How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being

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How Pastors Die Trying

Our hurts are deep from our last mission and compiled over the years and have been in recovery ever since. We can certainly relate to all of these statistics. All of the relational characteristics are true; depressed and discouraged, lonely, unable to find an alternative. Now, add in another layer; guilt and anger, shame and disgrace, confusion and disillusionment, and you have a whole realm of people who not only lose their profession…they lose their faith, in God, His people, and themselves. Dante, I like your thoughts here.

Of those, I can only think of one who has returned, at least in part, to serving in ministry. Would you be willing to look up some information and send it my way? Blessings and thanks again for the comment. Hey Bo, Thanks for the response and the invitation. I can see that you value discourse greatly and I appreciate that. I will look into it with this caveat, understand that my current and personal pain and inflammation may not lead me to objectivity. Those who do make it back to ministry rarely return to levels of leadership they once held, and more rarely are restoration teams made up of restored people.

Something to think about…. BOTH are important factors in the discussion of restoring… anyone. Thanks for making me think and see. I am one of them. Makes me wonder if I even ever got saved. From the body of Christ, if I could speak for all Jesus followers. Can I just encourage you to keep moving! Keep moving!

Ask for prayer from a few saints you can trust. Be honest with them! Weep Cry Mourn Confess your unbelief before God! He is the God of restoration and it does get better! For me, I lost faith in myself more than anything! I felt like I was being washed away by the waves! Row against the waves…share with those saints that God has or will put in your life…make one step and one right decision at a time.

Fight bitterness…share those feelings. Our savior was a carpenter. One of the most amazing gospel-sharing friends I have is a waitress, one is a grocery clerk. Be obedient in the smallest of things. Prayers up for you brother. The resonates with me and the pain we felt. Oh it is worth the fight for JOY! That we may see ourselves as God sees us rather than buying into the lies of the world. When this is your life, you have to repent then for the bitterness you want to give in to and to repent for the mistakes and sinful role I played in the situation. I wish I would have reacted differently to attacks and ugliness, but I reacted in hurt rather than love.

After you are rejected and it happens over and over, you give in to it. I used to think I could handle anything, to dig in my heels and persevere, but the breath was knocked out of me and now I know that it is truly Christ that picks us up and gives us strength!! Thank you for letting me share! Again, as others are saying, be careful of painting others with too broad a brush. The church only paid one salary, and only for the hours the programs operated- 10 to 15 hrs a week at minimum wage. We worked full time jobs to pay our bills and worked 50 hours a week in the church preparing for and leading the multiple ministries under our care.

After we gave notice of our intent to leave, we hoped to transition to another church. I worked in retail for a bit, while searching for ministry jobs that paid real salaries. Here we are 15 years later…My hubby spent a decade as a depressed call center employee, and I went back to college to become a teacher. Thanks so much for your transparency and sharing a bit of your story.

Take heart — be of good cheer! Jesus has overcome!!! I lead a satellite home fellowship. Our small group watches LIVE services thru the internet from a church miles away. Our pastor is totally awesome. I really believe this pastor is the real deal. For 25 years he has been at this church. He has been thru hell and back and he still stands.

I left that city for work in another city. The wife and missed the anointing from that church. We checked out a few churches and even went to 1 for about a year. Then when we found out that our old church was starting a online fellowship we were the first to tune in. I find now in the modern church now pastors are afraid to speak the truth. If they do preach against sin the people rebel and stop supporting the pastor and starve him out.

We live in a sinful and perverse generation. A Laodicean spirit is in the church of today. Myself I am sick of the religion and dogma that spews from the so called bible colleges of today. I am not into any labels of a denomination If a man is called by God to serve as a pastor what a tragity it is to seen the fall of that pastor.. Now if it is because of sin or sexual misconduct and the man is broken and contrite heart I see no reason why that man should not be restored to his calling.

Now if it is because of a criminal act this is were it should be based on a case by case basis to see if he or she can be restored in ministry. In some cases being child sexual abuse I think it is prudent that that pastor not be reinstated. Now if the pastor quits because of unruly people in that church, because of a Jezebel spirit I say to that Pastor stay put. You wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in high places. Jezebel loves to go to church. Will it be easy no. I am blessed to be taught and mentored by a man that has seen so much come against him.

