70% of pastors constantly fight depression and 50% of pastors feel so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living. Wait, this is huge. Let’s pause here for a moment. This means that half of the 1,700 or so pastors who leave the ministry each month have no other way of making a living. Their education and experience is wrapped up solely in the work of the ministry.
A few years after I had left the ministry, a co-worker came and asked if I wouldn’t mind talking and praying for her friend who was going through a challenging time. I wasn’t a pastor any longer – I was working in the IT department at a local medical clinic – and I was far from the pulpit and far from giving this lady the advice I thought she deserved. Or so I felt.
Prior to this, I was employed as an associate pastor for a number of years, working in churches throughout Oregon, Iowa, and California. Although there were many aspects of serving in full-time ministry that I loved, there were more things that happened along the way that made a negative impact on both myself and my family. It took many years of forgiving and getting plugged in to a healthy church before I really began to heal from the hurt.
As I talked and prayed with this lady, I couldn’t stop thinking about the whys behind leaving the ministry. The whys – not just for me but for the countless pastors who resign or are handed their pink slips – are quite shocking.
It’s true that some pastors fall into temptation and yet others simply feel it’s their time to call it quits. But often it goes much deeper than that. And the stats reveal much.
Bo Lane is founder of ExPastors. This article is from the ExPastors blog.