Saturday, June 16, 2007

The following is extremely disturbing
(HT emergesque, from Darrin Patrick (via Mark Driscoll):


Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.

Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.

Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.

Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.

Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.

Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.

Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.

Pastors' Wives
Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.

Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.

The majority of pastors’ wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

My commentary:
These numbers are shocking to the point of appearing inflated. Nonetheless, I believe they tell a story, a true story about the church.

It might be easy to say that Satan attacks ministers and pastors more than other people. It might also say that we have made it easy for Satan to make such assaults. Churches may be doing the work of Satan. We have constructed a religious system that makes it next to impossible for ministers to be spiritual.

Pastor burnout is in large measure a church structure problem. Outsourcing spiritual development to pastors like we do in churches these days is crazy.

Essentially we have placed a person in charge of creating spiritual community in an unspiritual and individualistic culture. When spiritual development and community do not happen, we find the pastor an easy scapegoat.

Church is broken and burned-out pastors are the measure of it.


Paul said...

I don't think your numbers are inflated at all. I spent 20 years in full time ministry and experience burnout and my marriage eneded in a divorce. Satan DOES attack. I have NO doubt about that.

Matt said...

[begin rant]

I'm all for the spiritual warfare perspective on things in the right situations, but (as you've recognized) I don't think its helpful here, because it makes lay members feel less responsible for their own behavior.

In many cases, ministers are underpaid and have way too many expectations placed on them. They are - frankly - abused in ways that the corporate world would itself find appaling.

As lay people, we need to understand that spiritual nurturing and support is a two way street with these guys. Sometimes, WE need to be the ones who are acting as THEIR pastors/supporters/mentors/encouragers.

[/end rant]