People have slandered him. Put him down.. But he still keeps standing. After a few years after a church split he had,people that did him wrong would come back and say forgive me.

He welcomed them back with open arms. Now financially has it been easy for him. He has had and keeps trusting God in his finances. Some how he has made it thru the dark times. It would have been easier for him to quit.

Pastor Well - EP 10 - JT English on Training and Equipping in the Local Church

But he did not. God seemed to always be there for him. During the darkest hours in the ministry would be the greatest times of anointing. One day at the keyboard during service he was having an all out heart attack. He shared with us he had to make a decision. Call an ambulance or precede. He got into worship music on that keyboard.. That preticular day the music was more anointed the more he sang the less the pressure on his chest. That message was the most exubrent message he preached at that time, Drs told him once God is going to take him. He shot right back at him saying Why would God fire me when there is too much to do here.

I now am in training with him in leadership. If it should happen that I become a pastor it is my hope I will be able to be the pastor he is. But I know the price he had to pay to be were he is. In this blog I want to say what an awesome pastor we have. We have 4 or 5 that come to our fellowship in our home. These people feel uncomfortable in big churches.

And 1 has been reject by some of the churches here. We rebroadcast the service on Paltalk. K Eygpt. Finnland etc. When a prayer request come in I text the prayer request and that person gets ministered to in there home. Some of these people are shut ins. My husband and I have not served in the pastorate yet , but we have served in the field of itinerant traveling from place to place ministry for going on 16 years.

I can personally affirm that full-time ministry, ordained ministry, or whatever you want to call it, is extremely difficult. For the first quarter of that time, we lived and traveled out of a Ford Escort — no, really, we did. Our little cruiser was packed with everything we owned.

For years we had no stable relationships, much less friendships. Mind you, this was before the social media boom of Twitter and Facebook.

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Outside of our own little two-person family, we had no stability at all. It goes on and on…. When did Jesus ever promise peace? It is only natural that ministry is going to be extremely demanding, taxing, unfair, depressing, and even frustrating, but ultimately, as Jesus and the disciples demonstrated, ministry is about self sacrifice for the sake of the call and the sake of The Kingdom.

I for one, have experienced pain, depression, hurt, loss, and all that goes with our Jeremiah and I call. Yet I know this is where I was created to live and serve. He is our only chance, the Rock in which we stand. Thanks for the comment, Karenda. I greatly appreciate the time you sent writing our your thoughts. We are all called, whether or not to full-time ministry, to preach the gospel to all people. I would say, though, that people handle things quite differently.

Trials and experiences range dramatically from person to person and each one has their own form of processing that takes place. For some, it might be significantly harder to process the hurt or abuse that took place during their time of ministry. Did God say it was going to be easy? Absolutely not. But I also firmly believe that He calls us, on occasion, to rest and to find our strength in Him. Again, thanks for your comment! My name is Jennifer and I am 57 years old.

I moved to Murray Kentucky 3 years ago. I was saved 6 years ago. I went to a church in Minneapolis for the 3 years before moving to Kentucky. I went to about 6 churches here in Murray before I found the one I have been going to for 2 years. My pastor is the most awesome pastor I have ever found. He is 65 years old. He was saved at the age of 8 but did not start serving the Lord until he was We have 3 members in our church. One 15 yr old girl, her mother and myself.

Brother Reed has been a pastor there for 28 years. He is a very educated man and was a professor at a college before he took a job at a carpet store. He has been at the carpet store for 25 yrs and is now making 8 dollars an hour. He was engaged once, but that relationship broke because she would not serve the Lord as he did…. He is a virgin and does not own a TV. He sold a portion of his families property and tithed 16, He gives 3 sermons a week and teaches the bible during his sermons which last 2 hours each. He lives over an hour from our church and has never missed a sermon in 28 years.

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He has a great sense of humor and is a wonderful teacher. He cares deeply of the members there has been more than 3 members years back he has been fired from schools and other jobs because of his beliefs. He would not work a beer tent at one and would not promote a play that had scantily clad girls in it on another. Long story short…. And sets an example closes to a servant of our Lord above another I have ever met. After 28 years, a 3 person church is not viable. Pastoring is ALL about people and people should want to be around your pastor.

