Pastors. I know you’re out there. You’re hurting. I wrote a whole chapter on statistics of how pastors are in pain and need help. You can probably read it for free at Amazon at my book site at Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Fallen World.
- 80% of pastors and 84% of their spouses are discouraged and are dealing with depression
- More than 40% of pastors and 47% of their spouses report they are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules and unrealistic expectations
- 77% said they felt they did not have a good marriage
- 71% stated they were burned out and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis
- 30% said they had either been in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishoner
- That’s not to mention the statistic that 60-80% of pastors are engaged in online pornography at some point
Where are you, pastor?
I’m a fallen pastor. Three years after a fall. I get emails, two or three a week from men who have fallen or are about to fall. Men who know they are weak or who recognize they have passed the point of no return. Where are you?
Let’s deal with some realities.
First, pastoring is not an easy task. Yes, God has called you to it. It is a gritty, difficult job. People call you all times of the day to minister to them. Some of you have been seminary trained. You have been theologically trained. But when you hit the real world, you realize you are in a place where you are not practically trained.
You give, give and give to people. You do funerals, marriages, preach three or four times a week, counsel, visit, mediate deacons meetings, sit in committee meetings, listen to praises and complaints. The Barna Group tells us that a pastor is expected to juggle 16 major tasks at once. That does not include his own family.
It is hard work. You are projected upon a pedestal. You are the head of the church. You are the man on the billboard, the man in charge of the ship, the director of all operations. And at times it is overwhelming. It’s hard, isn’t it? Some days, it’s just hard to put your church face on and go to church on Sunday and act nice, isn’t it?
Some pastors will disagree. They will say that everything is fine where they are. They love what they do. It’s a wonderful blast of Christianity. But I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to those of you who understand what I’m getting at.
You who understand me. You who have found yourselves in the midst of confusion and programs, losing intimacy with your wife, not having close friends, having conflict within your church, not having anyone to talk to, going home frustrated each week. Having church members complain more than they compliment. I understand. That is the way it is with many pastors across the country.
So where are you, pastor?
There are several steps before you reach the cliff. I don’t want you to get there.
First, you find yourself putting your energy into programs. Into ministry. There’s nothing wrong with ministry. But when you sacrifice ministry for pursuing Christ, there’s a problem. When we seek to fill pews instead of pursing the heart of Christ, we have a problem.
Secondly, when we find ourselves estranged from our spouses. When we come home complaining to our spouses about the church and they don’t listen, we have a problem. When our spouse isn’t plugged into our ministry, there is a very serious problem. If your spouse isn’t your best friend in the entire world, you need to stop everything you are doing and take a hiatus from everything. Seriously. Because you’re about to have serious problems.
Because if that is happening, there is a great chance you are involved in online pornography or lust of some sort. Get help. XXXchurch.com has some great help for you that is anonymous. Don’t let it get out of hand.
Of all of the men I have counseled, lust is a serious problem. Know why? It’s not because you’re filthy. It’s because the ministry demands so much of you. Because people come at you wanting so much day after day. And at the end of the day, you ask, “What about me?” And that selfish side of you begins to ask, “Yeah, what about me?” And you mind begins to wander. Don’t let it. Get help. Get support.
Find friends, mentors, fellow pastors.
Finally, what do you do when you’ve crossed the line?
Email me. I’m here. Nothing you have done can possibly shock me. I’ve heard it all. I will promise to listen to you. I will call you and talk to you. If I can’t help you, I will find someone who can.
Listen, I committed adultery, my wife and I divorced and I married another woman. I now run a ministry to help fallen pastors. I am here to help fallen pastors, their wives, the women they left, the churches that are hurt, and anyone else left in the wake. I hurt for all of them. That is the brand God has left on my heart. So be it.
Ray Carroll is the author of “Fallen Pastor: Finding Restoration in a Broken World,” which answers many of the questions I get asked on a weekly basis.
If you are a fallen pastor who needs to talk or you are someone who has been affected by a fallen pastor and would like to contact me privately, please click here. You are the main reason this ministry exists. I’m here to help you.
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