so many ways. I am sad that because the stats don't match what you did - or it seems that you feel you were the best because of being "the hardest working pastor" that you can pass judgements on others - - - I see the work each week and know the logs - it is our life.

Our pastor has a minimum of 50 hours a week in his contract. It also says he has to be available by phone 24/7. And only one week of vacation. He also makes about half the salary of a school principal. This is so wrong! The Bible says those who teach should be given double honor, not half honor.

An impressive share! I've just forwarded this
onto a friend who had been doing a little homework on this.

And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for
him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU
for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some
time to talk about this subject here on your site.

Our pastor's contract requires him to work a minimum of 50 hours a week and be accessible by phone 24/7, for half the pay of a school principal, with only one week of vacation and no benefits. The board checks his work log every month. This is wrong. Jim, would you do the job under those conditions, or would you rather sit on your cushy desk chair and judge work you know nothing about?

Was a Pastor for 15 years. For that reason alone, your anwser should have a softer tone. But what I hear is someone who is out of touch. No matter if it is 10 hours or 75 hours this is impacting Great Leaders. Don't miss the point, judging this matter according YOUR past 15 years standards.

Some thoughts ...

  • My personal experience confirms so much of this. I am UMC clergy on Leave of Absence. I was almost at the point of suicide I was so depressed before going on leave about a year ago. When I left I had been in ministry 5 years. I am again working as a software developer, working 40-45-hours weeks, seeing my wife and son, being well-compensated, and am don't have my character attacked daily. More than likely I will surrender my credentials to my bishop in another year or so.
  • The toll on my family has been rough. Perhaps one of my greatest regrets is putting my son in church preschool. The bullying he experienced when he was 3 and the lack of response from preschool administration led us to have my wife quit her job and stay home with our son. At that point I rolled up my sleeves and straightened things out at the preschool. I was also known to many in the church as an SOB (their words) for tackling long-ignored problems.
  • I woke up one day and realized that I had never read the Bible or prayed with my son. He definitely had the seeds of faith planted in him and was growing in God's grace, but not because of me, my actions, or my witness at home ...
  • I didn't much feel unprepared; however, my undergraduate degree is a BS in Organizational Management. Sadly, however, I think I used my BS more than my MDiv. So many practical matters I felt would be under control were in chaos ...
    • "You mean we have to have I-9s on all employees?"
    • "You mean we have to pay overtime?"
    • "You mean we can't use pirated copies of Windows and Office?"
    • "You mean we have to follow our child protection policy?"
    • "You mean we should immediately fire and report a preschool worker for neglect or abuse?"
    • "You mean you actually want adults and children to share the same classrooms throughout the week?"
  • The only time I encountered statistics like this in seminary was at my own initiative. Nowhere in that time of preparation were the situations and circumstances behind statistics such as these discussed.

Not to sound completely negative ... I have had some of the most rewarding moments in ministry. Leading a group of young adults chapter-by-chapter through Matthew and watching as many finally "got it" and watched the changes in their life as a result of knowing, loving, and following the Lord Jesus. I watched a young man who has struggled with drug addiction most of his life fight his way through recovery to a point of sobriety for the past two years. And on and on ...

I still have a deep desire to serve the Lord (with gladness, even), but I just don't see me being able to do that in a clergy role. There is just too much crap to sort through to get to the work of ministry in so many of today's churches.

Anyway, I have software to write and a ripe mission field right here in my office.

I have been an assistant pastor for six years and a senior pastor at the same church for 27 years. A long-time seminary professor recently asked a seasoned pastor what he perceived to be the difference between the ministry vocations. The pastor replied: When an illusionist stands outside the black box and thrusts his numerous swords into the box without striking the victim, that would be the professor. The pastor? Well, he's the guy in the box!

One of our ministerial students who has now been the senior pastor at another church for several years told me yesterday that he has to be a lawyer, an accountant, a builder, an architect, and a psychologist in addition to being a theologian, exegete, fluent public speaker, and manager. Already he has gone through several church-related lawsuits. In a very recent issue he was threatened by one set of lawyers if he didn't report an issue and by another set of lawyers if he did report. Either way the pastor would be jailed or sued no matter what he did. This is the world pastors are living in today and it is only getting more complicated. The ministry is not for the faint-of-heart.