People come cause people are seeking God. I find a lot of pastor who have large congregations and boost about it, only tell the people what they wanna hear. Like drinking alcohol is ok. Sure the bible has nothing against drinking alcohol, but it is doorway to drunkeness. How many people really drink cause they like the taste. Most people end up a bit drunk. Way to go pastor. Be the cool one and lead us to our spiral downfall. A arrogant with anger and pride B like Jesus. Hope this helps someone today.

I think Furino, you make a good point.

The dark side of sabbatical

As a pastor myself, I know in many cases the burden and stress in a lot of ways in self induced. I have def seen friends and colleagues being pushed to the point of breaking. That being said, as a bit of a confession, we ministers sometimes allow our burden for the ministry and people to become all consuming. If you are able to find a position that wishes to take care of you I would recommend a couple things. Most times our schedules get away from us and we work 70 hour weeks because we let it and in many cases we are not disciplines enough.

Even, having time limits on meetings. I know that sounds harsh, but in no other profession would they let the person needing the meeting dictate the time for this. Equip and empower the congregation to do ministry. Maybe you as a pastor are not that personality to do that, to lead in such a way as you have a shepherds heart.

That is all right. But find someone who is and has the no how and gained the right to lead and empower them to do so. And be willing to share the glory. What I have found over the years, most people are just waiting for an ask. Instead, find the passions and gifts of people and build ministries around them. Know when to kill a ministry or pass someone off.

And sometimes you need to get people ministering to one another. Find support outside the walls of your church. Look for other ministers to feed into you and also feed into. Support and prayer. As well, make time for yourself with God, with family and for yourself. Give yourself a break.

You know? We may plant and water. But God does the growing. And please hear me on this: Do not make that decision hastily. Get guidance, prayer and seek God, cause maybe the church needs you and you need to push through with some much needed changes in how you do it of course. We put much to much pressure on ourselves, and in a lot of ways that no one else is. Some church somewhere which wants to care and love their pastor is out their looking for you. Drake, somehow I missed this. Thanks for the time you took in writing this out.

Please contact me at bo at bolane dot org. YES to all of this. Thanks Drake. So thankful for that distinction. We feel a great responsibility to not only make some changes in how we serve and lead, but also to help others around us learn how to serve in a more healthy, well-balanced way so that long-term ministry can be sustainable… and hey, how about a bit more fun as well?! Appreciate you taking the time to write all of this out and I hope your message and others like it will spread far and wide. Cheers, Adriel. Adriel, I am glad to hear that this helped and that you guys have taken needed steps for yourselves and your future.

Always a blessing to be encouraged like that and thank you for the kind words. It may help to read the whole post that came out of this. It is flushed out a bit more. Excellent point. In my first pastorate, I stayed ten years and nearly burned myself totally out. My family was so distraught. But my mentality was, the church had a history of churning through pastors and I was going to stick it out, take the beating, and heal the congregation.

I had a savior complex, and many pastors do. Meanwhile, my pastor friend two doors down from me was at his church three years when a key leader led an uprising against his vision. I was appalled at first. But now I see the wisdom of his decision. I recently left my church after reaching the same point with them. The old me would have stayed and been a martyr. My experience told me otherwise. It was a great move for me, and one I wish I had made in the first pastorate.

Pastors have a martyr and savior mentality. Every person should have a set of transferable job skills and interests regardless of their ptimary career choice. I returned to a secular communications job after 6 years serving in a mega church ministry. After 14 years I chose to return to ministry when I felt called to a specific role in a medium sized church. Sometimes I have done more care and ministry in the secular workplace than I have been able to share in the church.

Often church folks want the staff to run programs, fire up everyone on Sunday and then stay out of the way. Retiring and self funding the next ministry God calls me to is a reality because I applied the gifts, talents and experiences I was blessed with to a variety of jobs that provided a stable income and home for my wife, six children and myself.

God can provide if we open our eyes to the possibilities. I agree Ken. After I left full time ministry I entered the sales force, but I was grateful for my theater arts training and experience that helped me to find professional work in that field. That was a long time ago and I still depend in those experiences God allowed me to have because I just started a new career as an audio book narrator. Just some thoughts from an ex — pastor. I resigned from the congregation as minister after 3. No one desire to follow Christ but to have church programs, and service.

