Mabey Memories

The desire of my heart is to become the person God dreams of and share those dreams with others; to unleash personal and corporate creativiy within the church, overflowing it with passion and freedom while searching for the face and character of God.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

For our friends who are Pastors and their wives.....

Death by Ministry

At our recent Reform & Resurge Conference in Seattle, Pastor Darrin Patrick from The Journey in Saint Louis spoke frankly of the burden that pastoral ministry is.

I have pushed myself to the edge and over the edge of burnout throughout my nearly ten years in vocational ministry. Subsequently, I have been doing a great deal of research that I am compiling in hopes of not only improving my own life but also the lives of the leaders at Mars Hill Church and the churches in our Acts 29 Network. As a leader I commonly set the pace of ministry for those under me, which can lead to wholesale burnout of others if I don’t learn this lesson and teach it to others. The following points that I pray are helpful are some brief thoughts from what God has been teaching me as of late. Lastly, the fact that at least twenty-two separate organizations exist in the U.S. solely to deal with pre- and post-pastoral burnout indicate that this is a widespread problem that has only been identified and researched since the 1950s.

Part 1 —

Some StatisticsThe following statistics were presented by Pastor Darrin Patrick from research he has gathered from such organizations as Barna and Focus on the Family.


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 pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry.

Part 2 —

Some SignsThe following are indicators that ministry leaders are heading toward burnout, if not already there. Sadly, we too often become so focused on our tasks and responsibilities that we fail to see these warning signs until it is too late.

Unusual mood swings that may include weeping without just cause, anger, or depression
Paranoia and suspicion
Weight change, including gain or loss
Moments of panic and feeling totally overwhelmed
Fantasizing about dying or running away to get away from the pressure
Fight-or-flight cycles where you rise up to intimidate and conquer others or run away from difficulties just to avoid them
Insomnia, including difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep, which can lead to a reliance on sleeping pills
Too frequent use of alcohol or tobacco
High blood pressure
Comforting yourself with unhealthy foods packed with fat, sugar, and simple carbohydrates
General irritability
Reckless driving
Change in sexual desire of either noticeable increase or decrease
Notable ongoing sexual temptation
Health-related issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, heart trouble, chronic sickness, and stomach problems including ulcers
A victim mentality that sees the world as against you and everyone as an enemy to varying degrees
Shopping sprees and unnecessary financial spending
Reliance on caffeine to self-medicate
Children, friends, and loved ones begin to feel like yet another burden

1 comment:

Vicki said...

We love you. I know the pain, I have seen it. I have felt it. I have cried for you. I am so happy to have someone validate you. God IS and ALWAYS will be there for you. Thank you for serving us. Vicki


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