My son, Luke, has finished college and is headed for seminary. I am very happy that he senses God's call to serve in pastoral ministry. At the same time, I am under no illusions as to what he is likely to face. The greatest pressure any pastor faces is maintaining the priority of pursuing holiness over fruitfulness and dealing honestly with any failures in the lives of their children. The children of pastors need special care, not ungodly criticism.

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Perhaps the problem is not that we fail to properly “honor” pastors. Perhaps it is that the church has inherited a clergy-laity schism that places a small minority of men in a position where they are expected to bear what is an unbearable responsibility. What if, instead of trying to make the best of an untenable situation, we instead sought to have every brother in the church do the work of ministry, sharing the privilege and burden of ministry rather than subcontracting it to one or a few men.

The solution is not to give pastors more time off or to pay them better. The solution is found in a functional rather than theoretical priesthood of every believer where the work of ministry is shared among all of the brothers in the church. A solution where we change our focus from performance on Sunday morning to serving others throughout the week. Seeing elders as servant-leaders who labor alongside other believers instead of an employee-employer relationship. The strange symbiotic relationship between clergy and laity makes a mockery of Biblical ministry and it must be abandoned rather than modified.

This of course would require a radical rethinking of ministry in the local church. The alternative is more of the same: young men zealous for the Lord being shuffled off to get an expensive seminary education, moving to a new town and a church full of strangers who expect him to do everything for them and then watching the meat grinder of professional ministry chew them up and spit them out at a 50% “failure” rate in five years. No amount of pay or vacation time or sabbaticals is going to offset the enormous burden of the clerical system that is killing our most zealous young men and making apathetic spectators out of the rest.

Ministry is something no single man can handle on his own, no matter how good his benefit package is. Furthermore the picture Scripture paints for us is a “one another” ministry, not a “one and all the others” model. If you truly want to honor your pastor, come alongside him and shoulder the burden of ministry.

While working on my doctorate about church members' expectations for their pastors and church leaders, I ran across many staggering statistics like what you site. A book came out of it and it tells the story of one stereotypical (?) small town, small church pastor encountering common challenges. http://noperfectpastor.com/

While sin is at the core of these troubles, part of the dynamic is the idea that too often people believe they are the pastor's boss. So, in a congregation of 120, that means the pastor often has to deal with about 75-100 who think they are the pastor's boss. But, as one seminary professor often said to men who were going to go into pastoral ministry, they should tell their congregation: "I am your servant, but you are not my master."


"While sin is at the core of these troubles, part of the dynamic is the idea that too often people believe they are the pastor's boss. So, in a congregation of 120, that means the pastor often has to deal with about 75-100 who think they are the pastor's boss."

So here is how most local churches hire a new guy to be their pastor. The congregation posts for an open position on clergy job boards. They accept and review resumes, typically through a search committee (we call it the staffing department in the corporate world). Once they weed out the unacceptable applicants, they bring some in for interviews. When a candidate is selected, he and the staffing department work out the terms of his employment: how much he will be paid, vacation time, job expectations, how much notice he needs to give his previous employer, etc. Once he starts working at the church he is expected to carry out his job duties and is paid by the congregation. If he gets a better offer down the road, he resigns and leaves. If the congregation decides he is not working out, they can dismiss him from employment and look for a better employee. Change “church” to “company” and what you have is the employee-employer relationship of any secular organization.

We can dress it up with all of the religious language we want but when push comes to shove we hire and fire pastors like a corporation and they are employees of the local church, i.e. the congregation. Of course the congregation sees itself as the boss of the pastor. They are.



I think these statistics are a bunch of hooey. The American idea of "Full Time Ministry" is to blame (in my opinion).

When one of more "Tent Makers" join hands to begin a new work I can assure you they won't get "fired" or run off or over worked.

A plurality of elders eliminates the "over worked" problem and men who don't depend on the church for a living pretty much eliminates the rest of the problems.

You seem to have a seriously skewed perception based on more than a few false assumptions.

First, Paul was only a tent maker in order to infiltrate the context he was in without being accused of manipulating them for their money. He later apologized for not teaching them better about giving AND receiving. Paul was only a tent maker for a brief season. He later states that someone called of God who serves at the altar, should take their provision from the altar. Unfortunately, I have also found that "tent makers" are often times way too distracted by their tent making to be fully committed to the work of being an under-shepherd of the Lord Jesus, and therefore they are inadequate at tending the flock of God.

Secondly, a plurality of elders is a good thing unless there aren't enough good men to place in the role of elders, as is often the case with a new church plant. A plurality of elders, if they are poisonous, can also be cause for much dissent within a church body, especially if those elders are not in agreement concerning the vision and direction of the church. I have personally witnessed a "gang" of elders destroy the ministry of an amazing and Godly lead pastor because they didn't agree with some of the new directions he wanted to take the church in, which was in fact taking them in the right direction. They were envious and self-seeking, which is the basis for confusion and every evil work.

Elders MUST be chosen carefully, and only after they have exhibited Godly wisdom and faithfulness over an extended period of time. They should not be chosen by the congregation at large, which leads to politicking within the church body. That is very dangerous ground which usually leads back to envy and self-seeking. Elders should be appointed by the lead pastor if he is the one who planted the church at its inception, or by agreement of the other elders if the church is more established.

Hello, its nice post concerning media print, we all be familiar with media is a great
source of data.

May God bless all men who seek to serve the Lord by pastoring a church. From looking at these statistics........what I see and have seen for over 10 years is that there are spiritual battles raging against ALL Christians.

Don't kid yourself. And as for the labor these men do for the Gospel.......most people have a hard time realizing the mental and spiritual strain. It's similar to a factory worker feeling like they are the only ones working.......when they see office workers, nurses, people who don't "lift" something or work with their backs.

I think the congregations most of the time don't pray for their pastor and his family. The congregations expect to be fed.......and by that I mean they want the pastor to not only set the table........but carry them to their chair.......place the fork in their mouths and help them chew!

Sadly, in America at least, many folks inside the church are as critical or moreso of their pastor than the unbelieving outside world! And more telling is that fact that the people are not supportive or caring towards the pastor and his family. Healthy churches in America are probably very few and far between. And pastors teaching the Word of God, no matter how equipped and trained......will almost assuredly face resentment, bitterness and criticism from the congregation at some point because of the fact above.........many churches are full of unbelievers!

People who truly worship Christ, loving like He loves us, how could they be mean and combative towards their pastor? We are all sinners saved by God's grace! Yet we are so quick to judge and even quicker to give an opinion. God gave us two ears.......we should listen and be slow to speak.......and encourage our pastors and love them, support them, support their families............we are the body of Christ.........Jesus told His disciples what the two greatest commandments were........Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body and spirit.............the 2nd one is like the first.........love thy neighbor as thy self.

Do we even get those two right?

I wish to thank all pastors for responding to the call God has placed on your lives. As a church elder in a body that is going through alot of change in the last few years, I can see how we have contributed to the pain we are causing our lead pastor. I do believe that the Lord is doing a new thing in our midst and those reluctant to follow are making their needs known loud and clear. The expectations of our pastor to be someone God did not create him to be are burdensome. May each of you find rest and peace in your heart and may God encourage you daily. Help your body to be the church and share the load. Blessing to you.

As a pastor, I can tell you that the stats are right on for most pastors that I associate with, and dare I say, including myself.

Those in denial will continually find ways to discount these results, but what they are really trying to discount is the pain that many pastors are going through.

As a PK, I knew exactly what I was getting into, and my family completely understands as well. In fact, I wouldn't enter the ministry without her consent.

But her consent came with a promise. My priorities have to be clear and the church is about fourth or fifth on the list. And once I reach the time of retirement, I am to serve not one day more! :-)

I will survive the pastorate, because first and foremost, Christ and I are in this together, and I have been called to do it. On my worst days, I blame God for putting me into this and on my best days I give Him the glory.

If I wanted to be comfortable, make a great wage, have a low stress job, I should've stayed in business. :-)

I think your post contains a few biblical misconceptions. First of all, if we are to be incarnate as pastors and be true under-shepherds of Jesus, we must be formed into His image. I don't see where Jesus put His Church 4th or 5th on His list of priorities. I do believe our relationship with the God should be first and our families should come second, but what else are you placing above your call as a pastor? Being a pastor is NOT a career or a vocation, it is a calling. After all, in Mark 10:28-30 Jesus Himself responded to Peter's remark:

Then Peter began to say unto him, "Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee." Jesus answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life."