Only three would show up for a Bible study or Sunday School. No support for evangelism but the congregation wanted growth but will not walk on faith with me. So I resign and now I minister whenever I meet people with needs. Granted, this might not be very realistic in practice there is always someone working more than others, just like in public service… , but these thoughts come from the son of a pastor of a very small church who had a regular secular job so everyone acknowledged that he could not do everything himself. Why are there whispers of failure and shame when leaving a church position?

Is this the pinnacle of all pinnacles? I have come to believe that ministering in the marketplace can be the best venue for truly interacting with people who need to know God. A person is not a failure for no longer drawing a paycheck from a church. Thanks for the comment. You may be right. Does it need to be fixed? Is that going to happen tomorrow? Probably not. I feel that your analysis is right about the church, but it is also right about the marketplace as well.

I was a hospital chaplain and I relocated a great distance for that job. The problems I ran into were two chaplain supervisors—they were lesbians. It is a lifestyle choice I do not agree with. When asked about my views I was honest about them. Not too long afterwards, I ran into problems.

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A minor complaint was made about me from another employee—I have no idea whom made it—and I was put on the fast track for disciplinary action. I was told if anything else came up, then I would be moved to further along the disciplinary process. No more complaints were made, but I was still moved further along. Essentially, I had to resign or I would eventually be fired—I chose resignation.

There were plenty of other things that happened though. I had to agree biblical views no longer holds value in a modern American society. Be careful of the message you preach or do not offend the TGLB. Very little support for Bible Study, Sunday School, evangelism and for the minister. Minister for three and half years with no pastor anniversary for the pastor not one thank you.

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Now I minister without the walls. After years of serving in small churches, attending and graduating from a number of university and seminary. I submitted s of resumes while working in the military, and civilian sector to find very little are seeking pastors outside of their association or group. Some are seeking ministers from out of states not from their local communities or 50 miles within their location.

In regards to Chaplain ministry no matter the credential earned its never enough. Either you have too much or not enough especially when it comes to be selected to serve as pastor. What is a minister to do when he 50 and owns a home? Is there still a need for men of my credentials with over 15 years of experience? Maybe I would say to seek God and find out from Him where you need to be, and to walk in in the Spirit. To many pastors that I have known, the knowledge is in the head and not in the heart, or it is a career and not a calling. I know the missionary field is in great need and that is where you see Jesus working maricles.

I would much rather be outside of the four walls of the church than inside. Thank you for sharing your frustration though. It is confirmation to me from what I felt God was telling me. You hit the nail on the head! Attendance fluctuating between 19 and ! I can tell you from experience that fullness of Holy Spirit is the key! I know my best is not enough. If not for Him I would have quit decades ago! Your comment about the Holy Spirit is right on. We as humans are dead to sin and being dead we are helpless to help ourselves or others. We can sew the seed of the word, but the Holy Spirit does the rest.

His words will not return to Him empty. They will accomplish His work. Quit blaming yourselves and drop to your knees and back to basics. His will is being done. Godspeed to you all. And political correctness do not necessarily represent God he is. God is your judgge. Not the two CO workers. Please God he will make your enemies be 3-ashamed.

Revelations Know your enemy. Anything that kills steals destroys comes from the enemy. God is the creator of life not death. Hurts injuries can grow to infection of not washed cleaned and disinfectant or ointment to stop the bacteria. You may have to repeat the process. Temporary usually. We are more powerful by agreement in prayer…. Revelation gifts Knowledge Wisdom. Discerning of Spirits. I cannot imagine a more difficult profession than that of a pastor. I recall many years ago, the group i was with at the time had a church that met in my house. I worked full time. Just about ten adults and the kids.

It was a beautiful time in my life. There is absolutely no comparison of the two in terms of stress, challenges of guilt, or relational conflict. Yes, there are always going to be challenges in life regardless of what you are doing and who you are interacting with. But the comparison of a small business owner to a pastor simply does not equal one for one.

Great personal insight, brother. Would like to hear more on that. Am currently serving on the board with our senior pastor, who also spent many years in the private industry. Other than going to a Maxwell course, or hiring guys who have management chops to complement their pastoral ones, it seems like we should do more to help pastors learn about running the business end of their churches.

