“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Monday, July 20, 2009

Why do Small-Church Pastors Quit?

As a note before I post this I want to answer a few questions:

1. No, I am not considering quitting.

2. No, I do not have any particular person or incident in my mind -- I just have recently heard some comments that stuck in my craw and I wanted to get my thoughts out...

With the above comments firmly in mind let us now go on to our post:

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I hear a lot of people talking about pastors who quit the ministry. Some say that they burn-out because of an unbiblical method of church planting; if one was 'truly' trusting the Lord, then the strength of the Lord would carry them through.

While this comment can be true, all too often it comes from a layperson or someone with a nice staff and an assistant, who have no idea how mind-numbing and physically draining small-church ministry can be. These folks seem to insinuate that those who face bone-weary burn-out are somehow trying to do things 'their way'.

A small confession here -- I used to buy that; but then I planted a church...

Here are some of the questions that are not well-understood by those outside of small-church ministry.

* How many friends do you have to lose while attempting to do the right thing?

* How many key persons leave to attend a church that has more 'functions' for their family.

* How does one build a church when resources leave for already established places?

* How does one support their family on a pittance of what everyone else in the church (usually those telling you to 'have faith', or 'trust in the lord') make in their vocation?

* How does one cover all the needs in the church when there is no full-time staff, only a volunteer staff, that is usually at their breaking point as well?

* How do you stay true to Biblical truths when the church down the street grew from 5 - 5000 in the same timeframe by giving away a car and flat-screen TVs?

* Also, if you are non-denominational, who supports you? There is no denominational support group built in.


These are but a few thoughts -- but I want to ponder them and in my next post put down some ways that we have managed, within our small church, to combat the above contributors to 'burn-out.

We certainly do not have all, or even most, of the answers. But, I would hope that this post and the next one might encourage someone who needs it.

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