Furthermore, I don't see anywhere in the Bible where someone who is called of God reaches a "time of retirement". You say that at that time you are "not to serve one day more". Oh really? Show me THAT in the Bible. I will serve God until the day He calls me home. THAT is my retirement plan!

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I don't see any statistics there from chruch Secretaries or administrative assistants who see how little the pastor and or associate pastor is actually in the office while claiming to be working 50/55 hrs a week, when they know for a fact that most of that time away from the office is spent on personal/family issues.

Most of a pastor's work doesn't take place in the office. It takes place in hospital rooms, libraries, meetings, prayer in solitude (few church offices qualify as quiet). What about the Saturdays they spend preparing sermons or going to other people's public events because it's "expected"? If you think a pastor's only working when he's behind a desk, you have a lot to learn about ministry.

I am a wife of a pastor and am saddened by your comment - my husband easily works 50 plus hours a week and as the other comment states - most of their work doesn't occur in an office. We sacrifice much of our family time for others and my a pastor shouldn't be "holed" up in an office - they need to be out ministering to people. Makes me sad to see what people believe.

Yes, you are correct in the fact that some pastors, like all people in other jobs, do not work very hard. I have been in every kind of church in various roles as youth minister, worship minister, and now church planter/senior pastor, and I can tell you that pastors that are truly called by God seriously put in the hours. Yes, we all know Reverend so-and-so that comes in at 11, goes home at 1, and takes a three -hour lunch. Granted. Those guys, however, don't last very long. The ones that work the long hours and fight the good fight are the ones that make a difference for the Kingdom. Sorry you haven't seen too many of them, because as a church planter, I'm surrounded by them.

A pastor who spends all of his time in the office is failing to be part of the community he is called to serve and evangelize. A true evangelist will be at Starbucks, the community center, the farmer's market, the homes of people, making contacts and building relationships with those who need to hear the gospel.

As a former pastor -- resigned just 2 months ago -- I cringe reading the statistics -- and agree with most comments here. The American Church is a sick organism, overlaid by the organization we have come to believe is "the church" -- and it is not. We are paying the price for substitution and for worshiping the idol of success.

I agree with your comment. I am a Youth Pastor's wife of 20 years. 5 months ago my husband was told to "asked to resign" with little knowledge of exactly what he did wrong. He has done no wrong- truly a godly man with more integrity and grace than anyone I know. This is the 3rd time in ministry this has happened. The condition of the local church is sickening. We have found that when head Pastors experience any success it goes to their head and any heart of Jesus is lost. They become untouchable and full of arrogance. My husband is "called" just as much as as other Pastor positions, but the lack of being teachable and pride is truly horrible. My recent prayer is "O God Purify the American church" and start with those who consider themselves evangelicals. It seems to be in the conservative churches who stand on the truth of Scripture that the inner workings of the church is just a business-Corporate America only with a religious title. When will those who are truly saved rise up and obey the scriptures on everything- especially handling one another with love, grace and accountability. The people of this world are calling out for hope- even in our small communities the souls of men/women are calling out for the church to be the TRUE church. Purify all of us Lord and as your Shepherds - both men and women and call us to rise above and restore the next generation for YOU.


My heart breaks for you. Have seen the same thing over and over again.

BUT - God's Word is true - All things do work together for good - for those who love God.
I left "The Abusive Religious System" through much pain, tears, and "Spiritual Abuse." :-(

The benefit - I found Jesus. And have come to the conclusion - The whole religious system is corrupt.

NOT the people - But the system they are in bondage to is corrupt. For 1700 hundred years...
With heirarchy and "Titles" NOT in the Bible.

Much agreement when you write...
"We have found that when head Pastors experience any success it goes to their head and any heart of Jesus is lost. They become untouchable and full of arrogance."

In my experience...
"Titles" become "Idols"
"Pastors" become "Masters"

I'm Blest - I've returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul... Jesus...

A pastor feeling that he is grossly underpaid is not necessarily the same thing as a pastor *being* grossly underpaid.

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