Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hope for hurting pastors

I enjoyed an evening out last night with Tracy and two of our elders and their wives. We attended the PastorCare banquet in Grand Rapids. A ministry devoted to restoring wounded pastors and their families, PastorCare is meeting a significant need. Consider these statistics that were shared with us last night:
  • 70% of pastors do not have someone they consider a closer friend.
  • 50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job.
  • 45% of pastors say that they've experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from their ministry.
  • The clergy has the second highest divorce rate among all professions.
According to the Ministering to Ministers Foundation:
  • Over 1600 pastors in the United States are forced out of their positions each month.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 pastors experience a forced termination at least once in their ministry.
  • Only 54% of pastors go back into full-time church related positions.
I thank God for John Smith, the Executive Director of Pastorcare.

After leaving our church in Indiana, I experienced some extremely difficult emotions. We poured our life into the church for a decade, and it just wasn't easy to say goodbye. We knew God was calling us to South Lansing - that was clear. But that didn't make the grieving any easier. The feeling that I was leaving home, family, and the church I loved overwhelmed me. People I loved didn't know how to talk with me about our leaving, so much was left unsaid. Friendships were strained; my best friend and I didn't even say "goodbye." My approach: suck it up and deal with it. Nevertheless, on the advice of a fellow pastor, I called John and sat down with him. He was able to help me deal with my emotions and keep from growing bitter or angry.

I am a healthier preacher today because of John Smith and PastorCare.

October is "Clergy Appreciation Month." Make sure you drop your preacher a card and tell him how much his work means to you. And, if you're so inclined, consider making a donation to PastorCare in their honor.

No comments: