16 Sep

The statistical data concerning pastors is not very encouraging.  One authority says that up to 40 percent of clergy will not even last five years in their field of ministry. Up to eighty percent will no longer be doing vocational ministry after ten years.  Nobody knows for sure how credible these statistics are, but they do represent the fact that there are struggles for those who are in ministry.  Many statistics show that 60-80% of those who enter the ministry will no longer be laboring in the ministry 10 years later. Whether these statistics are right or not, it is clear that there are struggles with persevering in the ministry.

One of those struggles is conflict. Conflict is a regular visitor to the church body.  Oftentimes, clergy are called to mediate but more often than not, they are actually the target.  It will often be found out that many congregations have members who are rude, arrogant, and petty.  The saddest part is that most of those the ones who display these traits are believers. Even sadder is when the clergy if often the main source of the conflict because of mistakes in administration or lapses in judgment.

To survive conflict, a pastor must learn to not shoulder every single conflict that comes his way.  Rather, they must learn to release it and continue on with their calling.  A pastor must have a tender heart and a think skin simultaneously.  Without fear, the word of God must be taught regardless of who may choose to take offense.

Discouragement can also be an issue. In fact, it can be a real enemy. It can drain all the joy out of ministry. Many times, a Pastor will work hard for years following his calling and then see very little fruit. Yet, their instruction from God is to continue to labor. People under their watchcare may continue to disappoint. It may be thought that progress had been made only to find out that the opposite is true.  He can soon doubt his own calling and definitely question his effectiveness.

To combat this, a Pastor should look for those little moment sof grace that are often sent our way. They are often missed. But it cannot be forgotten that the work being done is spiritual and should not be measured by the world’s standard.

The number one reason that many Pastors give as to why they leave their vocation is burnout.  It is a calling of long hours, late night phone calls, unending concern, no long weekends, and few vacations. It can be both spiritually and emotionally exhausting.

A Pastor must take a weekly day off. He must be diligent about doing this and cherish the time.  He should understand that he cannot possibly be at every event and tend to every single situation. He is not all knowing and cannot be all present and should not act like this is the case. Family vacations are a must.  Regular private prayer retreats are a great idea. In addition, they should look for colleagues in ministry with whom they can relax.

The Pastors office can be a lonely place. Everyone thinks they know the Pastor but yet they really do not. A pastor can often forget that there are times he needs ministry as well.

A Pastor should allow his congregation the blessing of ministering to them. He should not be scared to ask for the help, love, friendship, and support of his congregation.  Yes, it is essential that it happen. Ultimately he should trust his spouse and allow her full access to his feelings.

Finally, there is moral failure which is unfortunate. Lying and adultery tend to be at the top of this list. There can be nothing more traumatic for the local church as it has the potential of damaging a plethora of lives.

A Pastor must not forget that he is not just working for the Kingdom but living for it as well. He must have an active prayer life and be diligent in his sermon preparation. He must allow others to hold him accountable.

To persevere in the ministry is a constant challenge and it should be so.  In many ways, this is a blessing. However, knowing these challenges are going to come is half the battle.  When a Pastor overcomes these obstacles, he shows his congregation another example of how to “stand in the gap”. This is an incredible blessing for the church.


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