There is a business end to the church Michael or else even the apostles of the golden age would have never gotten as far as they did. They listened to God and carried the heartbeat of the ark in the spirit, by doing all they could to uphold and spread the Gospel. Or maybe the problem is that the church needs to stop expecting the ministers to do everything and realize that all of us are called to serve in the body.

There are realistically a limited number of people who are going to have personalities that will make them both good pastors and good administrators. What we really need is a larger percentage of our church bodies to get involved and offer their skills and talents to the church to support our pastors, rather than always assuming that the pastor can do it all. I feel bad for whatever associate pastor you hire as the it is obvious he or she will get little support or encouragement from you.

Ministry is hard sometimes people forget your human too. You are the one they look to when things are bad but rarely remember any other time. My heart goes out to those in the trenches. Honordads, it is not even like comparing apples to oranges. Not even close to the same thing. I, too, feel sorry for whoever you hire if you think this is the same thing.

Ministry is much, much more challenging. I see no link between his observation of the educational observations he makes and the way he supports his pastor. I am glad that you took Jesus story to heart when he held interviews, read resumes and discounted people for their intelligence…. Your thoughts are more akin to those Temple Authorities that Jesus narrative rallied against that of a man in service to Christ….

Ministry is not about the minister, even though a minister needs to be ministered to, to keep up their strength, but those that are ministered to. But when I have witnessed ministry done right, both the minister and those that are ministered to, will be ministered to by God, that way the giving is a never ending circle of love. I also agree concerning the pinnacle.

Now when that leader or pastor chooses to uphold faith in God not matter how dastardly the consequences may seem, Then is when the true blessing comes. Complete faith in God no matter what you think it looks like to you and others. For example: If God is speaking to you as a leader or pastor to go a certain direction for the benefit of those that assemble together to worship God, then you should do it. God has His reasons for why He does what He does, and we need to just trust Him. I actually disagree here. Or to go on vacation more than once a decade.

When pastors sign up they believe they are following God and they are doing it by faith but what ends up happening often is the enter a relationship of abuse. Why do so many ministers get into politics? Not much difference in the eyes of churchianity today. There is a bold arrogance that the church structure of today is related to God or the bible… and it is really not.

The church buildings tower over our communities and lack humility, and as such, are not of Christ. Those who enter these buildings to speak or listen are also not of Christ. No clergy has ever really read the bible… but instead learned to read as others taught you… and thus never saw the truth of what it actually says….

Do not search the scriptures for the law for it will not be found in them — it is within your hearts and minds. When you know the law, all the stories take on a whole new meaning… a meaning that is true for all mankind. Great post PJS. The church could never afford it. Pastor J with all due respect, maybe you should be the one who revamps the whole science behind the church paying up! Just sayin! The church I attend holds each person responsible for their tithing.

This is my words, if someone is partaking of the Lords table and not bringing somethin to the table like the woman that came to wash Jesus feet brought something to the table in humility, then repent or get on down the road, maybe some church will take those who are beggars that refuse to take part of the responsibility of the table if the Lord. Well if they would give all they had in th first place, God will honor that. When I was homeless with no income, When ai got saved, I picked up what people dropped in the streets as my tithe.

And the lord honored it. As we all do our parts, and not keep back part like Annanias and Sphira did and it cost them their life, we will always have what we need, and best of all we will still have God. God bless you. I have seen and heard many of the things written in the article and the responses.

One thing I have noticed is that when pastors are let go or leave there denominations do little in the way of helping.

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Thanks for the great comment! While at the first church my dad pastored after going to bible school he experienced a lot of what is on this list, resulting in our family leaving the church. My dad then went to seminary to get a degree in counselling and through the support people and good friends and mentors that he had he decided that he would go back to pastoring and when he was done seminary got a job as pastor at a new church.

He was personally attacked by members of the church a few times, we even had to end a family vacation a few weeks early once to come back home and deal with an emergency in the church. However this church was also a great example of how loving your pastor and his family will do nothing but help the church as my family was very loved and supported by this church. I know that not all denominations have support systems like this in place and think that is a disservice to the people who are serving in their churches and not just the pastors. Thanks for the comment, Lisa. It seems that having a system in place for denominations to support pastors and churches in transition, that might be a good way to drop these stats.

