My random, sometimes insightful thoughts on life, God, family, and everything else

Another High Profile Pastoral Resignation…

Man, it’s been a tough 18 months for pastors! First, Mark Driscoll the founding and senior pastor of Mars Hill resigned over allegations of abusive leadership. Then just a few months ago Perry Noble, the founding and senior pastor of Newspring Church resigned because he was using alcohol to self-medicate. And, just this last Sunday, Pete Wilson, the founding and senior pastor of Crosspoint Church resigned because he is completely ‘burned out’. These men represented 3 churches that reached well over 100,000 people combined.

I don’t care what you think about these men, but let me tell you something, they all were used by God in ways most of us could never imagine. Are they, were they perfect, no…and that makes all of us! The role of a senior pastor is at times suffocating, overwhelming, emotionally draining, and makes you feel sub-human, because you cannot act like you really want to when someone attacks you or your family. Being a pastor’s wife or kids is often even more difficult because they rarely get to see the resolution of things, like the pastor does.

I’m well aware that all jobs have stresses that are unique, and I am in no way saying that pastor’s stand alone in having a job with pressure. But, there is something uniquely different when you are in full-time ministry. How do I know this, well during 20+ years of full-time ministry I’ve brought numerous people on staff  who were in the ‘secular’ workplace. Their struggles, their stories of how radically different, lonely, painful, and secluded they felt (which they had never experienced before) convinced me of this. You see for most church-going folks, church is a place of rest, refreshment, and friendship. For pastors, their families, and other in full-time ministry it’s anything but. Their feelings are rarely considered; their friendships hardly, if ever, are allowed to go beyond superficial; any conversation at any time can morph into yet another counseling session…even at the grocery store (it’s happened people, more than once actually!).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change what I’m doing or what God has allowed me to do for one minute! I LOVE being a pastor!!! But, it doesn’t mean that it comes easy, or without a very, very, high price. So, whatever church you call home, take time out this week and just send a thank you note to your pastors, AND their wives. Be a friend to your pastors, AND their wives. Treat them like normal human beings, because…newsflash…we are!

Check out this blog written by a fellow pastor Rob Shepherd: Another Pastor Bites The Dust

3 responses

  1. Dean & Sheilagh

    All too often we do not think about these things. I believe many church-goers think that their pastor has it all together and has some sort of over-reaching victory over temptation and defeat. We must remember that this is not true and a pastor needs more regular, daily prayer support. The enemy will always attack the leader in order to defeat his followers, i.e. shepherd/flock, husband & father/family, pastor/church, etc. If we don’t want our pastors to burn out, we, the church, need to be the ones to make sure they receive our encouragement, support, prayer, and friendship ( no pun intended) needed to keep them refreshed.

    September 15, 2016 at 2:53 pm

  2. Jim Hunnel

    Great blog post, Dave! I struggle however, with why these pastors felt the need to step down? Perhaps each has his own reasons, but after studying Romans, we see Paul (Ch.7) struggling with some sin. He even refers to himself as wretched, but yet he never stepped down from his ministry.Then he opens up Ch. 8 with “there is no condemnation to those who belong to Christ”. Could we have possibly learned more from these men had they not stepped down, and went public with their sins, since none of us are capable of fixing ourselves?

    October 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

    • Jim,
      I believe for each of them the issue was not if God forgave, but if they could 1. Find healing while leading (difficult) and 2. if they were still qualified according to God’s Word to be a pastor. The high calling of God comes with a high demand from God on the character of those that lead. Not that these men have to be perfect, but they are not to have glaring issues of sin that are not dealt with. Our most obvious leader that we point to is David, and we see his sin and the fact that he stayed the King during and after his failure. However, the kingship was an irrevocable position (although Saul his predecessor had the kingdom torn from his hands by God). Additionally, there have been some who have stayed in their position after major moral failures, and almost all of them ended up destroying the church they claimed to love.
      So, although we cannot know each of their minds, I can tell you that as a person in the same calling as they, these would be my thoughts on why they felt the need to step down, at least for a time.

      October 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

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