I am 60 years old, and have been a pastor in three different congregations, one as an associate and two as a solo pastor. If I had any viable options, I would have left long ago. The pastoral ministry has negatively impacted my emotional and physical health. I feel beaten down and ready to implode. That being said, what Jesse has said is absolutely correct.

Ours is a large denomination, but with congregational polity. Our ex-bishop made it clear from the outset of his tenure that he did not intend to be a pastor to the pastors. I believe his successor is of the same mindset. The judicatory rarely seems to support the pastor in a conflict situation, as that would anger the congregation — and the benevolence the congregations send make their budgets and their salaries. They offer no emotional support either. Jesse is right. There is no help to be found there.

Right now we have an interim, but I worry about the guy who will be coming to fill the slot full time. All of this just makes me sadder. Thanks anyways. Good luck to the lot of ya who dare to try again. So true. I believe Pastors need to take ownership back of their own lives, and teach the congregation what a healthy balance for them is.

Lately I have been saying no to ministries that rely soley on me, and yes to ones where a church member is passionate and wants to lead it. I become their equipper eph 4 which I think is the Pastors true role anyway. Jennifer, thanks for the book recommendation. And thanks for joining the conversation! Surely these are folks who just up and decide to enter the ministry without any education.

Thanks for joining the conversation. Recognizing conflict and knowing how to deal with it is an education thing. With all due respect, Jeff, it seems you are assuming that the only conflict pastors experience with parishoners involves biblical or doctrinal issues. But I think that the majority of pastors who speak of experiencing conflict with parishoners are talking about some form of conflict other than doctrinal issues.

I know that was the case in my past experience and one of those situations was a major catalyst in driving me out of the ministry for good 12 years ago. Being prepared for doctrinal conflict in the process of pastoral education in no way prepares you for the psychology of dealing with obstinate humans — who very well may doctrinally with you on everything. As ridiculous as they may sound, are very real conflicts that pastors deal with.

I can see how my first paragraph might lead one to believe I was talking about only one domain of conflict. I meant all kinds. Whether they be a brother in sin, a family leaving the assembly, a marriage in turmoil the pastor has to deal somehow with them all. If a pastor forgets that, then he ought to reread Acts 20 and 2 Tim 4.

That goes for pastors discipling elders and so forth. Bo, thank you for a clarion-call reminder to the realities of daily life for the pastor, spouse, and children. As an Associate at a church in the Northeast, I have seen the carnage of ministry in churches and para-church ministries of all shapes, sizes and denominations. May we all be reminded, as we seek to serve God in our appointed calling, that our value is not in what we produce, or accomplish, or achieve in His Name but in the fact that we are His.

Joshua, thanks for the encouragement and for the comment. Again, thanks for your input! Nearly all of your observations are spot on. The biggest fear that I face is that there will not be any more opportunities to pastor again but I am willing to risk it all because ministry became too painful and lonely.

As far as supporting my family outside of ministry, I started a business and have become quite successful, so I still see the provision of God outside of ministry. And I really appreciate your angle on it. It was very challenging for myself, as well, when I decided to call it quits. Surround yourself with pastors and friends who can understand your situation and can come alongside you and help you restore.

Blessings to you, brother. Thanks Bo. I have connected with a good church and am ministering from the sidelines. It works for now. Also, I have found new avenues of ministry.

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I know, for me personally, it took a few years getting plugged in to a healthy church were I could sit somewhat on the sidelines and work through my hurt. Please feel free to connect with me. Many realized that what they were preaching was fiction, but then also became fearful that they had no other skill set so decide to stick it out, only to become depressed, lonely, underprepared to cope and ultimately quit.

There is an anonymous group to help people of cloth to resign. The clergy project. Many folks have left because they no longer believe in the church or in God. I actually recently spoke to a minister that left the ministry for a completely different reason. But I can totally relate. The time has come where people are seeking God and reading the Bible themselves. He has left the ministry feeling like a failure. It took him a very long time to recover emotionally and financially. I am looking to quit being a pastor for pretty much all of the reasons listed above. I am also leaving for ongoing conflicts between the senior pastor and myself.

The senior pastor is cutting one program after the other and at this point we have no outreach at all and no programs to offer people when they come through our doors. If I wasnt the pastor, I wouldnt come to our church either. Keep in mind — For MANY Pastors they are not only spiritual leaders in the church, but also, plumbers, janitors, carpenters, electricians, snow removal, landscapers, a secretary, counselors, dads, grampas, husbands, musicians… the list goes on.

They should teach those skills for pastors in college because they will need them. I want to go on serving God, but just not as a pastor anymore. Secret Pastor: If you just want to talk, feel free to give me a call. I serve as the Pastor to Young Adults at a church in Texas.

Jeff, thanks for stepping up and offering your number and encouragement to this pastor. Such a Jesus move, bro. Thank you. I can give you my phone and you can call me. I planted our church here in CA 6 years ago. Satan has you and the senior pastor fighting each other, so you not a united front fighting him. Trying to minister under your own power is futile. I see some pastors going into the ministry as a profession or career. My pastor prays with purpose about every move he makes, so that he will always be doing the will of God.

I pray for he and his family constantly. Honey, I have been there more than once. People will say all kinds of stupid, judgmental, holier-than-thou things to you about leaving the ministry. There is a fellowship of people who have actually been through the ministry meat grinder who really understand how awful it can be. It is unlike any other kind of awful there is. Church people can be great, and they can be absolutely despicable.

There is life after ministry. Like, for instance, the Samaritans. Seek them out. I wish you well on your journey. Saw this link from a fb friend. I think this discussion should prompt a wider discussion regarding the structure of church which foments this epidemic condition. Maybe the organized church is too stuck and committed to its structure, but there are movements underway which are designed to involve more people with their gifts and treat leaders as people, as equals. If there is going to be a renaissance in the church, it will have to deal with these relational malfunctions.

Who in their right spiritual mind could read the new testament and conclude that the gift of pastor or teacher would require a man and his family to live that way? Bo, thanks for drawing attention to this sad reality! I will follow your blog!! Check out mine, and use if helpful. Keep up your ministry and message! Bo, how long do you have? Do you have an e-mail address to so we can talk more? Great staff, history, and potential. Then senior pastor retires, church rushes process and calls in a young pastor who immediately started working behind the scenes to get rid of me.

After a year of working a secular job, another church called me as associate pastor. Served there for two years until they just could no longer financially support two fulltime staff positions. God then led us to another church in area where we already lived. It was less pay, but it was fulltime ministry. Good church.

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  • To help supplement, I worked part-time as sports official. After 5 good years there, same story…. Church was declining and financially could no longer support two fulltime staff. I took a large pay-cut in my 5th year there just to try to stay the course. So I received another pink-slip. I fell back on sports officiating more because I was already established and growing in doing this. Nice church….. I have considered career moves but nothing is working out. And I keep coming back that I believe this is what God intended for me to do….. I do have a bachelors degree. But still cannot find work in this economy.

    And the untold story of how this has affected my family? I feel like a failure as a husband, a father, a provider. Strain is almost unbearable on our marriage. I worry about having enough at the end of the month to pay bills. There is no one around for ex-pastors to talk to and share. Please email me at bo at bolane dot org. My heart breaks for your situation, bro. I am indeed praying for you and your family. We have set up ExPastors as a way to try and combat this issue.

    As we grow, and I encourage you to read through the site and hear stories of other people who have gone through similar situations, we hope to provide solutions for these problems. I look forward to connecting with you. The church came before our family did, no matter what. As an adult, after a long spiritual journey I have decided that organized religion is not for me. This is my journey alone, and it was done with great pain and searching, but my experience with religion was not one of joy and comfort.

    It was mainly judgment and living in a fishbowl AKA parsonage. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published March 17th by Zondervan first published March 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 2. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.

    Sort order. Mar 01, Tyler rated it liked it Shelves: nonfiction , , seminary. There were parts of this book that I found quite helpful. However, the overall negativity of the author grated on me after a while. He seems not to have worked through some of his own ideas about the inferiority of small churches.

    He spends a lot of time spinning how positive things are in small churches, but in the end I just didn't think he bought his own spin. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Steve R. Books by Steve R. Trivia About How to Thrive as No trivia or quizzes yet. Welcome back.

    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being
    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being
    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being
    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being
    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being
    How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being How to Thrive as a Small-Church Pastor: A Guide to Spiritual and Emotional Well-Being

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